|Message: Start Building Financial Security Now; New Report Shows This Group Faces Uncertain Future
NEW YORK -- The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Ad Council are launching a nationwide effort to encourage Americans aged 25 - 34 to "feed the pig" as a key step toward building a solid financial future for themselves and their families.
Feed the Pig(TM) is a national multi-media public-service announcement campaign sponsored by the AICPA and the Ad Council. Featuring Benjamin Bankes, a smartly dressed, adult-sized pig who evokes memories of the piggy bank, the campaign delivers a strong message about the importance and benefits of saving. A dedicated website, www.FeedthePig.org, provides free financial information and tools to help young "career builders" take control of their finances and build long-term financial security.
The campaign, which begins today, extends the reach of the award-winning 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy www.360financialliteracy.org), the CPA profession's national campaign that helps educate Americans on how financial issues affect them at the different stages of their lives, from childhood to retirement.
"For the first time since the Great Depression, Americans are spending more than they earn," said Jimmy Williamson, Chair of the AICPA Board of Directors. "Twenty-five to 34 year-olds face the toughest challenges, but also have the benefit of time to work toward lifelong financial security. Consequently, we are directing our efforts toward them."
A new AICPA-commissioned study by Dr. Christopher Thornberg and Dr. Jon Haveman, economists with Beacon Economics in Los Angeles, shows that Americans 25 - 34 are not saving enough. The number of people in this demographic maintaining an interest-bearing account or other savings instrument is declining, from 65 percent in 1985 to 55 percent in 2004. In addition, the group's median net worth has fallen dramatically: In 1985 was $6,788; by 2004 it was $3,746.
"It's vital that these young Americans hear, understand and act on the message we are conveying through Feed the Pig," Williamson said.
Carl George, Chairman of the AICPA's National CPA Financial Literacy Commission, said that adults in the 25 - 34 age group are in a milestone period of their lives "People in this demographic are getting married, having children, developing careers and buying homes," George said. "The financial decisions they make now will have a long-term impact. Working with the Ad Council, which has a legacy of creative, memorable public-service campaigns, we hope to change behaviors and help set our target audience on the right path."
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are approximately 40 million Americans in the 25 - 34 demographic.
"As a CPA, I'm pleased that the AICPA and the Ad Council have teamed up to promote saving in America," said David M. Walker, Comptroller General of the United States. "All Americans need to do a better job of planning, saving and investing for retirement, and the younger you are when you start, the better off you'll be. I hope the Feed the Pig campaign encourages all Americans, especially young people, to take control of their own finances."
"All Americans should make saving for the future a priority," said Dan Iannicola Jr., Deputy Assistant Secretary for Financial Education, U.S. Department of the Treasury. "Earlier this year, in the national strategy for financial literacy, the federal government challenged the private sector to join with us in our efforts to help Americans become more financially savvy. I'm pleased to see that the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants has answered our call to action with this new national campaign."
Feed the Pig is the Ad Council's latest campaign. Many of its previous efforts feature slogans that have become a part of the American vernacular, including "Only you can prevent forest fires" for the U.S. Forest Service and "A mind is a terrible thing to waste" for the United Negro College Fund.
"We are proud to partner with the AICPA to address this critical issue," said Peggy Conlon, Ad Council President and CEO. "I am confident that the media will generously support these important PSAs created by the talented team at Young & Rubicam."
Feed the Pig will employ a variety of media, including TV, radio, print, digital and outdoor advertising such as billboards and bus kiosks.
The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (www.aicpa.org) is the national, professional association of CPAs, with approximately 330,000 members, including CPAs in business and industry, public practice, government, and education. It sets ethical standards for the profession and U.S. auditing standards for audits of private companies; federal, state and local governments; and non-profit organizations. It also develops and grades the Uniform CPA Examination.
The Ad Council (www.adcouncil.org) is a private, non-profit organization that marshals volunteer talent from the advertising and communications industries, the facilities of the media, and the resources of the business and non-profit communities to deliver critical messages to the American public. The Ad Council has produced, distributed and promoted thousands of public service campaigns on behalf of non-profit organizations and government agencies in issue areas of health & safety, community and education.