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Cover of "Impact of the America Saves Program on Low-Income Youth Workers." Image is a pocket on a pair of jewel embellished jeans with a stack of 20 dollar bills sticking out.Youth can learn how to save when provided appropriate products, services, and mechanisms. And summer youth employment programs can serve as effective pathways for these supports, according to new research.

America Saves for Young Workers (ASYW) and C + R Research Services’ new report, Impact of the America Saves program on Low-Income Youth Workers, explores the effect of ASYW on summer youth employment participants from August 2015 – March 2016, including during their employment. In measured the impact of their use of savings tools, savings attitudes, and savings behaviors.

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The ASYW program is simple. It consists of educational materials and the America Saves Pledge to save money, reduce debt, and build wealth, and takes under ten minutes for Young Workers to complete. While taking the Pledge, Young Workers select a savings goal (e.g. education, emergency fund, car) and create a plan for how much they will save monthly and over what length of time. The program highlights the use of direct deposit to put money away for both spending and saving. ASYW uses an employer’s current infrastructure to authorize direct deposit and split pay, or make automatic deposits between the two accounts. Once Young Workers have completed the program, ASYW continues to support them by sending periodic savings reminders, tools, information, and tips

Key findings of the report include:

Participating Young Workers are more likely to open and keep savings accounts

Following their summer employment and participation in the ASYW program, 58 percent of youth, on average, owned savings accounts, a 66 percent increase in ownership.

And after their summer employment, ASYW youth ownership rates for savings accounts exceeded that of national low-income teens ages 16-18 by 15 percentage points.  

How @AmericaSaves increases savings account ownership in youth employment programs: #ASYW16
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Participating Young Workers continue to save after their summer work experience

Not only did ASYW youth open savings accounts, they continued to use them. Eight months after their summer youth employment ended, 61 percent reported making a deposit to their savings account in the previous month, despite just 38 percent being formally employed at the time.

The savings habits were maintained because the young workers enjoyed seeing their savings grow (42 percent), had already established the habit (44 percent), and the ASYW program helped them realize how easy it could be to save (39 percent).

Summer youth employment can encourage savings. Here's how v/ @AmericaSaves: #ASYW16
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Participating Young Workers established a new a savings pattern

Prior to their 2015 summer employment and exposure to the ASYW program, more than half of young workers had no previous savings habits. But following their participation, 80 percent of ASYW youth had established a savings pattern or routine and maintained it months later, a 52 percent increase.

Participating young workers will continue will continue to build their employment history and take advantage of direct deposit

Through the ASYW program, Young Workers were encouraged to sign up for direct deposit. Once introduced to the use of direct deposit, most young workers tended to make repeated use of the option for pay in subsequent jobs. In fact, 84 percent anticipated working the next summer, with 79 percent hoping they could use direct deposit for future pay with that job.

How to partner with America Saves for Young Workers

Prior to starting their 2015 summer employment and participation in ASYW, most Young Workers had no savings habit, offering insights such as “I didn’t have a bank account before my summer job so I had nowhere safe to put my money; therefore, I spent it.” This is consistent with results of America Saves focus groups where youth shared that they know it’s important to save, but no one has shown then how to do it. But that all changed through the ASYW program and the supports it offers.

ASYW encourages youth to save money the same way the most successful savers do – by utilizing direct deposit to save a portion of their pay into a separate account.

ASYW is free of cost to summer youth programs. It is easy to implement with just a single email. Youth will be able to save some of their hard-earned money, preparing them for the future. And summer youth programs will gain access to custom reports showing how many youth pledged to save and how much they pledged to save, providing a great opportunity to demonstrate impact to organization leadership, funders, stakeholders, participants, and other communities.

If you’re interested in learning more or becoming involved, contact George Barany, Director of Financial Education This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Help ASYW spread the word

Help ASYW spread the word about our research and opportunities to get involved by sharing these suggested social media posts and graphics.

How to inspire youth in your community to watch their savings grow: v/ @AmericaSaves #ASYW16 .com/8VTpXsYxJr
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Motivate youth in your community to open and keep savings accts: v/ @AmericaSaves #ASYW16
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Learn how to work with youth in your community to build savings: v/ @AmericaSaves #ASYW16
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Promote savings to young workers in your community. Here's how: v/ @AmericaSaves #ASYW16
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