Focus Group Results Show Young Adults Know It Is Important To Save But No One Is Showing Them How

Top ten findings from first-time youth workers about spending and saving

Last week, America Saves released a report of the top ten findings from focus groups with first-time youth workers regarding their saving and spending. Many of these youth completed the America Saves First-Time Worker program as part of their summer job. The America Saves initiative partners with Summer Youth Employment Programs (SYEP) to encourage young workers to set up direct deposit and save a portion of their paycheck.

Youth were recruited to participate in focus groups conducted by the Alan Newman Research Group before their employment ended with their SYEP. Two sets of focus groups were held in three cities with a total of fifty-five youth aged 16 – 19 from Miami, Chicago, and Washington, DC. They were asked questions about their thoughts, experiences, and behavior regarding saving, spending, and borrowing. In Chicago and DC, youth employees lived in low-income census tracts or qualified for school free lunch programs. In Miami, youth were recruited from two high schools in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods.

The results of these focus groups provide insights in to how this particular group of young workers perceives spending and saving money. After careful review of the information, America Saves compiled the top 10 insights about what these low- and moderate-income youth think about saving money.

  1. They know it’s important to save, but don’t know how.
  2. They know it’s important to start saving early and that they can start with small savings. 
  3. While aware of savings best practices, many had difficulty actually saving money and/or meeting their savings goals.
  4. They are familiar with direct deposit but do not view it as a savings tool.
  5. The most successful savers had two accounts – one for spending and one for saving.
  6. They have contradicting feelings about prepaid cards.
  7. They understand that spending is about temptation, so they develop strategies to avoid temptation.
  8. They understand that living within their means and saving is the way to accumulate wealth.
  9. They feel proud earning money.
  10. They don’t like the idea of borrowing money.

“While many of the participants knew that saving money was important and had positive benefits, many were unable to save,” said George Barany, America Saves Financial Education Director. “To help these young workers save effectively, America Saves is working with SYEP’s to provide the same opportunity that adults have to save successfully – utilizing direct deposit to automatically deposit money into a savings account.”

Download the full report: http://www.americasaves.org/images/ftw/FTW_Findings-2014.pdf

America Saves, a campaign managed by the nonprofit Consumer Federation of America, seeks to motivate, encourage, and support low- to moderate-income households to save money, reduce debt, and build wealth. The research-based campaign uses the principles of behavioral economics and social marketing to change behavior. Non‐profit, government, and corporate groups participate in America Saves nationally and through local, regional, and statewide campaigns around the country. America Saves encourages individuals and families to take the America Saves pledge and organizations to promote savings year-round and during America Saves Week. Learn more at americasaves.org and americasavesweek.org.

Contact: Katie Bryan, 202-939-1018 

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