Jun 05 2009

Reaching Generation Debt: New Products and Strategies


In Filene’s final CU Tomorrow brief we invite Anya Kamenetz, a staff writer at Fast Company magazine and the author of Generation Debt, to address the question: How can credit unions better serve young adults?

Included is Kamenetz’s take on the core financial issues facing young adults in America and how credit unions, as innovative member-owned cooperatives, can ease young adults into the financial mainstream while acting in their best interests.

Kamenetz notes that the millennial generation is simultaneously one of the most discussed and least understood generations on the American scene. This generation differs from the past because:

  • They carry unprecedented levels of student and consumer debt.
  • They face stagnating or declining income compared to their parents’ generation, are the largest and fastest-growing segment of the population without health insurance, and compared to older generations they lack access to pensions and other benefits.
  • This generation has little knowledge of financial management even as they navigate an increasingly complex financial world. They need help with the basics of savings, credit management, and budgeting

In response to these challenges, Kamenetz advocates that credit unions offer the following:

  • Low-cost credit products.
  • Responsible use of credit.
  • Helping young people start to save.
  • Educating the community with relevant topics and themes.
  • Simple and relevant financial planning tools.

Listen to an exclusive interview with the Pulitzer-nominated author Anya Kamenetz



Report Number 188