Facts & Resources

Young Adults in Raleigh-Durham Are Saving for Long Term, but Need Short-Term Financial Help

Bank of America/USA TODAY Better Money Habits Report Shows Job Growth Tops List of Election Concerns

Tuesday, October 11, 2016 11:00 am EDT


"As we see that this generation has redefined adulthood to focus on their financial well-being, it’s important that we support them every step of the way while they learn the best financial practices possible."

A newly released Bank of America/USA TODAY Better Money Habits® Report finds that 18- to 26-year-olds in the Raleigh-Durham area are notably good at saving but having trouble making ends meet on their own right now.

Seventy-two percent report that they are saving for the future – a figure that is 14 percentage points higher than the national average and the highest of the 11 other markets surveyed. Yet, while planning for the long term, many of those in this age group, which includes the youngest millennials as well as the oldest members of Generation Z, are not financially independent just yet:

  • Thirty-seven percent still live at home with their parents.

  • Fifty-one percent pay their own cell phone bills.

  • Only 43 percent do their own taxes.

“It’s encouraging to see young adults here in the Raleigh-Durham area prioritize saving money for the future,” said Jamaal Livan, vice president, Global Banking and Markets, Bank of America. “As we see that this generation has redefined adulthood to focus on their financial well-being, it’s important that we support them every step of the way while they learn the best financial practices possible.”

The need for additional support and resources is what inspired Bank of America to partner with Khan Academy to create Better Money Habits, a free educational resource aimed at empowering people to be more confident in their financial decision-making. The site delivers easy-to-understand information on a wide range of personal finance topics, including retirement, taxes, and buying a home.

A new definition of adulthood: less about age, more about financial independence

While this age group feels that adulthood is more about money than reaching a certain age, 76 percent say they are optimistic about their financial prospects. Specifically,

  • When asked to define adulthood, “financial independence” was the top answer.

  • Forty-five percent define adulthood as having achieved a financial milestone such as buying a house or car, compared to having achieved traditional life milestones, such as getting married/starting a family (8 percent) or graduating from high school/college (7 percent).

For those who do not consider themselves to be adults, the vast majority (91 percent) say it is because they “do not make enough money.”

Nearly all wish they learned more about personal finance in school

While striving for financial independence, the majority of young adults in the Raleigh-Durham area say they did not learn enough about practical money matters in school. Though their education has set them up for success in other ways, only 33 percent said their high school education succeeded in teaching them strong financial habits. Of those who attended or are attending college, 47 percent said their college education did or has done a good job imparting financial lessons.

When asked what they wish they had learned more about in school, nearly all said personal finance, more so than any other life-readiness skill:

  • Forty-seven percent wish they had learned how to invest.

  • Forty percent wish they had learned how to do taxes.

  • Thirty-one percent wish they had learned how to prepare for a job interview.

As election approaches, job growth top concern among young voters

With the campaigns in the home stretch, the report also surveyed young, first- and second-time voters in Raleigh-Durham, where young adults expect the upcoming election to impact their personal financial futures, and are heading to the polls with financial matters in mind:

  • Eighty-five percent say their personal financial situation is important in determining the way they vote.

  • Asked which campaign issues matter most, 35 percent stated job growth/unemployment as their top concern.

  • Among those with student debt, 57 percent say it will impact the way they vote.

While concerned about their pocketbooks, if forced to choose between two candidates – one who is best for their personal finances and one who is best for the country – 84 percent would prioritize what’s best for the country.

About the Bank of America/USA TODAY Better Money Habits Report
Bank of America and USA TODAY commissioned a survey of 2,180 18- to 26-year-olds to explore their views on personal financial matters. The survey was conducted online, in both English and Spanish, during the period of July 1–July 21, 2016. Interviews were conducted by GfK Public Communications and Social Science, using GfK’s KnowledgePanel®, a statistically representative sample source used to yield results that are projectable to the American population. To qualify, respondents had to be 18 to 26 years old. The margin of sampling error for national data is +/- 3.5 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level. Margin of error for the state of Ohio and the Charlotte, N.C.; Columbia, S.C.; Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas; Detroit, Mich.; Philadelphia, Pa.; Wilmington, Del.; Phoenix, Ariz.; Seattle-Tacoma, Wash.; San Francisco, Calif.; Boston, Mass.; and Raleigh-Durham, N.C. DMA augments are higher than that of the national sample.

About Better Money Habits®
Bank of America has made a substantial commitment to address the need for better financial education by partnering with Khan Academy – a nonprofit with the mission of providing a free, world-class education to anyone, anywhere. Together, we’ve developed Better Money Habits®, a free, objective online financial resource that pairs Khan Academy’s expertise in online learning with the financial know-how of Bank of America. Better Money Habits® delivers simple, easy-to-understand information on a wide range of personal finance topics, including saving, budgeting, building credit, paying down debt, paying for college and buying a house.

About Bank of America Environmental, Social and Governance
At Bank of America, our focus on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors is critical to fulfilling our purpose of helping make people’s financial lives better. Our commitment to growing our business responsibly is embedded in every aspect of our company. It is demonstrated in the inclusive and supportive workplace we create for our employees, the responsible products and services we offer our customers, and the impact we help create around the world in helping local economies thrive. An important part of this work is forming strong partnerships across sectors – including community and environmental advocate groups, as well as nonprofits – in order to bring together our collective networks and expertise to achieve greater impact. Learn more at, and connect with us on Twitter at @BofA_News.

Reporters May Contact:
Jennifer Darwin, Bank of America, 980.683.2689