Born between 1982 and 2000, this generation is made up mostly of adults in their mid 20s and early 30s.
They are commonly perceived as entitled, in need of affirmation and technology-centered, preferring texting over other communication. In reality, they are open to change, confident in their decisions, self-expressive and the most educated generation in American history.
Since millennials came of age and entered the workforce at the height of the economic recession in 2008, many have an inherent distrust of Wall Street, the stock market and financial professionals1. For them, work is only a means to an end; balancing work and life is key. They grew up in a period of rapid technological innovation and expect to have technical solutions available for all aspects of their lives.
In the next decade or so, as they grow in their careers and age closer to retirement, this generation is going to be your main client. So understanding how to reach millennials now is, imperative for success tomorrow.
1. Build Trust
While independent and self-reliant with their finances, millennials still want to work with a trusted expert, but other than through parental guidance, they don’t know how to evaluate financial services companies and professionals. Recommendations, online and personal, are going to be the most important factor in their search for a financial partner so ensure they can find you easily. Have a dedicated page on your website and relevant social media channels (LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook) and showcase your positive reviews and testimonials from current clients. This will not only turn those current clients into brand advocates, but provide reassurance to millennials that they are making a solid choice that their peers recommend.
2. Provide Certainty
Millennials seem to be seeking control and certainty in what they perceive as an uncertain, even volatile economic world. Being risk-averse and having an innate drive to protect their finances, they gravitate toward savings with guaranteed rates of return. It’s important to work collaboratively with millennials, rather than for them. They want a partner to help them understand their options, but still want to have control of their choices.
3. Fee Transparency
Although millennials certainly want and need to talk to financial professionals, they typically pull back when cost is mentioned. According to a recent study, 52% of millennials are unlikely to work with a financial professional because they perceive that it costs too much. However, they place enough value on a personalized relationship with a professional that they would be willing to pay if they could. For the most part, millennials have no idea how financial professionals are paid. Providing a transparent explanation about fees is crucial to building a long-term relationship. Products and/or advice services that scale (and gradually increase) their cost based on income or asset level will appeal to them. Consider offering a free consultation or low-cost trial period so you can attract these clients and build confidence in your practice.
4. Life Stage Marketing, Not Generational Marketing
Recently, “millennial” has turned into a bad word that represents negative stereotypes – entitled, lazy, and narcissistic. Understandably insulted, many millennials reject the labels. However, one attribute of this generation that tends to apply to the majority is their commitment to individuality and belief that companies seeking their business should respect that and respond to it. Major life events, not age or generation, still trigger major financial decisions and the need for advice. Commercials with sun-kissed seniors enjoying retirement obviously won’t resonate with millennials saving for child care, a car or a home. Be attuned to your millennial clients’ evolving circumstances. Educate them on real generational saving shifts and challenges, such as defined contribution plans, Social Security and the economic impact of a “sandwich” generation life stage in which they could be caring for aging parents and small children while navigating their careers.
Use this research to reach out to millennials regarding their finances. They need the most support with investing and determining how best to save for retirement. Financial professionals should get to know these clients as individuals and work with them on a personal level. Millennials want their financial professional to be realistic, honest and straightforward in their recommendations.
Learn more about millennials’ financial mindset and how to engage them in retirement savings in our Engaging Millennials article.
1 Harvard Institute of Politics (2018). Survey of Young American’s Attitudes toward Politics and Public Service. Retrieved from http://iop.harvard.edu/spring-2018-poll