Publication Date



We propose that asset accumulation occurs in three stages. In the first stage (reallocation), current resource inflows must exceed current outflows. To meet this objective, people reallocate resources from current consumption, current leisure, or future consumption or leisure. In the second stage (conversion), people may convert resources from liquid to illiquid forms. In the third stage (maintenance), individuals resist temptations to dissave. We suggest that people adopt psychological and behavioral strategies to achieve each of these objectives. Putting the two types of strategies together with the three stages of asset accumulation results in six strategy groups. We provide examples of each strategy group and discuss implications related to encouraging account ownership among the unbanked, improving asset-accumulation programs, and improving financial-education curricula.

Document Type

Working Paper


Financial Inclusion


Asset Building


Subsequent publication: Beverly, S. G., Moore, A., & Schreiner, M. (2003). A framework of asset accumulation stages and strategies. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 24(2), 143–156. doi:10.1023/A:1023662823816

Original Citation

Beverly, S. G., Moore, A., & Schreiner, M. (2001). A framework of asset-accumulation stages and strategies (CSD Working Paper No. 01-1). St. Louis, MO: Washington University, Center for Social Development.


saving, financial services, financial education, unbanked, asset accumulation, theory