Utah Treasurer Marlo Oaks and community partners are raising awareness of the importance of saving and the resources available to help Utahns achieve their financial goals as part of the annual “Utah Saves Week” campaign. One focus of this year’s campaign is to reduce barriers for Utahns to access safe and affordable financial services.
AAA Fair Credit Foundation, a member of the council and the Utah Saves campaign coordinator, launched Bank On Salt Lake in January. Bank On Salt Lake is a collaboration between financial institutions, community-based organizations and government institutions to connect Utahns to safe, affordable and functional banking accounts. According to Bank On, 19% of Utahns are unbanked or underbanked.
“Having a certified account through a bank or credit union means having a safe place to save and grow your money. Those who are unbanked or underbanked spend thousands of dollars every year using costly alternative services like payday loans, money orders and check cashing services to take care of their finances,” Treasurer Oaks said. “They are also more likely to lose their money through theft, loss or damage and less likely to save.”
“There are unbanked and underbanked individuals from all socioeconomic backgrounds, but disproportionately, most tend to be lower income and households of color, which have significantly higher rates of transacting outside the banking system. This may be due to lack of trust in financial institutions and fees that tend to be associated with checking accounts,” Bank On Salt Lake Coalition Manager Sandra Martinez said. “Bank On works to build stronger relationships between the community and financial institutions and to provide these communities with knowledge and resources to overcome barriers and gain better access to affordable financial services.”
In addition to increasing access to traditional financial services, members of the Utah Council on Financial and Economic Education are raising awareness of the importance of saving through social media, events and promotions.
Governor Cox declared February 21-25 as Utah Saves Week, in alignment with America Saves Week. Rep. Brady Brammer will read the declaration on the floor of the House and Sen. Ann Millner will read the declaration on the floor of the Senate on Tuesday morning.
Treasurer Oaks and Utah Jump$tart Coalition will be visiting schools to share the importance of saving with Utah Students. As part of U Saves Week, the University of Utah is hosting trainings to promote positive saving habits.
To promote educational savings, my529 is offering a special promotion to Utah residents who open a my529 account for a beneficiary new to my529 between February 1-28, contribute at least $10 and use the promo code 2022SAVE. my529 will match the $10 contribution in March. If the account owner sets up an automatic monthly contribution that takes place uninterrupted for six months, my529 will contribute an additional $10 to those accounts in September. Click here to learn more.
“Start contributing regularly to a my529 account. It doesn’t have to be a lot of money. If it’s $25 a month, that’s going to add up,” my529 executive director Richard Ellis said. “What you save will make a difference, and those funds can reduce or even eliminate the need for student loans later on.”
Utahns are encouraged to pledge to save online at utahsaves.org to receive savings advice tailored specifically to their savings goals.
“I am grateful for the efforts of those in our community who are helping others find and use more secure and affordable financial services,” Treasurer Oaks said. “No savings goal is too little or too big. You just need to start somewhere.”
To learn more about Utah Saves Week, visit utahsaves.org and follow the Office of State Treasurer on social media.