Cover: Saving for the Future

Saving for the Future

Trends, Patterns and Decision-Making Processes Among Young Americans

Published Aug 9, 2012

by Sarah Outcault

Download eBook for Free

Full Document

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 4.2 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience.

Summary Only

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 0.2 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience.

This dissertation explores financial decision-making and outcomes among young adults in the United States in order to inform policies that promote saving and financial security. The study presents a five-phase conceptual model of the financial decision-making process and describes the influence of individual-level and environmental factors. Following the model, three empirical studies are presented. The first describes how financial portfolios have changed over the last five decades and finds that wealth, inequalities and financial risk have risen among young households. The second empirical study applies statistical and network analysis techniques to describe patterns in financial portfolios, finding that young households accumulate financial accounts in a particular order in accordance with emergence of financial needs over the life course. The third empirical study describes the process by which young adults save for the future, using data collected from a series of semi-structured interviews. Together, the findings of all three empirical studies suggest that despite large variations in outcome, the process by which young adults build their financial portfolios is largely the same.

Research conducted by

This document was submitted as a dissertation in June 2012 in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the doctoral degree in public policy analysis at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. The faculty committee that supervised and approved the dissertation consisted of Gery Ryan (Chair), Joanne Yoong, and Angela Hung.

This publication is part of the RAND dissertation series. Pardee RAND dissertations are produced by graduate fellows of the Pardee RAND Graduate School, the world's leading producer of Ph.D.'s in policy analysis. The dissertations are supervised, reviewed, and approved by a Pardee RAND faculty committee overseeing each dissertation.

This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit www.rand.org/pubs/permissions.

RAND is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.