New Survey Finds Millennials Rely on Friends' Financial Habits to Determine Their Own 

    AICPA and Ad Council release results of national survey as they launch new ads and website encouraging young adults to ‘feed the pig’   
    Published October 30, 2013

    Contacts: AICPA, Kristin Vincenzo, 212-596-6138, kvincenzo@aicpa.org, Ad Council, Ellyn Fisher, efisher@adcouncil.org, 212-984-1964 

    New York (October 30, 2013)
    – Doing alright financially? The answer, if you’re 25 to 34 years old, depends on your friends, according to a new survey from the American Institute of CPAs and the Ad Council. They released the results today to coincide with a new series of national public service advertisements and a redesigned website for their Feed the Pig financial literacy campaign.

    The national poll found that three quarters of young adults, or 78 percent, use their friends’ financial habits to determine their own. The vast majority, 66 percent, wants to keep pace with their peers on where they live; 64 percent say the same thing about what they wear. Nearly two-thirds experience pressure to keep up with the types of places they eat and the gadgets they carry.

    At the same time, in the past year alone, almost half of those in the age group had to use a credit card to pay for necessities like food or utilities and more than a quarter missed a bill payment or were contacted by a bill collector. Sixty-one percent still get financial help from their family.

    “As the old saying goes: Be careful about the company you keep,” said Ernie Almonte, CPA, chair of the AICPA’s National Financial Literacy Commission. “Many young adults are building financial foundations with the wrong blueprints. They need to make sure they’re modeling the best behavior for their long-term financial stability.”

    The new series of PSAs, developed pro bono by kirshenbaum, bond, senecal + partners (kbs+), taps into millennials’ desire for belonging and its impact on their financial well-being in a light-hearted way.  The PSAs are designed to remind this demographic that they need to forge their own path to financial security. The television PSAs feature scenes of over-the-top spending contrasted by financial achievement. In one ad, for instance, a college graduate celebrates paying off her student debt while a friend, lounging in a formal dress, surrounded by designer shoes and feeding a pet horse, complains that she can never save enough money to get ahead. Earlier this summer, the campaign released print, outdoor, radio and digital PSAs, urging viewers, “When it comes to financial stability, don’t get left behind.”

    “Young adults are in the midst of making critical financial decisions about family and careers and are establishing the spending and saving patterns that often last throughout their lives,” added Peggy Conlon, president and CEO of the Ad Council. “Our new PSAs tap into the insight that this generation is strongly influenced by their peers when it comes to lifestyle purchases, but our goal is to extend that peer pressure to also include saving for the future.”

    The PSAs direct viewers to www.feedthepig.org, which was relaunched this month. In addition to a myriad of money management tips and tools, the new website features personal finance calculators and short-, mid-, and long-term action plans for achieving goals like buying a house, starting a family or paying off debt. The campaign also directs young adults to Facebook and Twitter to ask questions and engage with financial experts.

    “The AICPA cares about the financial literacy of 25 to 34 year olds and they wanted to communicate to them that understanding your finances is crucial at a young age. To do this, the AICPA, the Ad Council and kbs+ created a campaign that humorously brings to life the poor financial decisions that many young adults make every day,” added Will Bright, kbs+ creative director.

    The AICPA and the Ad Council first launched the Feed the Pig financial literacy campaign in 2006. To date, the campaign has received over $277 million in donated media support. Per the Ad Council’s model, the new series of PSAs will be distributed to over 33,000 networks nationwide and continue to run in airtime and space donated by the media.  

    The AICPA and the Ad Council commissioned the new nationwide online survey earlier this month of employed adults between the ages of 25 to 34. It was administered by the Ad Council, conducted by LightSpeed Research and reached a representative sample of men and women. The survey also found:

    ·         For 70 percent, financial stability means paying all the bills each month.

    ·         Women feel more financially stable than men.

    ·         Men find it more important than women to keep up with their friends.




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