Were you born between 1981 and 1997, and do you live in a household with investable assets of more than $100,000? If so, you are one of the 15.5 million US residents considered an Affluent Millennial. A recent survey conducted by Ipsos and LinkedIn gathered opinions and attitudes about financial services from your fellow Affluent Millennials — how they use financial services, what attracts them to particular services, and how they differ from Generation X (born between 1966 and 1980).
Financial service providers are intensely interested in the opinions of Affluent Millennials, since they will control enormous amounts of America's wealth over the next several years. Not only can they build their own wealth, they also will receive at least $59 trillion — yes, trillion — in generational transfers of wealth according to a report from the Boston College Center of Wealth and Philanthropy.
The survey revealed the following insights about Affluent Millennials:
Independent and Optimistic – Affluent Millennials understand the value of financial advisors, as 87% of respondents considered them important and 37% consider them a "must-have." Even so, Millennials prefer to do their own investment research and execute their own trades, assimilating the input of advisors and experts along the way. The survey refers to this attitude as "Guided Independence." They prefer complete control and ownership of their finances.
Loyal Yet Willing to Shop – Once Affluent Millennials choose their brands, they remain loyal to those brands. A whopping 94% of Affluent Millennials are either very loyal or somewhat loyal to their chosen financial institutions, with 47% identifying as "very loyal." However, they are willing to shop around to find those brands, as well as think outside the box and look at financial offerings from brands outside the typical finance industry. They are also open to technological advances such as near-field communication (NFC) mobile payment platforms like Apple Pay.
Ambitious – Affluent Millennials think big. They are three times more likely to strive to establish a charitable foundation and three times more likely to intend to start their own business. Again, control is important.
More Debt and More Savings – Affluent Millennials are not afraid of debt. While half of Affluent GenXers have at least one loan aside from a mortgage, two-thirds of Affluent Millennials do. However, Affluent Millennials also save more out of their paychecks. More than one-third of them put over 50% of their paycheck into savings. It appears that Affluent Millennials know how to control debt to use it to their advantage while managing to save.
Social Media Emphasis – If you have no social media presence, you simply cannot do business with the average Affluent Millennial. 90% of respondents said that social networks are important for financial content and advice, and 39% consider them as must-haves. Affluent Millennials look for social networks for financial advice, opinions, and product reviews. They also expect the ability to be able to communicate with their chosen companies via social media.
Purpose and Image – Affluent Millennials are attracted to companies that not only make money but also have visions and values that match their own. They seek to validate those opinions through social media networks, both personal and professional.
While Affluent Millennials are convinced that a financial crisis is coming, they are also more optimistic that economic growth will rebound and that the classic American Dream is still attainable. 72% believe that sacrifices made today will pay off in the future.
The only common thread in their request was for advice and content that is relevant to them personally. Thus, financial advisors who can provide tailored and sound advice via social media outlets will be extremely attractive to Affluent Millennials.
Financial advisors would be wise to make plans now and tailor their offerings toward the needs of Affluent Millennials. Wait too long, and they will pass you by. Now, we just need to figure out what a hashtag is….