Understanding Youth and their Financial Needs

  • Date Posted: April 12, 2013
  • Authors: Youth and Financial Services Working Group
  • Organizations: The SEEP Network
  • Document Types: Evidence or Research, Evidence or Research, Evidence or Research
  • Donor Type: Foundation

The SEEP Youth and Financial Services (YaFS) Working Group brings together practitioners to exchange experiences and create opportunities for collaborative learning. From July to November 2011, the Working Group conducted industry research to understand the potential gaps in the availability of practitioner-oriented technical tools and knowledge about youth financial services. The assessment indicated a need to consolidate and interpret findings of market research associated with understanding youth financial behaviors in developing countries.

This understanding is crucial for financial service providers (FSPs) to offer appropriately designed services to young people and to scale the outreach of these services. However, in the process of conducting the assessment, it became clear that while many organizations had been collecting data on youth financial behaviors in various countries around the world, most of this data was either not published or was not easily accessible to the growing number of organizations seeking entry into this market.
To fill this critical gap, the SEEP YaFS Working Group collected and analyzed findings from recent market research studies of young people conducted in multiple countries. Understanding Youth and their Financial Needs presents a synthesis of these findings. It is derived from market data from youth-related programs in covering twenty-two countries. Additionally, experts from twelve practitioner organizations, members of SEEP’s YaFS working group, contributed in different capacities to the analysis and interpretation of these results for the broader industry.
The Understanding Youth and their Financial Needs publication provides deep insights into the financial decision-making behaviors of youth (e.g., spending, saving, and borrowing) at three different levels—the client level, market segmentation level, and institutional level—and shows how these behaviors can inform the design of financial and education support services. At the client level, the synthesis examines youth financial behaviors that are influenced by young people’s income flows, expected contributions to their families, and experience and perception of formal financial services. At the institutional level, it examines how different market segments (e.g., current life stage and/or age, gender, enrollment status, and geographic location) affect youth financial behaviors and consequently the design of both delivery mechanisms and products.
Insights into the money flow and financial behaviors of youth provide an important launching point for FSPs to design appropriate and sustainable youth-friendly products. They can also serve as a reference for policymakers seeking to develop, promote, or strengthen new or existing youth programs within their respective countries.