Summary of Panel Presentation on "This is Not Your Dad's Financial Plan

To give a broader perspective on the issues, Thursday mid-morning sessions featured two panels with the first titled “This is not your Dad’s Financial Plan—Financial Issues Facing Young Adults—Now and in the Future.”   Panel members shared how financial education must work within a new framework when young adults are balancing debt, complex housing decisions, nontraditional household lifestyles, and pressures to save for an uncertain future.

Lois Vitt, Founding Director, Institute for Socio-Financial Studies, emphasized the importance of looking at housing differently.   Home ownership has traditionally been a major factor in achieving the American Dream and can be as much an emotional decision as a financial one. However, she stressed financial educators need to present a variety of acceptable household options that fit with young adult financial realities; whether it be living with parents to build savings, sharing expenses with a roommate, renting an apartment or house, as well as purchasing a first home. 

Alberto Duarte, President and CEO of InCharge Education Foundation, talked about the low level of trust young people had in the political system and financial institutions. As an expert in financial issues for low and moderate military families, he emphasized the need for financial educators to avoid lecturing and judgments, developing communication that lets young people come to their own conclusions. They do not want to hear about “credit abstinence”.

Nancy Granovsky, Professor and Extension Family Economics Specialist for Texas A & M System, then shared her experiences working with young women in the Wi$eUp program. She described how Wi$eUp took a multifaceted outreach approach to empower women on financial issues while fitting into their busy lives. The program is a national- and community-supported model of combined online education and live workshops.