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Oct 5 -- The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) has asked OMB to approve a new information collection, the “Start Small, Save Up Workforce Questionnaire” (N = 2,000) and invites the public to submit comments to OMB by November 4, 2020. OMB welcomes comments from AEA members on the value of the proposed new survey for economic research, analysis, and policy.
 
This short questionnaire evaluates the respondent's current savings habits, behaviors, and attitudes. It evaluates the respondent's level of financial well-being, a subjective state wherein a person has a sense of financial security and financial freedom of choices, in the present and for the future. The questionnaire will give the Bureau an efficient way to measure the effectiveness of financial education and other efforts in increasing consumers' liquid savings and financial well-being. Information will be gathered from those in the Bureau workforce. The questionnaire may also be made available for use by other Federal agencies for similar studies related to financial well-being and savings practices.

The questionnaire asks about the respondent's recent experiences with unexpected financial shocks, the respondent's savings cushion available for emergencies, the respondent's savings behavior and savings vehicles. It includes the five-question version of the Bureau's Financial Well-Being Scale.

The Bureau can use the information collected to connect savings and financial well-being, and to inform future development of employer-sponsored financial education materials and programs.
 
The CFPB is undertaking work to encourage employers and other organizations to increase people’s liquid savings. Capturing a before and after picture of savings and related behaviors is an important part of this work. The information collection is a targeted and efficient way to understand changes in respondents’ savings and related behavior, as well as to examine connections to their financial well-being.
 
The CFPB plans to analyze the responses to determine the effectiveness of its campaign to increase liquid savings within its own workforce. The survey questions ask about savings behavior, including automated savings methods, use of savings, drawdown and replenishment of savings. The questionnaire includes the short form of the CFPB’s Financial Well-Being Scale, and questions about the impact of savings and financial behavior on personal stress levels.

The survey data will be used to better understand the achievements and challenges that the CFPB workforce experiences with setting aside money for unexpected events. It will help the internal communications group adjust and adapt messages and media to encourage more workers to save.  

The survey will be offered to respondents twice: Once at the beginning of the savings intervention (the internal communications effort around building emergency savings), and again at the end.

CFPB is also hopeful that other employers, including other Federal agencies, will be implementing similar savings initiatives. To the extent that other Federal agencies would want to conduct similar surveys to inform their own savings initiatives, CFPB is requesting that the Office of Management and Budget approve this survey for Federal-wide use as a common form.  

CFPB Financial Well-Being Scale: https://www.consumerfinance.gov/data-research/research-reports/financial-well-being-scale/
Federal Register notice:  https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/10/05/2020-21922/agency-information-collection-activities-submission-for-omb-review-comment-request
Submission to OMB: https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAViewICR?ref_nbr=202009-3170-002  Click on IC List for survey instrument, View Supporting Statement for narrative
 
Point of contact: Jason Brown, Research Director, CFPB   jason.brown@cfpb.gov  (202) 435-7000  
 
For AEA members wishing to provide comments, "A Primer on How to Respond to Calls for Comment on Federal Data Collections" is available at https://www.aeaweb.org/content/file?id=5806

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