That’s right, Feed the Pig is a new national campaign of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Advertising Council is encouraging Americans age 25 – 34 to spend wisely and save for the future.
“People in this age group are involved in major life changes,’ said Carl George, chair of the National CPA Financial Literacy Commission. “They’re launching careers, buying homes, getting married and having children. All these events involve major expenses, which makes saving difficult, especially in a hard economic time like the one we’re now experiencing. But there are simple things they can do, such as paying more attention to how much they spend on discretionary items. Spending within your means is itself a form of saving.’
The new PSAs can be viewed at the campaign website, www.feedthepig.org, which features savings tips, interactive tools and viral components. Feed the Pig additionally employs new media, including:
- weekly e-mail savings tips,
- text messages, and
- Facebook and MySpace pages for Benjamin Bankes, the campaign icon that evokes childhood memories of the traditional piggy bank.
A new study commissioned by the AICPA indicates that between 1985 and 2005 (the most recent year for which statistics are available), the targeted age demographic saw its median debt skyrocket by 44%. For every dollar of assets, the study found, this group is carrying 70 cents in debt, more than double the amount carried by older age groups – a trend driven by easy access to credit, according to a press release.
The study, conducted by Christopher Thornberg, PhD, of Beacon Economics in Los Angeles, additionally found that the median net worth for this group declined by 31% during the same period, a figure that excludes the value of their homes. In contrast, the median net worth for Americans 35 – 64 grew by 28%.
The AICPA and the Ad Council originally launched Feed the Pig in 2006. The Ad Council says that individuals who have seen or heard a Feed the Pig PSA are more likely to change their financial behavior for the better. For example, 37% of individuals who have seen or heard the PSAs say saving for their future is more important than buying things they want now versus 20% that have not seen or heard an ad.
Feed the Pig serves as an extension of 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy (www.360financialliteracy.org), an effort by the CPA profession to educate Americans on how financial issues affect them at all life stages, beginning with childhood and extending through retirement.