17% of Young Adults Check Bank Accounts Daily

April 25, 2012 /

Three times as many young adults check their social media accounts daily as check their bank accounts, according to the results of a national telephone survey conducted for the American Institute of CPAs by Harris Interactive in recognition of National Financial Literacy Month.

According to the survey, more than half, or 54 percent, of 18- to 34-year-olds check their social media accounts at least once a day – 7.5 times on average — while just 17 percent check their bank accounts daily. Those that check their bank accounts daily do so 3 times on average, the survey found.

“The first rule of personal finance: ‘Be informed,’ ” said Jordan Amin, chair of the National CPA Financial Literacy Commission. “It’s easier than ever to spend — and it’s just as easy to monitor your spending. In particular, young adults, who often have less in savings and large expenses as they begin careers and families, should check their bank accounts regularly to verify that transactions are processed correctly and ensure they’re on track to meet financial goals.”

Here are four tips from the National CPA Financial Literacy Commission on checking your finances:

Plan “Financial Fridays.” Each Friday, stop by an ATM, log into your bank account or call your financial institution to verify your balances and the accuracy of your transactions. This will give you a more informed start to the weekend, when you’re more likely to have discretionary purchases. If you check in on the Internet, though, be sure to do so from your home – secured – network. And don’t save financial passwords on your computer or mobile device. While it’s important to stay on top of finances, you don’t want a security breach.

Check your financial status. Make a deal with yourself, when checking your friends’ social media status, take the time to check your financial status as well. Once a day check your bank account register online or by phone to verify the accuracy of your transactions. This will help you spot any looming problems or discrepancies faster.

Set up text alerts with banks and credit card companies. When your balances reach pre-determined thresholds, you’ll get an automatic reminder to check in.

Set a recurring reminder. Use your calendar to remind you to check your retirement and other long-term financial planning accounts quarterly. You want to keep an eye on the performance of your portfolio to ensure you’re moving toward your long-term financial goals.

The AICPA, in partnership with the Ad Council, has the financial education program, Feed the Pig, specifically for young adults aged 25 to 34. The centerpiece of the program is a Web site, www.feedthepig.org, with free tips and tools to help young adults create budgets, boost savings and navigate complex financial decisions.

Public service announcements featuring iconic spokespig Benjamin Bankes also air on TV and radio stations nationwide to help young adults gain a firmer financial footing. The program also offers weekly tips by email or text.

To sign up, visit www.feedthepig.org/savingstips.

Since 2007, the AICPA has conducted an annual survey of Americans to determine their top financial concerns and assess their financial well-being. Additional findings from this survey include:

One third, or 34 percent, of 35-44 year olds check social media accounts at least once per day.

A quarter of seniors aged 65 and older and adults with a high school education or less never check their bank account balances.

Four in 10 adults report that they never check their retirement account balances.

More than half of Americans — 56 percent of Americans — believe that technology has made it easier to spend money and only 3 percent say it has made it easier to save. Thirty-seven percent are split on the issue, saying technology has made it easier to both spend and save.

If facing a financial crunch, Americans would rather change what they eat than give up their cell phones, downloads or digital TV services. Asked to choose the one action they would most likely take in tight time, 41 percent said they would cut back on eating out, 20 percent said they would cut off cable TV, 8 percent said they would end cell phone service and 8 percent said they would stop downloading songs and digital products.


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