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Savings from ages 16 to 35: A test to inform Child Development Account policy

Friedline, Terri
Nam, Ilsung
Children's Savings Account
Financial Inclusion
Publication type: 
Journal Article

This study examines savings from childhood to young adulthood with a sample of 14,223 individuals from the 1996 Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP). We employed a cohort sequential accelerated latent growth model that combined a series of cohorts to represent a common developmental trajectory spanning 19 years—ages 16–35—and accounted for relevant covariates. Descriptively, the proportions of savings account ownership increased steadily between ages 16 and 30 and then leveled off. In other words, a critical time for intervention may occur between ages 16 and 30 when the proportion of account ownership is increasing. Proportions of savings accumulation also rose steadily, with a mean low of $636 between ages 16 and 20 to a mean high of $1,160 between ages 31 and 35. Gender, race, employment status, and household income and net worth were associated with initial variability in savings at ages 16–20 and rate of change in savings over time through age 35. Results can inform policies and programs that open savings accounts for children as a way of helping them remain financially secure across their life course.


Friedline, T., & Nam, I. (2014). Savings from ages 16 to 35: A test to inform Child Development Account policy. Poverty & Public Policy, 6(1), 46–70. 

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