Millennial myth-busting

They are tech savvy, socially conscious and entrepreneurial. They’re happy to choose the alternative over mainstream. And they place the most faith in word-of-mouth recommendations when making buying decisions. They are, of course, Millennials.

This wouldn’t have been news to you given Millennials have been one of the most discussed topics in recent years. In fact, there has been so much hype and noise around Millennials that you may be feeling a tad bewildered and unsure of what to make of all this information. There is a technical name for this – cognitive overload.

According to neuroscientists, when our brains are overloaded with too much information it becomes more difficult to sort vital information from trivial information. One of the best ways to deal with cognitive overload is to separate fact from fiction. Let’s make a start on this by busting three big millennial myths.

Myth: Millennials are young

Many people seem to confuse the term Millennials with young people. The mere mention of the term conjures up a picture of young, carefree people without any financial goals.

This impression couldn’t be further from the truth. The oldest Millennials are now in their thirties. Many of these Millennials are in the workforce, getting married, starting families – events that have long been a trigger for financial advice.

In fact, Millennials will soon make up over half of the workforce and stand to inherit a vast proportion of today’s wealth. As adults coming into their prime, Millennials provide significantly more immediate opportunity than most financial advisers realise.

Myth: Millennials are nothing like previous generations

There’s no denying that Millennials differ from previous generations in many ways. This isn’t surprising when you think about the world they grew up in – the internet, rapid computing advancements, and major financial events such as the GFC to name a few.  These experiences led to some discernible behavioural and attitudinal differences.

There is one area, however, where their needs are much the same. Finances. Just like the generations that came before them, Millennials need to save for their future, manage debt and protect their assets or loved ones. The financial challenges they face may not be exactly the same, but the need for objective and professional advice is.

Myth: Millennials only want to engage digitally

As ‘digital natives’, Millennials have no qualms whatsoever about communicating or conducting business online. In fact you could argue they prefer it.

But when it comes to financial advice Millennials are comfortable to go with tradition. A number of research studies have found that Millennials value face-to-face meetings for financial advice.

A likely explanation for this is because personal interactions are so important in building trust and rapport. And technology is simply no substitute for speaking with someone face-to-face. So having a state-of-the-art digital experience isn’t the be-all and end-all that some people make it out to be.

This doesn’t mean you should disregard the importance of a digital experience completely. Millennials expect some kind of digital experience. But it doesn’t have to be complicated. Look for ways to enhance your advice with technology and introduce these over time. This may anything from online appointment booking with SMS reminders, sharing snippets of relevant information via your website or social media right through to financial aggregation software that captures a client’s complete financial picture and tracks their spending habits.

The end point is simply this. Focus on what your customers really want – a personal relationship with a trustworthy, professional adviser – and your business will flourish well into the future.

The information contained in this newsletter is provided on behalf of the IOOF group of companies and is intended for financial adviser use only. It is given in good faith and has been prepared based on information that is believed to be accurate and reliable at the time of publication. Any examples are for illustration purposes only and are based on the continuance of present laws and our interpretation of them at the time.