The nonprofit organization America Saves wanted to better understand the financial attitudes and habits of teenagers from low-income households as part of its program development. America Saves, a research-based campaign managed by the Consumer Federation of America, helps low- to moderate-income households save money, reduce debt, and build wealth.
Our experienced researchers were able to draw out their stories. They talked about the pride they took in having a job —and how it felt to buy new clothes. They told us about helping to pay for the family’s rent. We asked about their spending habits, borrowing money, having credit, mobile banking, when to start saving, and how to manage finances. We learned about their barriers to saving, daily temptations, and who they really trust with their money.
ANR designed a customized series of studies to explore what these teenagers knew about savings practices, financial organizations, and managing money. These were city kids who took public transportation to school and to jobs. They worked hard, but they struggled. They came from families that didn’t talk much about finances. To connect with this hard-to-reach audience, we worked with community organizations that support first-time workers to field a pool of candidates from Miami, Washington D.C., and Chicago.
In the end, we were able to identify and recommend specific information, tools, and planning that would influence this community. With our help, America Saves was able to avoid vague generalities about saving and craft a program that offers focused tools and practical methods to manage money.