According to a new survey from the AICPA and the Ad Council, one in three millennials (34 percent) ranked saving as their number one goal for the year – in front of living a healthy lifestyle (20 percent), paying off debts (19 percent), and losing weight (14 percent). Despite this, a majority of millennials (65%) attributed their lack of saving to impulse buying.

The Ad Council survey was conducted online by LightSpeed Research in December 2015 with a sample of 500 young adults ages 24-35, from across the nation.

When millennials born between the early 1980’s and 90’s, were asked what they are saving money towards, answers included an emergency fund (40 percent), saving for retirement (22 percent) and starting a family (15 percent). They also reported saving for larger purchases such as a vacation (36 percent), a new house (27 percent), car (26 percent), home improvements (20 percent), or a wedding (8 percent).

To provide Americans aged 25 to 34 with the knowledge to take control of their personal finances, AICPA and the Ad Council’s national advertising campaign, Feed the Pig, is continuing to collaborate with new partners to deliver engaging and relevant content.

“Many young adults think saving is impossible,” stated Gregory Anton, chair of the AICPA’s National CPA Financial Literacy Commission. “While low salaries and high debt levels can certainly be barriers to saving, the key is to create a budget and stick to it. Establishing a disciplined saving strategy early in life and avoiding missteps will reap substantial long-term dividends.”

In addition to impulse buying and lack of budgeting, a significant majority of young adults say that their current salary (84 percent), having too many bills (81 percent), paying down debt (79 percent) and not establishing a personal budget (62 percent) are factors contributing to saving more of their income. Additionally, almost half (44 percent) of those surveyed did not pay their full credit card balance each month or borrowed money from friends or family. Forty-one percent had less than $100 in their checking account, thirty percent paid a late or overdraft fee, and twenty-three percent missed a bill payment.

Over half (55 percent) of the young adults surveyed admitted that they were impulse shoppers, defined as making an unplanned purchase of $30 or more on a daily or weekly basis. Impulse buyers are more likely than those who never or rarely make an impulse purchase to have carried a balance on their credit card (45 percent vs. 35 percent) and have paid a late or overdraft fee (31 percent vs. 21 percent). 

“The good news is that millennials are internalizing the message that saving is important,” said Ad Council president and CEO Lisa Sherman, in a statement. “With things like one-click payment, it’s become so easy to buy without really thinking about it. We’re excited about these new partnerships with Facebook, Games for Change and IFTTT which give people the power to become more efficient and develop new saving habits.”

The Feed the Pig website offers a range of interactive tools including calculators, podcasts and free subscriptions to weekly saving tips via email and text message to help foster positive saving habits.

To further address the spending and savings habits of millennials, the Feed the Pig campaign and a number of partners created resources to educate young adults about the importance of saving. Resources include:

  • Games for Change, a nonprofit that facilitates the creation and distribution of games that promote social impact. The Feed the Pig Game Design Challenge will award a prize of $10,000 for a digital game concept that engages young Americans to think differently about saving.
  • IFTTT, an integration tool that uses social media to create automated posts that help consumers curb their impulse purchases and stick to their savings goals.
  • Upworthy, a storytelling platform with stories highlighting key topics including credit cards, taxes and saving for retirement.
  • Content marketing company Truffle Pig  on recently launched channels on Snapchat and Instagram.

For more information, visit FeedthePig's site here.