What Do Youth Savers Want? Results from Market Research in Four Countries

Learning about what youth want in savings accounts
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This paper summarizes common findings from market research conducted in Colombia, Ghana, Kenya, and Nepal on what youth want in a savings account. The research is part of the YouthSave project. The 2500 respondents in the study included youth aged 12-18, parents, teachers, and community leaders. The research shows that it is common for youth to obtain and manage money from at least the age of 12, contrary to widespread adult perceptions. The majority of youth respondents also reported that they are already saving money on their own although in small amounts over short time horizons through informal mechanisms. Conclusions include:

  • Prevalent savings practices fulfill some key youth needs and preferences related to saving, but they also leave youth and their money vulnerable in a number of ways;
  • Youth need to have a more secure alternative to their current informal mechanisms which facilitates longer-term asset accumulation while allowing access to savings in emergencies;
  • Most respondents have longer-term dreams and goals for both their money and themselves;
  • Appropriately designed, market-responsive youth savings accounts could encourage this forward-looking impulse and channel it into smart financial behavior.