Financial Realities of Young Adults: Building a Financial Education Framework that is Relevant and Accessible

From November 12-14, 2008, NEFE brought together an eclectic mix of financial education leaders and young adult experts at Towson University’s Burkshire Marriott Conference Center near Baltimore, Maryland. The event drew attention to the financial realities of the nation’s young people between the ages of 18-34 and challenged participants to re-think financial education assumptions, messages, media, and attitudes about today’s young people transitioning to adulthood. The 63 symposium participants included researchers, educators, financial professionals, nonprofit leaders, sociologists, economists, military trainers, and advocates for the financial well-being of America’s young workers, taxpayers, families, college students and graduates.  Each was encouraged to share what they know about the financial realities of young adults. 

The gathering included presentations and panel discussions devoted to the developmental, economic, social, and political jungle transitioning adults must navigate as they pursue their futures in a world that is much different from that of their parents or grandparents. Sessions were salted with videos from focus groups NEFE conducted earlier in the fall to “put a face” on the eroding safety nets, burdensome debt, and variety of financial decisions competing for the limited resources—both time and money—of the nation’s emerging households.  

Breakout sessions provided an opportunity for small groups of participants to discuss specific profile segments and report on key financial education messages and research gaps. The symposium was a seminal event in the field of financial literacy—a first step—in understanding how Generations X and Y make decisions, who they trust, where they get their information, and what engages them to take both notice and action. 

To access materials from the symposium, click the links below:

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