How Millennials Learn About Personal Finance

As millions of Millennials graduate college and enter the “real world,” many are in need of solid financial advice. However, the younger generation seems to be going about personal finances very differently than their elders. This begs the question, where are Millennials turning for financial advice?

According to The Wall Street Journal, only 14% of Millennials seek the help of a financial planner compared to 40% of those in older generations. Meanwhile 41% of 20 to 30-somethings report asking their parents for advice instead. This reality speaks to the fact that many Millennials simply cannot afford to hire a financial planner as many are burdened by mounds of student debt. Additionally having grown up during the recession and lived through the 2008 banking crisis, these young adults are generally more wary of institutional finance than, say, Baby Boomers.

Knowing that they’ll need a new generation of clients to survive, some firms have come up with creative ways to attract Millennials and discuss financial issues with them. For example, MassMutual Financial Group has launched a program in Boston that they bill as a social club called Society of Grownups. These meetings include inexpensive (between $10-$40) classes and discussions with financial planners as well as networking meetups that are generally free. Attendees can also get one-on-one advice at rates of $20 for 20 minutes or $100 for 90 minutes.

One of the financial planners on hand, Karen Carr, says the question she gets most often from members is, “Am I going to be paying student loans until the day I die?” While paying off student debt is a top concern for Millennials, WSJ reports that many younger people tend to have far different financial goals than previous generations. In general these goals are more short-term and include things like finding more money in order to travel. Although many 20 and 30-somethings find saving, budgeting, and being debt free to be important goals, fewer seem to be interested in accumulating wealth or investing.

Finally Millennials are learning about personal finance from modern technologies. One of the top resources for young adults are podcasts — radio shows that can be downloaded or streamed on the go. Speaking of being on the move, personal finance mobile apps that remind users about their savings goals and other financial matters have been catching on and new applications seem to be cropping up all the time. Soon the American economy will be squarely in the hands of the Millennial generation. Their unique experiences ranging from living through the recession to growing up with technology have given them a different view of the world and on personal finance. Just as this newer generation is driving the adoption of FinTech and forcing banks to evolve,  financial advisers and investment firms will have to adjust their strategies in order to meet the needs and goals of Millennials down the road.


Jonathan Dyer

I'm a small town guy living in Los Angeles looking to make solid financial decisions. I write for a number of finance websites, including HuffingtonPost and Business2Community. I founded in 2015 to focus on personal finance and the emerging FinTech markets.

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