Engaging Early-Career Workers in their Financial Well-Being

October 2013
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Summary

On September 20, 2013, the TIAA-CREF Institute convened an expert symposium to examine Gen Y financial engagement. Generation Y is the largest generation in U.S. history. Financial decisionmaking by Gen Y and the state of their personal finances have significant implications for the individuals themselves and for the U.S. economy overall. It’s therefore important to understand Gen Y’s personal finances This can then help identify strategies to better engage Gen Y in managing their personal finances to ensure financial well-being. Gen Y is engaged in personal finances, but not always well engaged. They own homes, cars, investments and retirement accounts. They have debt and often carry credit card balances from month to month. They think that they are doing a good job of managing their day-to-day finances, but many find it challenging to make ends meet in a typical month. Their financial literacy level is low, while they think it’s high. They experienced the recession while entering the job market or early in their work lives. They are tech savvy, digitally connected and socially engaged. They trust the influence of peers and family. Engaging Gen Y in developing better personal financial behaviors means listening, understanding and then meeting them where they are. They don’t want to be told what to do, but they do want guidance that enables them to determine what is in their best interest to do. And then they want the tools to take action accordingly. Gen Y peer-to-peer engagement regarding personal finances through social media will develop recognition, interest and knowledge, and ultimately lead to action. Those conversations need to be seeded with relevant information that will lead to positive behavior changes.