Does saving really work for poor people? This study [pdf] from the National Center for Policy Analysis, a conservative thinktank, said no:
Low-income households face "astronomical" penalties for saving, according to the report by the National Center for Policy Analysis. For example, each $1 saved by a single mother earning $15,000 a year would cost her $2.60 in higher taxes and lost government benefits.
"We're constantly told that we need to save early and often to prepare for retirement," said Laurence Kotlikoff, professor at Boston University and author of the study. "Yet government policies tell low-income families, 'If you save for the future, you won't get our help today.' "