Ian Hatch ’14 Named Finalist in Nationwide “Raise the Rate” Competition
By Brianda Reyes '14, Contributing Writer
Ian Hatch ’14 is a finalist of the nationwide competition “Raise the Rate” which asked contestants to submit ideas about how to raise the current United States savings rate. The competition is hosted by the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association, College Retirement Equities Fund (TIAA-CREF).

Hatch first read about the competition while reading a blog and he immediately decided to enter it. The competition called for innovative ideas to raise America’s current savings rate of four percent to 10 percent in two years. Hatch began with four or five ideas, carefully analyzing each if them before he decided on his final idea.

“I thought the issue addressed by the contest was pressing and interesting, so thinking about it was never a chore,” Hatch said.

The idea created by Hatch is titled “American Initiative for Meaningful Savings (AIMS).” It proposes that every bank in America be required to offer their account-holders a AIMS account that, similar to an Individual Retirement Account, provides tax-free interest. Ten percent of all deposits made in the checking account go towards the AIMS long-term savings account. His idea also includes a creating a “Savings App” for smartphones that account-holders could access which would show their current balance, interest rate and projected growth over time.

In addition to creating an innovative idea, contestants also had to submit a video explaining their idea. Hatch used a tripod, a digital camera and a whiteboard to complete his viral project. Each scene of his video was hand-drawn, then photographed. These photographs were compiled and edited into the final video.

“The video was a labor-intensive endeavor,” he said. “There must have been at least a hundred frames.”

Hatch calls his idea “simple,” explaining that it would “encourage good financial stewardship.” Although Hatch was confident in his submission, he was still surprised when he was selected as a semifinalist. His amazement grew even more when he was named a finalist.

“After being selected as a semifinalist I thought that perhaps there was hope to reach the finals, but it was still a great surprise,” he said.

TIAA-CREF has created a Facebook page for the competition, which can be accessed at facebook.com/tiaa-cref. There, Facebook users can see the finalists’ ideas and vote on their favorite. Individuals are allowed only one vote per day, with the deadline for voting set for is Dec. 9. The winner will be announced Dec. 16. The creator of the idea which receives the most votes will receive $15,000. A hopeful Hatch is trying to get votes by talking to people and starting a Facebook campaign. The ideas will also be analyzed by a professional panel; whomever they chose as the winner will receive $50,000.

“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,” said Roger Ferguson, President and Chief Executive Officer of TIAA-CREF, in a press release.

Issue 10, Submitted 2010-12-01 04:07:03