Free for 90 days: Sign up now and get 90 days managed free after your first deposit. See offer details

Limited time offer: Sign up today and get up to 1 year managed free. See details

Get your next rollover managed free in 2018. Learn how to enroll

Better Off Podcast

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.

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.

Recommended Content

View All Resources
Our Team of Experts

Our Team of Experts

Meet the team of experts at Betterment who bring decades of industry expertise to your investment strategy.

Thinking in Bets with Annie Duke

Thinking in Bets with Annie Duke

For most people, it’s difficult to say “I’m not sure” in a world that values and, even, rewards the appearance of certainty.

How to Do a Direct IRA Transfer

How to Do a Direct IRA Transfer

A transfer of your IRA to Betterment is easy and can be done online in four simple steps.

Start your investment plan

I am

years old and

  • Not Retired
  • Retired

.

My annual income is

.

Experience the new way of investing. Sign up today.

Start investing smarter

Get started

Refer a friend or family member and get up to 1 year managed free

Refer a friend

How would you like to get started?

Your first step toward a smarter investing future starts here.

Create a Betterment account

Go ahead and join the smart, modern way to invest.

See what we can do for you

Tell us a bit about yourself, and we’ll show you the benefits of investing with us.

Get a free investing checkup

Help us get a sense of your investing approach and see how you could improve.

Transfer a 401(k) or an IRA

Move an existing retirement account into a Betterment IRA.

Download the mobile app

Enjoy the Betterment experience anywhere on the go.

For more information and disclosures about the Betterment Resource Center, click here. | See our contributors.