Have you ever been out with friends and they nonchalantly tell you that they just got a new car, are buying a house, planning a fancy wedding, are taking a trip, have paid off their loans or have begun saving for their child’s college education?
And then you get a sinking feeling and wonder: “How do they do that?” Or: “What am I doing wrong?”
According to the research the Ad Council conducted on behalf of our new Financial Literacy campaign sponsored by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), many adults do all of the above. And young adults in particular use these tactics to help understand whether or not they are ahead, on-par or financially falling behind their friends.
Between the ages of 25 – 34 there is so much change that occurs — being single, getting married, finding a career, furthering educational goals, building a home and having children. It is really difficult to feel like you can ever get your feet on the ground. Yet young adulthood is such an important time to establish positive saving and spending habits. Unfortunately, many young adults delay saving money now for their future which puts them at risk for financial disaster later.
Our new Financial Literacy PSA campaign attempts to address this problem by leveraging young adults’ tendency to compare their own financial situation to that of their friends. The TV PSAs use humor to poke fun at over-spenders who are baffled when their friends tell them they just paid off their loans, maxed out their 401k retirement fund or put a down payment on a home. The print and outdoor ads specifically address many attitudes young adults have about saving for their future.
All the ads direct people to FeedthePig.org, our new and improved website, which provide tips and tools to help people plan and manage their finances. The redesigned site includes a new feature that allows people to identify their savings goals, and then provides them with short, mid and long-term actions they can take to achieve them. We also updated the content, adding more money management articles and more personal finance calculators.
The goal of all our messages is to speak in a tone that young adults will understand and want to pay attention to. We attempted to use the natural fear of falling behind to reframe the idea of “keeping up with the Jones” so that it now includes saving money. We hope that this approach encourages young adults to think differently about their current spending and saving habits so that they will ultimately get on a path to financial security.
Soon enough, you too could become one of those people who make others wonder: “How do they do it?”