We know on an intellectual level that we should save money for the future. I could spend all day going blue in the face telling you, "If you have save this much money, it will grow to this much in 15 years. And then it will grow to this much in 30 years."
But human nature dictates that you're not thinking about 15 or 30 years down the road; our need for immediate gratification means you're probably thinking about 15 or 30 minutes in the future!
But what if there were a way to get that immediate gratification and meet goals down the road? Select credit unions in Michigan, Nebraska, North Carolina, and Washington State think they have it.
Introducing the Save To Win program
Some credit unions in these states have joined together under an initiative called Save To Win. This programs allows you to open a savings account for $25, and that essentially buys you one "lottery ticket" for a monthly drawing of anywhere from $125 to $1,000. Every $25 you deposit is another entry to win.
Your initial $25 deposit also enters you to win an annual jackpot of $100,000. (Your entries into the game of chance are capped at 10 per month, based on the amount you deposit.) But no matter whether you win or lose, you get to keep all the money you've deposited, plus any interest.
In a single year, over 16,000 Michigan residents who had not been savers opened new accounts because of the jackpot lure. They saved $28 million collectively that otherwise might not have been saved, according to the latest numbers I've seen.
I love what's going on with Save to Win. At the same time, I was horrified by a story I read some time ago in The Des Moines Register story. Iowa's credit unions wanted to do a similar program and were getting opposition from the bankers' trade association in the state.
To my mind, the Iowa bankers are trying to take away any incentive to save. That's reprehensible and wrong. Why not get in a pool with the credit unions and offer a lottery kind of thing instead? A game of chance that you only get to play if you save money in the first place. I love that!