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Saving among Low-Income Women: Motivation and Obstacles

  • Helen Levy

    (University of Michigan)

  • Kristin Seefeldt

    (University of Michigan)

How do low-income households think about saving? What motivations do they identify for saving, and what obstacles to meeting their goals? We use data from qualitative interviews with 51 households in Detroit to shed light on these questions. We find that they wish they could save - primarily for protection against the unexpected or to put children through college - but that most of them cannot. Friends and family surface as a major obstacle to saving, since those who have liquid assets are asked for help. When savings is feasible in this population, it occurs largely through relatively inaccessible vehicles such as pensions and 401Ks.

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File URL: http://www.mrrc.isr.umich.edu/publications/Papers/pdf/wp199.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center in its series Working Papers with number wp199.

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Length: 20 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mrr:papers:wp199
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  1. Martin Browning & Annamaria Lusardi, 1996. "Household Saving: Micro Theories and Micro Facts," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(4), pages 1797-1855, December.
  2. Steven J. Haider & Kathleen McGarry, 2005. "Recent Trends in Resource Sharing Among the Poor," NBER Working Papers 11612, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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