Bill Signing Promotes Savings in the First State

Senate Bill 143, signed today by Governor Carney, will increase savings plans education

 

Treasurer Colleen C. Davis, bill sponsors Sen. Trey Paradee and Rep. Krista Griffith, and children from Brilliant Little Minds Learning Academy celebrated today as Governor John Carney signed Senate Bill 143 into law. This legislation allows the Plans Management Board and the Office of the State Treasurer to increase awareness of the benefits of saving through the 529 Education Savings Plan and through ABLE Plans for those with disabilities.

Also joining the event were Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long, Insurance Commissioner Trinidad Navarro, Secretary of Finance Rick Geisenberger, Rep. Mike Smith, Rep. Bryan Shupe, and members of the Delaware Department of Education and the Plans Management Board. The Governor and legislators talked about their own experiences with the savings plans and discussed the importance of the bill. Treasurer Davis asked the kids from Brilliant Little Minds Learning Academy what they want to be when they grow up. “Whatever you want to be when you grow up, you have to work hard in school and save your money to make it happen. I’m so glad that we could have young people here with us as we take this step towards expanding economic opportunity and educational attainment.”

Senate Bill 143 allows the Board to pursue methods of increasing savings plan enrollments outside of the high-income earning households that traditionally participate by allowing for incentive-based marketing. Possible avenues of promotion include a scholarship program or a match plan, as seen in other states. These options will be explored by the Board at future meetings. Additionally, new promotions aimed at increasing awareness of using 529s for adult educational attainment and for non-college costs, such as apprenticeship programs, will be integrated into future marketing efforts.

“The costs of education are skyrocketing, but national enrollments in 529 plans have gone down,” Treasurer Davis said. “In Delaware, we have worked hard to share the benefits of these plans with our residents and are continuing to see new enrollments. Our nearly 22,000 accounts represent growth of 4% over the last three years, and this bill will allow us to continue to expand. Like these savings plans, Senate Bill 143 is an investment in our future.”

“America is facing a crisis when it comes to saving money for the future,” said Sen. Trey Paradee, D-Dover, who works as a financial advisor. “Right now, 40 percent of U.S. adults don’t have enough savings to cover even a $400 emergency – a brutal fact, which is leaving too many families one missed paycheck from a financial nightmare. We need to be doing all we can to encourage people to take advantage of savings plans, particularly the favorable products offered by our state. This bill is aimed at raising awareness of those products and examining how we can better position them to help working families in need.”

“Given the daunting cost of college education, the state of Delaware needs to do everything it can to promote college savings. Delaware has made great strides in creating accounts for those for disabilities, which will allow them to save money without sacrificing services they depend on,” said Rep. Krista Griffith, D-Fairfax. “This bill will allow Treasurer Davis to increase outreach about Delaware’s 529 plan and make more Delawareans aware of the benefits so they can invest and plan for their futures. I’m always looking to help improve accessibility to these accounts and I look forward to continued efforts in the General Assembly.”

Both tax-advantaged savings plans are available to the public, easy to open, and offer investment options so that savings can grow over time until they are used for associated costs. Learn more about our savings plans at 529.Delaware.Gov and ABLE.Delaware.Gov.


Treasurer Davis Celebrates One Year Anniversary of Delaware ABLE Plan, Releases Video

Specialized savings accounts protect the benefits of individuals with disabilities.

Treasurer Colleen C. Davis is marking the first anniversary of the Delaware ABLE Plan by releasing a new awareness campaign and video. ABLE is a savings program for individuals with disabilities that ensures their ability to put away money and advance in life without risking their important government benefits. Without ABLE, saving money for the future or earning a fair wage can put a person’s ability to utilize Medicaid and Supplementary Security Income (SSI) at risk.

“During ABLE’s first year, the focus was on getting the program up and running. Now the groundwork is laid, and we are shifting our focus towards getting information about the plan into the hands of those who could benefit from it,” Treasurer Davis explained, “Our new awareness video is a great, sharable way for residents to learn about the program and how easy it is to sign up.”

During 2019 alone, Treasurer Davis and staff have reached over 3,000 people through direct, in-person outreach at dozens of events and community meetings. This week, a more broad online awareness effort begins with the release of a video about ABLE.

“Throughout my career, I have worked with thousands of people with disabilities seeking employment,” said Dan Madrid, Director of Policy and Performance Management and ABLE Manager in the Office of the State Treasurer. “They would tell me that they needed a job, but could only make so much, or needed a job that paid less. Several would obtain jobs and then have to refuse promotions and raises because of the asset limits associated with their benefits. With ABLE, they don’t need to hold themselves back anymore. They can have a stable, successful future – and we want everyone to know about the opportunity.”

The Treasurer has hope that Congress will help the plan expand as well. Davis is supportive of the ABLE Age Adjustment Act, which would increase plan eligibility to those who incurred a disability by age 26 to those whose disability onset by age 46, making an estimated six million more Americans eligible for the important program. Treasurer Davis is strongly in support of the ABLE Age Adjustment Act, and released an op-ed to encourage support and a joint statement with Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long.

The Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) program allows for the creation of tax-advantaged savings accounts for individuals with disabilities without compromising eligibility for federal benefits such as Medicaid and Social Security. Delaware’s ABLE plan is administered by the Office of the State Treasurer. Learn more about Delaware’s ABLE Plan by visiting ABLE.delaware.gov.


State Treasurer’s 529 Day Promotes Saving For Education, Provides Free Delaware Children’s Museum Admission

State Treasurer Colleen C. Davis and the Delaware College Investment Plan, known as the 529 Plan, are offering free admission to all Delaware Children’s Museum guests on May 29, “529 Day.” Treasurers nationwide celebrate this holiday to increase awareness of the need to save money in order to be financially college- and career-ready.

“The Delaware Children’s Museum’s focus on hands-on learning helps to enhance the minds of our state’s youth and engage young people in skills that they can use to thrive in the future. Of course, my personal favorite exhibit is the Bank on It room, where kids can learn about managing money,” said Treasurer Davis. “Our 529 savings accounts can help encourage continued learning and skill building by helping young people to be college- and career-ready financially. I’m so glad that everyone will have the opportunity to learn, and play, at 529 Day.”

“The DCM is thrilled to partner with DCIP and the Office of The Treasurer to provide free admission for ALL guests on Wednesday, May 29th” exclaimed museum Executive Director Jennifer Bush. “We thank them for their continued interest and support, and encourage others to follow their amazing example. Thanks DCIP!”

The museum will be open from 10:00 AM until 3:00 PM on the 29th, with admission fees being waived to all guests throughout the day. 

To learn more about saving for educational expenses through a 529 plan, visit 529.delaware.gov.


Treasurer Colleen C. Davis Releases Interactive Available Income Calculator

Tool helps Delaware residents visualize available income and set budget benchmarks

State Treasurer Colleen C. Davis has released an interactive tool to increase financial empowerment among Delaware residents by providing an easy way to determine their available income. The Available Income Calculator is a fast and free product that can help to develop an understanding of required costs, average monthly expenses, and the amount of income available after necessities are paid for – money that can be invested in a brighter future.

“As Treasurer, I always say that income impacts outcome. With this tool, we can easily determine the income dollars we can put towards a desired outcome – whether it is saving for a future down payment, investing in a retirement fund, or something else entirely” said Treasurer Davis.
Available Income Calculator ImageThe Available Income Calculator is an innovative tool that can increase personal financial literacy by helping each person to understand the amount of money they can save or spend. The calculator uses annual household income, paycheck deductions, and tax filing information to generate budget benchmarks for biweekly expenses and calculate available income.

“For some, this tool will be the first time they interact with our office,” Treasurer Davis explained, “April is Financial Literacy Month, and this tool shows our community that financial literacy isn’t just for kids – it is a necessity for adults, one that can be difficult and even costly to navigate.”

Traditionally, it can be challenging to determine discretionary income without access to financial institutions. The Available Income Calculator is a step towards reducing barriers to financial knowledge and increasing economic empowerment.

“Banking institutions and financial investors aren’t accessible to every resident, but that shouldn’t mean that we can’t know our own financial standing. For a long time, our office has been seen in the same way – it hasn’t felt like something the average Delawarean can utilize,” Economic Advisor Susan Steward, who created the tool, explained, “This calculator is a way for our office to show the community that financial literacy and stability are possible, that it can be easy to understand your financial situation, and that the Office of the State Treasurer can help.”

Future iterations of the tool are underway, including a calculator specific to state employees to assist in informing healthcare plan choices and state-sponsored retirement investments. The Available Income Calculator was built using data from the BLS Consumer Expenditure Survey, the IRS, and the Delaware Division of Revenue through Tableau, a visual analytics software.

“Delaware’s Available Income Calculator is a great example of a government organization taking a proactive approach to data transparency,” said Steven Spano, Regional Vice President, Public Sector at Tableau Software. “Innovative uses of technology like this are empowering citizens to interact with government offices in brand new ways, and can serve as a model for other communities throughout the country.”

 

Use the Available Income Calculator


State Treasurer to Celebrate National Library Week at Frankford Public Library

State Treasurer Colleen C. Davis will join the Frankford Public Library for their Community Connect Night on Monday, April 8 to celebrate National Library Week. National Library Week is an annual celebration that began in 1958 to highlight the valuable role libraries, librarians and library workers play in transforming lives and communities.

“Libraries in Delaware and throughout the country are so much more than buildings that house books – they are hubs of community that provide critical resources and programs to their neighborhoods,” said Treasurer Davis.

The Frankford Public Library has served the community for 88 years, and hosts programming including bilingual story time and homework help, Teen Advisory Group, Adult Book Circle, Social Workers at the Library, and more.

Community Connect Night will be a family-friendly evening, offering opportunities to meet with staff and Library Director Lesley Koble. Two reading opportunities for children and those young heart will be keystones of the evening. First, at 5:00PM, the PAWS Reading Program will encourage attendees to read aloud to a furry, friendly therapy companion. At 6:45PM, State Treasurer Colleen Davis will conclude the evening with a favorite from the Children’s Library.