Contest: Best Savers Can Win $50K

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A contest sponsored by TIAA-CREF, a financial services company, will award $50,000 to the entrant who comes up with the best idea for raising the national savings rate. The grand prize winner also gets a trip for two to next year's "South by Southwest" music festival in Austin.

Entrants will also be eligible for one of nine $1,000 runner-up prizes.

The Basics:

You must be 18 or older and you can enter more than once. Submissions must be 500 words or less, and can be made by going to Raisetheratecontest.org.

The only guideline is that you come up with an idea for how to get Americans to save more. TIAA-CREF, which offers mutual funds and other investment products geared toward higher education workers, says the idea is to raise the country's personal savings rate from 4% to 10% in two years.

If you're one of 50 semifinalists selected in October, you'll be asked to submit a video by Nov. 10 to better explain your initial submission.

There are no time limits on the video submissions.

Key Dates:

  • Sept. 20 — Deadline to enter.
  • Oct. 8 — Fifty semifinalists notified.
  • Nov. 10 — Deadline for semifinalists to submit video.
  • Nov. 18 — Ten finalists announced.
  • Dec. 16 — Winner announced.

The Judging Panel:

  • Maria Bartiromo, host of CNBC's "Closing Bell"
  • Aaron Patzer, founder of Mint.com
  • Dan Ariely, Duke University professor and economist
  • Roger W. Ferguson Jr., CEO of TIAA-CREF

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

—For the best rates on loans, bank accounts and credit cards, enter your ZIP code at BankingMyWay.com.

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