Center on Assets, Education, and Inclusion

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A central hypothesis of Child Development Accounts (CDA) suggests that savings accounts in childhood lay a foundation for connecting to mainstream banking institutions and diversifying asset portfolios in young adulthood and beyond. While children may have limited savings to invest initially, they are financial actors who may increasingly invest money into different types of savings products over time. This paper uses propensity score weighted, longitudinal data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics and its supplements to examine the types of financial and nonfinancial assets owned by young adults and whether or not they are more likely to own these assets when they have savings accounts as children. The most commonly owned assets in young adulthood included savings accounts (89%), vehicles (54%) and credit cards (51%). Smaller percentages owned stocks (9%), bonds (6%), and homes (8%). On average, young adults owned two to three different assets. Having savings accounts in childhood was associated with being two times more likely to own savings accounts, two times more likely to own credit cards, and four times more likely to own stocks in young adulthood, compared to not having savings accounts in childhood. Young adults' ownership of more total financial assets was also associated with having savings accounts in childhood. Findings provide some supporting evidence of demand for children's savings accounts. Policy endeavors that remove barriers to account ownership may be advantageous for children and mainstream banks.


Friedline, T., & Elliott, W. (2013). Connections with banking institutions and diverse asset portfolios in young adulthood: Children as potential future investors. Children and Youth Services Review, 35(6), 994-1006.

Children's Savings Account / Financial Inclusion Journal Article Year 2013