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Where Are Households’ Financial Assets?

This paper evaluates how households allocate their financial assets, and develops the implications for credit union marketers.

  • William Kelly Center for Credit Union Research at University of Wisconsin-Madison

Executive Summary

This study set out to determine where consumers keep their financial assets, and to develop the implications of that distribution for credit union marketers. We used data from the Federal Reserve’s latest Survey of Consumer Finances, which is based on two-hour, in-home interviews with 4,305 households. The Fed’s database is unrivaled in scope, detail, and accuracy regarding consumer finances.

What is the research about?

Data for this research comes from an extensive survey of 4,305 households to examine how the level of households' financial assets affects their use of different types of financial products. These financial products include (1) checking accounts, (2) savings accounts, (3) money market funds in depository institutions, (4) money market mutual funds, (5) certificates of deposit, (6) mutual funds, (7) stocks, (8) bonds, (9) savings bonds, (10) retirement accounts, and (11) cash value of life insurance policies including annuities. 

What are the credit union implications?

The makeup of financial assets and recent usage trends vary too much among households to base marketing strategy on overall changes. Effective marketing requires developing strategies by group, based on total financial assets.