A Widespread and Growing Problem: Americans at Risk of Personal Financial Crisis

Though financial insecurity may plague a majority of the population, financial crises are a harsher reality for low-and-moderate income Americans: a recent survey found that 62% of surveyed households had experienced at least one financial crisis in the last year — and 51% lacked any emergency savings to help them cope.  The majority of the American population does not have enough savings to survive at even the poverty level for two months if faced with a financial crisis such as loss of income or unexpected medical bills.

Now there’s an innovative, prize-based and proven campaign that can help solve this challenge: SaveYourRefund. SaveYourRefund is an incentive-based promotion that encourages tax filers to save a portion of their refund and potentially win cash prizes.

A Simple, Innovative Solution: SaveYourRefund

Commonwealth (formerly D2D Fund) and America Saves are offering SaveYourRefund as a simple, innovative, and fun program focused on a crucial and universal but often stressful moment in people’s lives — filing taxes.

  • Tax Refunds Present the Best and often Only Opportunity for Consumers to Save

The annual federal tax refund is the largest sum of cash many American households receive all year, often amounting up to 20% of annual household income. More than 113 million tax filers received an average refund of $2,867 per filer in 2011, with over $324 billion total refunded.

Each tax filer has a unique opportunity to set aside savings with an influx of cash at tax time. Tax time is also a moment when filers are primed to be thinking about their financial decisions.

  • Standard IRS Form 8888 Enables Filers to Designate Savings

Many Americans do not realize that the IRS has created a specific form built right into the tax filing process that enables all American tax filers to automatically save a portion of their tax refund with one simple step. Form 8888 enables this seamless and near universal opportunity to save.

  • Prizing those Who Save — A $35,000 Incentive

SaveYourRefund capitalizes on this tax-time moment and this easy method of saving and adds an incentive to nudge filers into opting in to saving for their futures. SaveYourRefund offers frequent chances to win and significant prize money to motivate eligible Americans to save a portion of their tax refund.

Through SaveYourRefund, all tax filers 18 and older who use Form 8888 to save a portion of their tax refund can enter a promotion for a chance to win one of 100 prizes of $100. They can also enter the photo contest for a chance to win the grand prize of $25,000. The combined financial incentive, “game-like” feel and low barrier to entry create the best mix to incentivize savings.

To learn more, check out this MSNBC interview with Commonwealth (formerly Doorways to Dreams Fund) Executive Director Tim Flacke.