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’

/ PRNewswire / — 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.
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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.

For more information about the survey, please contact Kristin Vincenzo kvincenzo@aicpa.org or Ellyn Fisher, efisher@adcouncil.org.

About the AICPA

The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) is the world’s largest member association representing the accounting profession, with more than 394,000 members in 128 countries and a 125-year heritage of serving the public interest. AICPA members represent many areas of practice, including business and industry, public practice, government, education and consulting.

The AICPA sets ethical standards for the profession and U.S. auditing standards for audits of private companies, nonprofit organizations, federal, state and local governments. It develops and grades the Uniform CPA Examination and offers specialty credentials for CPAs who concentrate on personal financial planning; fraud and forensics; business valuation; and information technology. Through a joint venture with the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), it has established the Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) designation to elevate management accounting globally.

The AICPA maintains offices in New York, Washington, DC, Durham, NC, and Ewing, NJ.

Media representatives are invited to visit the AICPA Press Center at aicpa.org/press.

About the Ad Council

The Ad Council (www.adcouncil.org) is a private, non-profit organization that marshals volunteer talent from the advertising and communications industries, the facilities of the media, and the resources of the business and non-profit communities to deliver critical messages to the American public. The Ad Council has produced, distributed and promoted thousands of public service campaigns on behalf of non-profit organizations and government agencies in issue areas of health & safety, community and education.

About kbs+

kirshenbaum bond senecal + partners (kbs+) is an integrated creative, advertising and marketing agency that is shifting the industry paradigm from innovation to invention. We are committed to inventing and creating the highest value ideas for our clients and for ourselves. Our team of passionate inventors and creative entrepreneurs is dedicated to doing things that matter and making things that matter. Today kbs+ serves a diverse roster of clients that includes American Express, BMW, HomeGoods, KAO Brands, Prestige Brands, Simmons Bedding Co. and Vanguard. For more information on kbs+, a member of the MDC Partners Network, please visit www.kbsp.com or follow us @kbsp_agency.

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Media Contacts:

AICPA
Kristin Vincenzo
kvincenzo@aicpa.org
212-596-6138

Ad Council
Ellyn Fisher
efisher@adcouncil.org
212-984-1964