Written by Loic Jeanjean on December 06, 2017
Millennials get a bad rap. The media loves to paint an entire generation of people as lazy, uninspired and frivolous with spending - who simply choose to waste their hard earned money on avocado toast instead of investing in their first home.
The truth is, generalizing about an entire generation can be more harmful than helpful, especially for financial professionals. The economic climate is unstable, and frankly scary. More than ever, people in this demographic are looking for financial literacy and trusted - key word’s trusted - financial professionals.
It’s so important to understand that, “Millennials are the first generation to grow up completely in a technological era, so it makes sense that these digital natives have created a “must have it now” mentality.” [Millennial Marketing] And not only that, millennials lived through 2008, a time where many people lost their jobs, housing, and long-time investments. Forbes breaks it down,
"Coming of age and entering the workforce in 2008 at the peak of the Great Recession drastically affected the Millennial perception of money management. According to Bank of America’s Year-end Millennial Snapshot, 49% of Millennials claimed that the Great Recession changed the way they think about saving, investing and spending their money. Millennials witnessed the shift from prosperity to disparity and therefore have become incredibly pragmatic. The good news, however, is that Millennials as a whole are incredibly optimistic. They know the harsh realities of financial irresponsibility and yet are confident in themselves to not make the same mistakes they witnessed in 2008." [Forbes]
At some 80 million strong, their sheer size makes this a group that many financial advisers and financial advisory firms will want to court as clients. Technology is the bridge between these financial pros and this elusive generation.
Identify the apps your clients are using
There’s an app for everything, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that so many young professionals are turning to the App Store for financial services help. Digit and Qapital are great examples of apps that assist in automating savings. Most credit unions and banks have an app to with everything from tracking spending to investing. Investopedia has a great explanation of the four most popular, and powerful, personal finance apps, including disruptors like Mint. The key is educating yourself about what your ideal client is already using so you can advise and enhance their financial planning.
Increase your digital footprint
The days when people found phone numbers in the white pages, or did their banking at a neighborhood branch are gone. The internet has expanded the world of financial advising to make financial literacy only a click away, but has also created a shadow of doubt, because as we all know, not everything you read on the web is true. In order to connect with millennials, the key is to have a strong - re: credible - presence on the internet. In this search-first world, not being easy to find is a major risk for firms and financial professionals. So, start with a website that’s mobile friendly, modern and simple to use. Make sure your business is listed on Google, and have your address and contact information at the forefront. All these steps will add to your credibility on the web and beyond.
Finally, View Technology as the Ultimate Resource
Technology should be used as a way to empower millennials, not deter them from entering the financial markets. "Young adults are defining new relationships with brands in the financial sector. Rather than trusting someone else with important financial decisions, they are more invested in finding the answers and right moves on their own with support from the professionals. Especially as Millennials are entering the workforce and beginning to consider major investments like home ownership, information about credit and savings are of high value. However, they do not want to be told they are doing everything wrong. They want the resources to the make the right decisions on their own." [Forbes]
At the end of the day, financial professionals and firms have an opportunity to genuinely connect with millennials through tech. With the combination of credible information, and engaging content, the financial industry has a chance to engage, empower and inspire an entire generation of young people, who at the end of the day, just want to learn more.