I get it, I really do. Millennials are known for being this young and reckless generation who have no idea how to handle their finances. I constantly see online articles talking about how millennials have no money saved for retirement or how fewer millennials have bank accounts compared to previous generations. Just because this is a stereotype for people my age, that doesn’t mean it applies to all of us.
Growing up, I was always taught that keeping track of my expenses is one of the most important disciplines that I can do for my future. Having a father who does high level accounting forces you to be more concerned with your finances than the average millennial.
I became financially responsible because of what I learned as a kid from my dad. I opened my first checking and savings account at the age of 15 and by 16 I managed to have a couple hundred dollars in them. Every time I wanted to make a big purchase with my money, my dad asked, “Did you make a budget?” Having my dad force me to make a budget for my expenses has allowed me to become the money-conscious millennial that I am today.
Although my parents and I may know my finance IQ, that doesn’t particularly mean that my bank knows this as well. Unfortunately, I have been dropped into the large bucket of millennials that banks market towards, and since it can be a one-size-fits-all marketing approach, sometimes I feel overlooked.
If I had a chance to chat with my bank, here’s what I’d tell them:
Know your millennial.
Although I am not at the typical age for someone beginning to budget, that doesn’t mean I don’t have a use for it! Stereotyping a certain age group doesn’t allow you to connect with those who may be a little ahead of their time. So when you are thinking about marketing to a certain group, don’t box them into a category. Instead, market to the individual. Find out what you can do for them. If I were to act like everyone my age, I wouldn’t have been able to become a manager at the age of 19, or take 18 credit hours all while working two jobs.
Take time to understand my needs.
I have always been one to shoot for my highest goals and to never stop until I achieve them. I understand that kids my age are now getting credit cards and that because I have an income, that means I should get one too, but instead of telling me what I need, why isn’t anyone asking what I need?
I went to a branch of my bank the other day to deposit a check, I got the pleasant conversation asking: “What do you do? Where do you go to school? Do you have a credit card?”
At first I thought this was a pleasant conversation but soon realized the teller was really just trying to get a sale. This automatically made me feel like just another number and not an actual human being. I know that most of my banking is done on my mobile app now-a-days, but when I go into my local branch, I expect to not feel like just another sale. This is why personalized experience is so important to me.
Make managing my finances easier.
Having the possibility of a personalized experience is one of the things I find most fascinating about financial institutions. Instead of trying to offer me a credit card every time I walk in a branch, why don’t you ask if there is anything else you can do for me? Instead of having to create a budget each month on an excel spreadsheet, why can’t it just be connected to my account? I believe that banks could help me by providing me the ability to see my budget in real time by showing me which monthly amounts have been met and which haven’t, similar to a money manager app.
Stereotypes work to talk about a group of people. However, they don’t always work to market to a group of people.So try something new, call your millennials and ask about new financial events happening in their lives. Help me feel like more than just another number. Not one person is the same, so why treat millennials like they are? Providing a personal experience can allow your customers to feel heard, unique and special.
Carley is a content writer at Social Assurance.