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Fourth Quarter 2014, 
Vol. 96, No. 4
Posted 2014-12-15

Asset Holdings of Young Households: Trends and Patterns

by Ellen A. Merry and Logan Thomas

The authors use multiple waves of the triennial Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF) from 1989 to 2013 to examine the composition of the asset portfolios of young households whose head of household is between 18 and 41 years of age. The focus is on households’ decisions to hold different types of assets, including both financial assets (e.g., bank accounts, stocks, and retirement accounts) and nonfinancial assets (e.g., residential real estate, businesses, and automobiles). The authors describe the patterns of acquisition of broad asset categories in the early part of the life cycle with attention to patterns that appear to have changed over time and explore how the propensity to hold different types of assets varies across households.