Saving Among Low-Income Women: Motivation and Obstacles

21 Pages Posted: 1 Oct 2011 Last revised: 14 Oct 2011

See all articles by Helen Levy

Helen Levy

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Institute for Social Research (ISR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Kristin Seefeldt

Indiana University Bloomington - School of Public & Environmental Affairs (SPEA)

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Date Written: September 5, 2008

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

Levy, Helen and Seefeldt, Kristin, Saving Among Low-Income Women: Motivation and Obstacles (September 5, 2008). Indiana University, Bloomington: School of Public & Environmental Affairs Research Paper No. 2009-02-01, Michigan Retirement Research Center Research Paper No. 2008-199, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1936056 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1936056

Helen Levy (Contact Author)

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Institute for Social Research (ISR) ( email )

Ann Arbor, MI 48106-1248
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Kristin Seefeldt

Indiana University Bloomington - School of Public & Environmental Affairs (SPEA) ( email )

1315 East Tenth Street
Bloomington, IN 47405
United States

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