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© 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 1
Promise & Potential of
U.S. Savings Bonds
Peter Tufano, Harvard Business School & D2D Fund
Timoth...
© 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 2
Agenda
Introductions
LMI saving, tax time & the bucket problem
Reinventing U.S. Savings Bonds
Som...
© 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 3
Why Are We here?
Care about saving, especially for Low to
Moderate Income (“LMI”)
Why save?
Shock...
© 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 4
How Can We Help Families Save?
Force them to save
Make it hard not to save
Make it easy to save
B...
© 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 5
LMI Saving? Go Where the $$$ Are
Tax Time combines:
Savable funds (tax refunds)
Topical tie in (f...
© 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 6
Tax Time: How Much Money?
$220 billion (2003) in total refunds
$103 billion for AGI < $40k
$82 bi...
© 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 7
How to Capture Refunds as Savings?
Refund Splitting
direct portion of refund directly to savings
...
© 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 8
But Saving Requires a “Bucket”
Sizeable segment can’t get saving product:
Mainstream institutions...
© 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 9
Where Can We Find a Bucket?
Imagine a universal
savings vehicle
Characteristics of this
vehicle?
...
© 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 10
How Did We Get Here?
2005: Reinventing Savings Bonds
Thought piece: how to reinvent bonds to
ser...
© 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 11
Laying the Groundwork
2006: Just Keep my Money
Report on “pre-experiment” test of refund-
driven...
© 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 12
This Year’s Agenda
Ran experiment to answer:
Will consumers buy bonds at tax time?
Preview: YES!...
© 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 13
Context: An American Saving Crisis
© 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 14
Beyond the Headlines
In 2004, bottom 25% of U.S. households
by net worth had:
mean net worth of ...
© 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 15
Estimates of U.S. Asset Poverty by
Group
Blacks / Hispanics 62 percent
Head aged less than 25 ye...
© 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 16
Why Target LMI Savings?
Need (as above)
Impact
Same $$$ / higher marginal impact on LMI families...
© 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 17
Efforts & Barriers to Boost LMI Saving
“Asset Building” field has emerged
champion of LMI saving...
© 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 18
Saving Challenges for LMI
Uneasy
About
Saving
Not
Allowed
to Save
Not
Thinking
About
Saving
Comp...
© 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 19
Product Challenges Especially Tough
Barrier
Small balances
Checkered (credit) past
Risk averse
M...
© 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 20
Other Key Bond Features
Gift-able
can be purchased for self or with co-owner
Inflation indexed
S...
© 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 21
How Savings Bonds Compare
YesNoNoMay Buy as a Gift
NoYesYesChexSystems Review
3 months interest
...
© 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 22
Savings Bond History
Today’s savings bonds trace roots to 1935
for small saver especially
“appea...
© 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 23
Savings Bond Marketing
© 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 24
Fundamental Questions:
Demand? New Savings?
Do LMI individuals want savings bonds?
If so, who, w...
© 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 25
TS 06: Pre-experiment
2006 pre-experiment
location - 1 HRB district, 14 offices (Schaumberg, IL)...
© 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 26
TS 2007 Savings Bond Experiment
Product: Series I bonds
fixed rate (premium above inflation) + i...
© 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 27
Pilot Details: Marketing & Sales Training
H&R Block
Relied on tax
preparers (“pros”) to
offer bo...
© 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 28
Marketing Examples
VITA H&R Block
© 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 29
Research Tools
H&R Block
Tax data
Survey data
buyers
non-buyers
control
Transaction data
savings...
© 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 30
Research Details
Consents from all parties
All personal identifiers stripped from tax
data
Form ...
© 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 31
Bond Eligibility - Requirements to Buy
H&R Block
Refund >$500
Willing to open Easy
Savings accou...
© 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 32
Bond Purchase Processing
H&R Block
Individual “conduits”
(Easy Savings Acct)
HRB splitting
(inte...
© 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 33
What Did We Find?
Context
roughly 10,000 study participants
Block: 3,729 Treatment / 1,485 Contr...
© 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 34
Measuring Take Up
Take up = purchase / offer
Nuances in determining eligible offers
Block
defini...
© 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 35
Conditional on receiving an offer to buy bonds:
Does Anyone Want Bonds?
Block
5.9% bought (defin...
© 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 36
Compared to What?
For H&R Block offices:
IRA
Openings & Re-
contributions
Savings Account
Openin...
© 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 37
Compared to What? (Other Samples)
Opened IRAs (w/out incentive) at tax time
H&R Block experiment...
© 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 38
Explaining Demand
Bonds are familiar to buyers
Awareness: 85-88% (Block), 73-75% (VITA)
Prior pu...
© 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 39
Take-up in Context
Long-term product
Bonds connote long-term saving
Requirement for 1 year holdi...
© 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 40
What if We Offer an Incentive?
20% discount on bond purchase
for 1 week (1/29 - 2/3) in Tulsa VI...
© 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 41
Incentive Findings
Take-up: rate nearly doubled or more
15.2% of those offered & eligible
18.1% ...
© 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 42
Block VITA
(averages)
Buyers Non-Buyers Buyers Non-Buyers
n 220 3,509 231 4,179
AGI $ 36,828 $ 4...
© 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 43
Gifting: Co-ownership
Bonds may be purchased with:
beneficiaries (contingent on owner’s death)
c...
© 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 44
Gifting Details
Among VITA bond buyers:
59% bought one or more bonds for child
9% bought one or ...
© 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 45
Gifting: What’s Going on?
D2D consumer research suggests children
are a powerful force in LMI fi...
© 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 46
More on Gifting - Gender Differences
© 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 47
New Savings?
For bond buyers:
54% (VITA) / 40% (Block)
reported no prior savings
Of remainder, 4...
© 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 48
Why Did This Work? The Good News
Strong foundation
very high awareness, experience w/ bonds
soli...
© 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 49
Bank
#1
Bank
#2
Tax
Filer
Bank #3
-- Bank
Midwest
IRS
Bureau
of
Public
Debt
Tax Pro
enters
coupo...
© 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 50
Aren’t All Essential Ingredients
Available?
© 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 51
Why Not Enough?
Someone has to ask
what would take up look like if no one asked
solution: make i...
© 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 52
Not a New Idea: Bonds on Tax Forms
1962 IRS
Form
1040A
© 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 53
What Can We Do?
Continue to facilitate gifting
any changes must allow (promote?) gifting
Ensure ...
© 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 54
Policy Agenda Framework: 3 Pillars
Increase & facilitate access, appeal
offer in tax filing proc...
© 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 55
Contact
Prof. Peter Tufano
Harvard Business School / D2D Fund, Inc.
ptufano@hbs.edu
617.495.6855...
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Promise & Potential of U.S. Savings Bonds

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http://bondsmakeiteasy.org This presentation in 2007 by Harvard Business School Professor Peter Tufano and Doorways to Dreams (D2D) Fund Executive Director Timothy Flacke provides information on the promise and potential of U.S. Savings Bonds.

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Promise & Potential of U.S. Savings Bonds

  1. 1. © 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 1 Promise & Potential of U.S. Savings Bonds Peter Tufano, Harvard Business School & D2D Fund Timothy Flacke, D2D Fund June 20, 2007
  2. 2. © 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 2 Agenda Introductions LMI saving, tax time & the bucket problem Reinventing U.S. Savings Bonds Some context An experiment Findings Good news / bad news Suggestions
  3. 3. © 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 3 Why Are We here? Care about saving, especially for Low to Moderate Income (“LMI”) Why save? Shocks (emergencies) Strategic investments (e.g., home, education) Deferred consumption (e.g., retirement) How do we help low-income households to save?
  4. 4. © 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 4 How Can We Help Families Save? Force them to save Make it hard not to save Make it easy to save Bribe them to save Social support for savings Make them excited to save Social Security; UK Child Trust Program Defaults and opt outs; bundling SMaRT plan, Split Refunds and Savings Tax advantages, matching funds AmericaSaves “Prize-linked” savings
  5. 5. © 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 5 LMI Saving? Go Where the $$$ Are Tax Time combines: Savable funds (tax refunds) Topical tie in (finances top of mind) Intermediation (tax preparer typically involved, possible advisor or salesperson)
  6. 6. © 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 6 Tax Time: How Much Money? $220 billion (2003) in total refunds $103 billion for AGI < $40k $82 billion for AGI < $30k Average refund $1,482 (AGI < 30k) 5% of annual income in single shot Median net financial assets only $2,000 (for bottom quintile by income)* Meaningful saving opportunity, especially relative to current savings * Source: Aizcorbe, Kennickell, and Moore (2003).
  7. 7. © 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 7 How to Capture Refunds as Savings? Refund Splitting direct portion of refund directly to savings where possible, offer new accounts during tax prep process Pilot tests TS 2004 - 2006 Demand as high as 13% Ultimate outcome: Form 8888
  8. 8. © 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 8 But Saving Requires a “Bucket” Sizeable segment can’t get saving product: Mainstream institutions disinterested or fearful (ChexSystems review) products aren’t inviting (min. balances, fees) often little physical presence in LMI communities Others (check cashers, payday lenders) aren’t depositories / don’t offer saving Result: a pipe from savable refunds to... nowhere
  9. 9. © 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 9 Where Can We Find a Bucket? Imagine a universal savings vehicle Characteristics of this vehicle? small denomination portable competitive return no principal risk good liquidity... Product already exists: U.S. Savings Bonds
  10. 10. © 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 10 How Did We Get Here? 2005: Reinventing Savings Bonds Thought piece: how to reinvent bonds to serve LMI market Recommendations: Offer bonds to tax return filers Reinvigorate bond marketing Recognize bonds as part of financial lifecycle Clarify, expand emergency access to bonds Don’t discourage bonds w/ means testing
  11. 11. © 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 11 Laying the Groundwork 2006: Just Keep my Money Report on “pre-experiment” test of refund- driven savings bond program test operational feasibility of selling bonds in commercial tax prep context trying to merge tax refund & bond order process from point of view of IRS Indication of demand but sample too small, too late in tax season, product too limited (no gifting) further study required
  12. 12. © 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 12 This Year’s Agenda Ran experiment to answer: Will consumers buy bonds at tax time? Preview: YES! Experiment offered bonds to 8,000+ clients 5.9% - 9.6% of clients offered, bought 510 clients bought bonds for 881 people Substantial demand for bonds relative to other tax time saving products
  13. 13. © 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 13 Context: An American Saving Crisis
  14. 14. © 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 14 Beyond the Headlines In 2004, bottom 25% of U.S. households by net worth had: mean net worth of ($1,400) median net worth of $1,700. 10% of HH had financial assets of <$100 In terms of net financial assets, 25 to 33% are asset poor can’t survive three months at poverty line Source: Bucks, Kennickell, and Moore (2006), SCF (2004), Havenmann and Wolff (2001), Caner and Wolf (2002)
  15. 15. © 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 15 Estimates of U.S. Asset Poverty by Group Blacks / Hispanics 62 percent Head aged less than 25 years 72 percent Head aged 25-34 years 52 percent Head with < high school degree 60 percent Renters 64 percent Female heads with children 71 percent Source: Havenmann and Wolff (2001).
  16. 16. © 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 16 Why Target LMI Savings? Need (as above) Impact Same $$$ / higher marginal impact on LMI families Assets matter - to individuals, families, kids, communities (Sherraden 1991, 2001) Appetite While savings rates are down, not so for lowest 60% of Americans (Maki and Palumbo 2001) When given incentives to save, poorest families saved at highest rates (Sherraden 2007)
  17. 17. © 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 17 Efforts & Barriers to Boost LMI Saving “Asset Building” field has emerged champion of LMI saving / asset building laboratory for policies, programs, products But scale, access & cost are still problems Innovation just beginning – mixed success Products: SVCs, HRB “Easy IRAs” Marketing: America Saves (social marketing), ZMET Policy: split refunds, savers’ credit, Automatic IRAs
  18. 18. © 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 18 Saving Challenges for LMI Uneasy About Saving Not Allowed to Save Not Thinking About Saving Competing spending priorities Need access to $ (liquidity) ChexSystems Minimum balance req. No local FI presence Mistrust depositories Risk averse Skeptical Unclear goal
  19. 19. © 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 19 Product Challenges Especially Tough Barrier Small balances Checkered (credit) past Risk averse Mistrust mainstream financial service firms No bank account Unclear goal(s) Long-term goals & liquidity needs in tension Bond Feature Low $50 minimum No credit screen Principal is risk free Gov’t backed, no fees, good return No bank acct required Can save for anything Long-term orientation, access after 1 year
  20. 20. © 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 20 Other Key Bond Features Gift-able can be purchased for self or with co-owner Inflation indexed Strong history high awareness fond memories No Patriot Act or KYC compliance
  21. 21. © 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 21 How Savings Bonds Compare YesNoNoMay Buy as a Gift NoYesYesChexSystems Review 3 months interest (redemptions within 5 years of purchase) Greater of 3 months interest or $25 None Early Redemption Penalty / Forfeiture 1 yearNoneNoneMinimum Holding Period Adjusts bi-annuallyYesNoRate Fixed $50$2,500$100Minimum to Open $0$0$36Annual Fees 4.52%3.25%0.20%Rate of Return Series I U.S. Savings Bond Example 1 Year Certificate of Deposit 2 Example Savings Account1 1) Source Bank of America (www.bofa.com), Regular Savings Account as of 6/15/07; annual fees assumes balance less than $300. 2) Source: Wells Fargo (www.wellsfargo.com); Standard CD as of 6/15/07; rate of return assumes balance less than $5,000.
  22. 22. © 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 22 Savings Bond History Today’s savings bonds trace roots to 1935 for small saver especially “appeal primarily to individuals w/ small amounts to invest” (U.S. Department of the Treasury, 1981) for public good, not just gov’t borrowing needs Dept. of Treasury “to promote wise spending, intelligent saving, & safe investment” (U.S. Department of the Treasury, 1918) to “democratize public finance” “Every (person) who owned a Gov’t Bond... would serve as a bulwark against the constant threats to Uncle Sam’s pocketbook from pressure blocs & special-interest groups” (Morgenthau, 1944)
  23. 23. © 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 23 Savings Bond Marketing
  24. 24. © 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 24 Fundamental Questions: Demand? New Savings? Do LMI individuals want savings bonds? If so, who, why & under what circumstances? Would bond sales constitute new or substitute saving? Is there demand, does it increase savings One way to find out: experiment
  25. 25. © 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 25 TS 06: Pre-experiment 2006 pre-experiment location - 1 HRB district, 14 offices (Schaumberg, IL) duration - 3 weeks only context - commercial tax preparer only purpose - test operations, indication of demand Take-aways: 3% take up rate despite handicaps no gifting option late in tax season limited training operationally complex - need to streamline
  26. 26. © 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 26 TS 2007 Savings Bond Experiment Product: Series I bonds fixed rate (premium above inflation) + inflation rate fixed rate set at purchase, inflation rate adjusts every 6 months Channels H&R Block offices larger scale, commercial firm environment select VITA (Volunteer) tax prep. sites lower income clients, core mission to support saving Dates Tax season start till March (VITA), April (HRB)
  27. 27. © 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 27 Pilot Details: Marketing & Sales Training H&R Block Relied on tax preparers (“pros”) to offer bonds to clients Majority of 400 tax pros trained in group sessions Marketing limited to point of sale (posters, monitor toppers, etc.) VITA “Bond Coordinator” marketed to clients, dealt w/ ops issues Most tax preparers trained directly or indirectly (used CBT) Marketing limited to point of sale (posters, brochures)
  28. 28. © 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 28 Marketing Examples VITA H&R Block
  29. 29. © 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 29 Research Tools H&R Block Tax data Survey data buyers non-buyers control Transaction data savings & settlement products VITA Tax data Survey data buyers sample of non-buyers Transaction data bond orders details
  30. 30. © 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 30 Research Details Consents from all parties All personal identifiers stripped from tax data Form 7216 authorization obtained from all H&R Block clients Research participation not required for bond purchase
  31. 31. © 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 31 Bond Eligibility - Requirements to Buy H&R Block Refund >$500 Willing to open Easy Savings account to facilitate buying bond total bond sale > $50 VITA Refund >$50 Willing / able to use direct deposit (or Western Union Quick Cash product) total bond sale > $50
  32. 32. © 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 32 Bond Purchase Processing H&R Block Individual “conduits” (Easy Savings Acct) HRB splitting (internal systems) Instructions, consent collected via software Difficult to train tax pros & explain to clients, automated processing VITA Pooled “conduit” (clearing account) IRS splitting (via new Form 8888) Instructions, consent collected via paper; faxed by site Easy to train preparers, labor-intensive, error prone processing
  33. 33. © 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 33 What Did We Find? Context roughly 10,000 study participants Block: 3,729 Treatment / 1,485 Control VITA: 4,410 Treatment / 431 “Incentive Offer” Block 27 offer & 4 control offices 2 cities (Boston, Schaumberg, IL) VITA 4 offices 4 cities (Baltimore, Boston, Denver, Tulsa)
  34. 34. © 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 34 Measuring Take Up Take up = purchase / offer Nuances in determining eligible offers Block definitive offers - certain client offered bond possible offers - possible client offered bond VITA direct depositers - clients who had sufficient refund ($50) & used direct deposit (required to buy bonds) all eligible - clients who had sufficient refund ($50) to buy a bond
  35. 35. © 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 35 Conditional on receiving an offer to buy bonds: Does Anyone Want Bonds? Block 5.9% bought (definitive) 1.1% bought (possible) 220 buyers 407 bond recipients VITA 9.6% (direct depositers) 6.0% (all eligible) 231 buyers 377 bond recipients
  36. 36. © 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 36 Compared to What? For H&R Block offices: IRA Openings & Re- contributions Savings Account Openings & Re- contributions Treatment offices 1.5% 1.4% Control offices 0.6% 0.1% Block national 0.9% 0.2%
  37. 37. © 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 37 Compared to What? (Other Samples) Opened IRAs (w/out incentive) at tax time H&R Block experiment, 2005 (Duflo et al.) 2.2% (all filers, pre-experiment) 3.5% (non-married, avg. AGI 30k) 2.9% (married filers, avg. AGI 69k) Contributed to an IRA Percent of eligible tax filers (IRS data, TY02) 3.4% (AGI < 20k) 4.6% (AGI < 30k) 5.6% (AGI < 40k)
  38. 38. © 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 38 Explaining Demand Bonds are familiar to buyers Awareness: 85-88% (Block), 73-75% (VITA) Prior purchase: 35-39% (Block), 15% (VITA) Have you ever purchased a US Savings Bond for yourself and/or someone else before? 0 % 10 % 2 0 % 3 0 % 4 0 % 50 % 6 0 % 70 % A . Y e s , f o r mys e lf . B . Y e s , f o r s o me o ne e ls e C . Y e s , f o r mys e lf A N D s o me o ne e ls e D . N o , I have ne ve r p urc has e d a b o nd . someone else before? 3 0 % 4 0 % 50 % 6 0 % 70 % Bond Purchasers Non-Bond Purchasers
  39. 39. © 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 39 Take-up in Context Long-term product Bonds connote long-term saving Requirement for 1 year holding, minimum No immediate tax benefit (vs. IRA) Nothing for tax preparer to “sell” to client Took patience, endurance to buy a bond Block open another product (Easy Savings) get balance paid back to you (orders under $300) VITA complete 3 additional forms entrust part of refund to bank not present at site
  40. 40. © 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 40 What if We Offer an Incentive? 20% discount on bond purchase for 1 week (1/29 - 2/3) in Tulsa VITA site goal: gauge effect of financial incentive up to $70 subsidy ($350 purchase) per client special marketing materials highlighted incentive 431 clients offered bonds w/ incentive 60 takers
  41. 41. © 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 41 Incentive Findings Take-up: rate nearly doubled or more 15.2% of those offered & eligible 18.1% of direct depositers Same portion of refund spent (5.8%) as non-incentive; avg $ / client $189 vs. $185 Only 22% “yes, would’ve bought bonds w/o incentive” Compare to IRAs opened at tax time H&R Block experiment, 2005 (Duflo et al.) 20% incentive (added to client contribution) 9.6% take up of eligible tax filers ($300 refund) Average AGI $44,789 (IRA) vs. $20,704 (bond)
  42. 42. © 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 42 Block VITA (averages) Buyers Non-Buyers Buyers Non-Buyers n 220 3,509 231 4,179 AGI $ 36,828 $ 41,171 $ 20,888 $ 18,105 Refund $ 3,836 $ 2,951 $ 3,177 $ 1,373 Dependents 1.3 0.8 1.3 0.6 % of Refund Used for Bonds 5.9% - 5.8% - % of Bonds w/ Co-Owners 82% - 84% - Buyer / Non-Buyer Details Huge portion w/ co-owners Buyers appear to have more dependents larger refunds Consistent % of refund used for bonds
  43. 43. © 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 43 Gifting: Co-ownership Bonds may be purchased with: beneficiaries (contingent on owner’s death) co-ownership (either party may redeem bond) Chose co-ownership as most gift-like only name required (no SSN) - easy point of sale up to 4 (Block) / 5 (VITA) co-owners (plus client) buyers: a) self only, b) self & others, c) others only
  44. 44. © 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 44 Gifting Details Among VITA bond buyers: 59% bought one or more bonds for child 9% bought one or more for grandkids Among Block bond buyers: Most popular to buy bonds as gift by wide margin “Self & Others” spent the most on bonds, bought most gifts Bought for SELF only OTHERS only SELF & OTHERS % of purchasers 31% 52% 17% Avg $ spent / buyer $ 145 $ 241 $ 335 Avg. # of gifts / buyer - 1.9 2.3
  45. 45. © 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 45 Gifting: What’s Going on? D2D consumer research suggests children are a powerful force in LMI financial plans
  46. 46. © 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 46 More on Gifting - Gender Differences
  47. 47. © 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 47 New Savings? For bond buyers: 54% (VITA) / 40% (Block) reported no prior savings Of remainder, 46% (VITA) / 22% (Block) reported savings & investments < $1,000 53% (VITA) said they would have saved less if they had not bought a bond No 40% Yes 56% 4 % Block Bond Buyers: Do you have any savings or investments?
  48. 48. © 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 48 Why Did This Work? The Good News Strong foundation very high awareness, experience w/ bonds solid product design (return, fees, credible) Bond features appeal to LMI tax clients gifting small amounts (1/3 of VITA bonds @ $50) allows small savings “win”? Tax time & bonds a good fit immediacy & simplicity (do it now / it’ easy) compliance relatively easy (Pat Act, KYC)
  49. 49. © 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 49 Bank #1 Bank #2 Tax Filer Bank #3 -- Bank Midwest IRS Bureau of Public Debt Tax Pro enters coupon into TPS for bond type purchase H&R Block Tax Pro fills out purchase form Signs new account agree- ment and consent Tax Pro faxes form to WHQfor process- ing Client info added to refund card account WHQ monitors card account for refund receipt WHQ sends letterto client outlining purchase details WHQ fills out spread- sheet with purchase info and uploads Move funds from pooled account to fed account Submit via normal savings bond process Contact HRB to indicate bonds purchase complete Tax prep and return filing Receive Savings Bonds info (via Fed Line) Process Savings Bond Mail Bond to Tax Filer Receive US Savings Bond Process Tax Return Send Refund Send Instruct- ions for Temp- orary Account Opening Send Instruct- ions for Split between debit and check Open Temp- orary Account Split the Refund Send Funds to HRB refund card account Send Check to Tax Filer Close Account Receive Refund Check Decide to buy bond(s) Funds received & moved (via ach) to a pooled account Refund card account closed Receive bond purchase letter Tax Season 2006, US Savings Bond Process Flow Bank #1 Bank #2 Tax Filer Bank #3 -- Bank Midwest IRS Bureau of Public Debt Tax Pro enters coupon into TPS for bond type purchase H&R Block Tax Pro fills out purchase form Signs new account agree- ment and consent Tax Pro faxes form to WHQfor process- ing Client info added to refund card account WHQ monitors card account for refund receipt WHQ sends letterto client outlining purchase details WHQ fills out spread- sheet with purchase info and uploads Move funds from pooled account to fed account Submit via normal savings bond process Contact HRB to indicate bonds purchase complete Tax prep and return filing Receive Savings Bonds info (via Fed Line) Process Savings Bond Mail Bond to Tax Filer Receive US Savings Bond Process Tax Return Send Refund Send Instruct- ions for Temp- orary Account Opening Send Instruct- ions for Split between debit and check Open Temp- orary Account Split the Refund Send Funds to HRB refund card account Send Check to Tax Filer Close Account Receive Refund Check Decide to buy bond(s) Funds received & moved (via ach) to a pooled account Refund card account closed Receive bond purchase letter Tax Season 2006, US Savings Bond Process Flow What Worked? The Bad News Operational nightmare - it took this to allow bond sales in commercial tax preparer
  50. 50. © 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 50 Aren’t All Essential Ingredients Available?
  51. 51. © 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 51 Why Not Enough? Someone has to ask what would take up look like if no one asked solution: make it so all tax filers likely to consider it Firms won’t process at scale complex = expense solution: facilitate process so private sector doesn’t have to subsidize government when consumer asks the government to “Just keep my money”
  52. 52. © 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 52 Not a New Idea: Bonds on Tax Forms 1962 IRS Form 1040A
  53. 53. © 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 53 What Can We Do? Continue to facilitate gifting any changes must allow (promote?) gifting Ensure bonds do no harm don’t discourage saving in bonds by including bonds in public assistance means testing Align bonds w/ realities of LMI households expand & make emergency policy more explicit recognize financial lifecycle (rollovers) Re-brand around families (“family bonds”) Consider financial incentives for LMI to buy bonds for tax preparers to claim on clients’ behalves
  54. 54. © 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 54 Policy Agenda Framework: 3 Pillars Increase & facilitate access, appeal offer in tax filing process, with gifting clarify / expand emergency redemption policy exclusion for means tested benefits Maintain / Build Awareness restore marketing budget re-brand around families, gifting Offer Incentives expand Saver’s Credit Series T Bonds - at a discount, at tax time only, for EITC eligible
  55. 55. © 2007, D2D Fund, Inc. 55 Contact Prof. Peter Tufano Harvard Business School / D2D Fund, Inc. ptufano@hbs.edu 617.495.6855 Timothy Flacke D2D Fund, Inc. www.d2dfund.org tflacke@d2dfund.org 617.541.9064

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