SAN FRANCISCO, CA, May 15, 2018—Bay Area residents saved a million dollars with SaverLife, a digital platform transforming the way low-to-moderate income families use financial technology to save money. From June-September of 2017, more than 1,000 people signed up to receive SaverLife’s digital financial coaching, access to resources, and small-dollar cash incentives. More information is available at SaverLife.org.
With 13 different student loans accumulating interest, Rose Hauser knows that saving money is crucial to her future. But prioritizing saving hasn’t been easy for her, until she found SaverLife. SaverLife forced Rose to ask herself some hard questions: “Am I happy with how my money is being put to use? Is my money making me happy? Is it buying me a better quality of life? No,” she realized. “Saving bought me greater peace of mind and quality of life than spending ever did.”
Participants reported significant changes to their savings habits: 92% reported saving every month they can, an increase of 28%. Additionally, 85% reported living within their means as a result of participating in the SaverLife program.
“In a high-cost city like ours, people recognize the need to save for the unexpected – and SaverLife provided a little extra encouragement to help them get started,” says Leigh Phillips, CEO of EARN. “Thanks to the energy of our coalition partners, the campaign exceeded our expectations. Our goal now is to expand and help even more Bay Area residents build financial stability.”
The campaign was part of a transformative community movement launched last year with San Francisco’s Office of Financial Empowerment to increase financial stability and emergency savings in the Bay Area.
“SaverLife has proven to be an essential tool for struggling families in San Francisco,” said San Francisco Treasurer José Cisneros. “These results clearly demonstrate that families who are struggling to pay bills and build for their futures can and will save when provided solid products and supports.”
With a median income of $55,000, approximately half of the average income for the Bay Area, participants reported saving for emergencies (36%), housing (21%) and retirement (17%).
“Thanks to the coaching emails and the focus on small savings, I’m wrapping my arms around the mindset of saving and I know it will be a lifelong thing,” says Carolyn Doyle.
Every dollar invested in the campaign generated $40 in savings for SaverLife participants. The campaign was sponsored in part by Charles Schwab Bank, Charles Schwab & Co., Inc., Bank of the West, BBVA Compass, the Walter and Elise Haas Fund, and the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.
“SaverLife is helping working families take actionable steps toward saving so that they’re ready for an emergency and can work toward longer-term financial goals,” says Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz, president of Charles Schwab Foundation. “Through encouragement, support and incentives, it’s ultimately helping people achieve a brighter future.”
SaverLife focuses on small savings to help participants become more financially secure. According to the Urban Institute, having a savings cushion of just $250-$750 means families are better prepared to weather a financial emergency without taking on debt or missing payments.
“We are thrilled to see the success of SaverLife San Francisco. We know that saving money is a critical component of long-term financial security,” said Signe-Mary McKernan, co-director of Urban Institute’s Opportunity and Ownership initiative. “With emergency savings, participants can weather life’s unexpected disruptions, pay their taxes, and contribute to their local economy. Emergency savings also sets participants up for successful homeownership and retirement saving.”
A diverse coalition of community partners worked hard throughout the summer to promote the program across the Bay Area. Coalition members included BALANCE, Jewish Vocational Services, the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, the Hotel Council, UFCW, and Levi Strauss & Co.
For more information visit SaverLife.org.
EARN is an award-winning nonprofit that builds prosperity for working families by helping them save and invest in their futures. Since 2001, EARN has helped thousands of families save for a better future through innovative savings products. EARN’s vision is that millions of well-informed, low-wage American families will achieve financial success through proven strategies, fair public policy, and their own hard work. earn.org
About the San Francisco Office of Financial Empowerment
The San Francisco Office of Financial Empowerment’s mission is to leverage the power of City Hall to strengthen economic security and mobility for low income families. sfofe.org