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What Are Characteristics of Tangible Hope? A Guaranteed Income and Asset Experiment in Saint Paul, MN/A Children’s Savings Account Program

DOI: 10.4236/sm.2024.141006, PP. 95-120

Keywords: Children’s Savings Accounts, Financial Needs, Guaranteed Income, Baby Bonds

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Abstract:

The City of Saint Paul’s CollegeBound Boost (Boost for short) program is the first to test combining Children’s Savings Accounts (CSAs) with a monthly guaranteed income payment ($500 per month; income support) and targeted quarterly CSA deposits ($250 per quarter; asset support) to families living at 300% of the poverty line or below. The current study examines how Boost participants perceive fulfilling their current and future needs with income and assets. We also explore how Boost study participants describe the concept of tangible hope for their family’s future. Semi-structured interviews with 32 Boost participants reveal that families perceive income’s role in meeting their current needs and using assets to prepare for their future needs. Study participants also described five characteristics that may better help define what tangible hope consists of: 1) a sense of comfort/security about the future, 2) a future that is brought into clearer focus, 3) a future that is attainable on some level, 4) a sense that one has a stake in the future, and 5) a sense that something more is possible (i.e. increased ability to hope). A policy implication of this study is that families participating in programs that combine present income and future asset strategies (such as Boost) might help families perceive their future as more secure and attainable with a clearer focus and realize they have a greater stake in their

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