Evaluation Scotland Wales

Only around one third of young adults plan to save money

Youth and students

Research by the University of Edinburgh published in 2016 indicates that young adults fall into three planning profiles of broadly equal measure: Planners, Dreamers and Drifters.

  • Planners have goals and plans to meet them, including for saving
  • Dreamers have goals but no plan
  • Drifters have neither goals nor plans.

Lived experience and levels of confidence seem to matter more than age or income – so Drifters, for example, tend to rely on their parents far more and for longer. Planning horizons are generally short term, “save to spend”, even for Planners, since young adults are having to deal with day-to-day pressures alongside thinking about the future. Lack of engagement and trust with formal advice and guidance channels remains a barrier.

How this site can help you

Our resources - such as surveys, research and reports - can help you if your job requires you to support the financial capability needs of young adults.

Resources are relevant for young adults and students from all backgrounds who are:

  • school leavers transitioning into financial independence, for example as they enter and complete tertiary education as college or university students
  • transitioning into the workplace, either straight from school, as a graduate, trainee or apprentice – and/or after having had to claim Universal Credit or other benefits.
  • planning independent living.

Browse research, events and young adult steering group resources

Learn more about the Financial Capability Strategy for young adults

Measure the success of your work

Students in higher education

To help you design and evaluate your support activities for higher education students, we have produced research on their financial needs and attitudes. Read the report on student financial capability to see the five segments of the student population that we identified.

16 to 24 year olds

To help you design and evaluate your support activities more broadly for young adults aged 16 to 24 from all backgrounds, download our practitioner toolkit in English or in Welshopens in new window. We will also publish two evaluation outcomes frameworks in future.