In Philadelphia, Most Young Adults Are Saving but Still Living at Home

Bank of America/USA TODAY Better Money Habits Report Also Shows Economic Issues Top Social Issues for Young Voters in the Area

Tuesday, October 11, 2016 11:05 am EDT

A newly released Bank of America/USA TODAY Better Money Habits® Report finds that 18- to 26-year-olds in the Philadelphia-Wilmington area are much more likely to be living at home with their parents than their peers across the country. Seventy-six percent are still living at home, while only 52 percent nationally are doing so.

In general, the group surveyed, which includes the youngest millennials as well as the oldest members of Generation Z, appears to need significant financial support. Specifically:

  • Only 55 percent of young adults in the Philadelphia area have a job vs. 66 percent nationally.

  • Just 38 percent pay their own cell phone bills vs. 44 percent nationally.

Nonetheless, 53 percent report that they are saving, even with one in three (35 percent) carrying student debt. And the majority (77 percent) feel somewhat or very optimistic about their financial futures.

“While many young adults here in the Philadelphia area are working hard to make ends meet, they’re still relying heavily on the support from others,” said Jim Dever, Philadelphia market president, Bank of America. “Even though many don’t think they’re making enough money, we can’t overemphasize the importance of saving and arming our young people with the right tools to achieve long-term financial success.”

The majority equate adulthood with financial independence

For young people in the Philadelphia area, the definition of adulthood has changed: it is less about age and more about financial independence. In fact, 62 percent did not feel like adults when they turned 18. When asked to define adulthood, the ability to “pay my own bills” was the top response. Additionally:

  • Fifty-one 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 graduating from high school/college (4 percent) or getting married/starting a family (2 percent).

  • For those who do feel like adults, 49 percent say it’s because they have a job.

  • Of those who do not feel like adults yet, the majority said it is because they do not make enough money.

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.

Young voters name taxes as top concern in the presidential election

With the campaigns in the home stretch, the report also surveyed young, first- and second-time voters in the Philadelphia area. The majority of young adults expect the upcoming election to impact their personal financial futures, and are heading to the polls with financial matters in mind:

  • Fifty-nine percent say economic issues are more important to them than social issues (40 percent) in how they vote.

  • Taxes rose to the top as their most important campaign issue – cited by nearly one in three (31 percent).

  • Among those with student debt, 79 percent say it will impact their 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 – the majority (81 percent) would prioritize what’s best for the country.

Nearly all wish they learned more about personal finance in school

While striving for financial independence, the majority of young adults in the Philadelphia 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 29 percent said their high school education did a good job teaching them strong financial habits. Of those who attended or are currently attending college, only 49 percent said their college education succeeded in imparting financial lessons.

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

  • Fifty-one percent wish they had learned how to do taxes.

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

  • Twenty-five percent wish they knew how to save for retirement.


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:
Trevor Koenig, Bank of America, 302.432.1150