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Understanding the Case for Universal Basic Income

Universal Basic Income is the idea of giving all citizens a regular, live-able and unconditional sum of money, from the government.

Articles by Jill Schlesinger

By Jill Schlesinger, CFP®
  |  Published: February 6, 2018

Despite the fact that we are nearing the ninth year of a global economic recovery, poverty remains a problem.

In the United States alone, recent numbers from the Census Bureau show the rate to be just under 13% with more than 40 million people considered to be living in poverty.

Globally, more than 1.3 billion live in extreme poverty, meaning they subsist on less than $1.25 a day.

While there are no easy fixes, there are a few ideas that have been tossed around. Some that have been tried and proven—at least on a small scale—like the concept of Universal Basic Income (UBI), something that has very much interested me over the last couple years.

The basic concept of UBI revolves around the idea of all citizens of a country receiving a regular, live-able and unconditional sum of money, from the government. You may think that this is a dressed up welfare program that will only encourage people not to work.

On the contrary, dozens of successful basic income experiments around the globe have proven that the vast majority of us actually want to do something with our lives — we just need the means to get on our feet.

Check your negative knee-jerk reaction at the door and open yourself up to at least learning about UBI, which can be an investment that pays for itself.

After all, poverty in its current state is incredibly expensive and ineffective.

Listen to our episode of the Better Off Podcast with guest Rutger Bregman to learn more about universal basic income.

The opinions stated on the Better Off podcast are those of the host, Jill Schlesinger, and her guests, and not those of Betterment or its employees. Any third party links provided are offered as a matter of convenience and are not intended to imply that Betterment endorses, or is affiliated with the owners of or any information contained on those sites, unless expressly stated otherwise. Listen to a preview and subscribe to “Better Off” here.

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