Let the Voting (and Saving) Begin!

Vote Online for the Best Idea to Raise the Savings Rate

New York, November 19, 2010

Everyone can now vote for their favorite video in TIAA-CREF’s “Raise the Rate” competition. Ten videos each offer creative ideas to increase the U.S. personal savings rate while improving Americans’ understanding of their own savings needs. The entry that receives the most votes online from the public will win a $15,000 “People’s Choice” award.

View the finalists and vote today at www.raisetheratecontest.org. TIAA-CREF will announce the winner on December 13.

“The finalist videos show some very creative and thoughtful ideas for spurring people to save,” said Roger Ferguson, President and Chief Executive Officer. “Our hope is that the ideas generated will influence a much-needed national dialogue about the need for retirement savings and how each of us can take steps to achieve our financial futures.”

In addition to the people choice, TIAA-CEF will award a $50,000 grand prize to the best idea judged by a the Raise the Rate competition celebrity panel: Maria Bartiromo, host of CNBC’s “Closing Bell;” Aaron Patzer, founder of Mint.com; Dan Ariely, author, Duke University professor and economist and head of the eRationality research group at the MIT Media Lab; and TIAA-CREF CEO Roger W. Ferguson, Jr.

The judges will assess each the effectiveness, clarity, innovativeness and feasibility of each of the finalist submissions.

The contest grand prize winner will receive a trip for two to next year’s South by Southwest® festival in Austin, Texas, a world-leading forum for tomorrow’s ideas. Runners-up will each receive $1,000.

A survey released by TIAA-CREF last month shows that most Americans realize that saving is essential for financial security but that more than eight in ten people (82%) don’t know what it takes to save and that nearly forty percent (39%) of Americans are not saving for retirement at all.

From Behavioral Economics and Friendship to Tax Code Changes and the Power of Peers

The Raise the Rate competition, which received more than 1,000 entries, represents the first use of crowdsourcing to find creative ways to spur the national savings rate. Here, in alphabetical order, are descriptions of the ten finalist videos:

American Initiative for Meaningful Savings (AIMS) – People could direct that ten percent of all deposits to their savings account be transferred to a companion AIMS savings account. Interest income on the AIMS savings would be tax free.

Compare and Save – Harness peer information to influence people to save more, by displaying savings rates for people with similar incomes on W-2 tax forms.

Enter Your PIN and Put it Back In – In addition to asking anyone who uses a debit card whether you’d like cash back, store checkout register keypad displays also would ask whether you would like to save money – by directing some amount of money into your savings account.

FICO Personal Savings Scores – A better saver is a more trustworthy borrower. Incorporate personal savings rates into widely used FICO credit scores, so that people can raise their credit score by saving.

Paycheck Nudge – Display information on everyone’s paycheck about how our savings behavior compares to co-workers, people their age, or those who earn the same salary – any statistic with the potential to make you feel insecure or competitive – to spur us each to save more.

Rate Raider – Rate Raider would be a new multiplayer online game that awards points for increasing your savings rate. The game would enable players to play others in their online social networks and to win points for increasing the percentage they save in their savings accounts, which the game could monitor.

Save Once/Win Twice – Enroll every American in a portable IRA and deposit 10 percent of their paycheck in a retirement account. Everyone who saves 10 percent of their lifetime income in a retirement account is eligible for a 10 percent bonus on their Social Security check for life. If you save less than 10 percent of your income, you see a reduction in your Social Security check by the percentage amount of the gap in your savings. People who are within 10 years of retirement would be exempt from the penalty.

Savings Bond Boost – Automatically issue the first $100 of U.S. tax refunds to a personal savings bond.

The Trend to Ten Project – A website with information to guide people to savings, including opportunities to participate in group challenges, videos that describe savings concepts in clear terms, and other encouragement, peer support, education and discussion groups to help people know more about the importance of money and the role it plays in our lives.

Women’s Saving Club – A group of ten women commits to raising their savings at least two percent each year. Ways include fully funding a Roth IRA, considering other potential income sources, creating a realistic budget, automating savings. Club members pledge to support each other.

The deadline for entries in the Raise the Rate competition was September 20, 2010. The competition is open to legal residents of the 48 contiguous United States, 18 and older.

TIAA-CREF (www.tiaa-cref.org) is a national financial services organization with $434 billion in combined assets under management (as of 9/30/10) and provides retirement services to the academic, research, medical and cultural fields.

Media Contact
Chad Peterson, TIAA-CREF
704 988-6811

TIAA-CREF Individual & Institutional Services, LLC and Teachers Personal Investors Services, Inc., members FINRA, distribute securities products.

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