I am millennial, hear me whimperRSS icon

Written by Adam Jones, Guest Blogger on Wednesday 2 December 2015

Having heard plenty of talk about millennials recently, and been at a number of conferences which have tried to pull apart their needs, I have a confession to make.

I am a millennial.

That’s right, you heard me. I am one of those mythical beasts of which all marketers seem to wax lyrical.

I like bands you have never heard of and I listen to them on vinyl through enormous headphones. I drink stupidly priced but delicious coffee in shops with monosyllabic names. 

I have a passion for social justice, a penchant for collaborative working and a proclivity for transparency and openness. I even wear the odd ironic cardigan. After all, it pays not to take oneself too seriously. 

Of course, all of the above might be nothing to do with being a millennial. As Mark Ritson, Marketing Consultant points out, it might just be a case of “Being Young”. That said, my generation does have the misfortune of two specific economic pressures.

  1. I started my working life surrounded by an already over inflated housing market
  2. I will never retire. I have precisely £0 in defined benefit pensions and the idea that the state pension will be worth any more than a sixpence is today by the time I get there is frankly unlikely.

As a result of this, I will be managing my money in a very different way to the generations that have come before me. I’ll be making the most of my employers pension, but aside from that, I am probably going to have to try and accumulate some private wealth of my own over the next 30 years to help me through whatever passes for retirement.

The interesting thing for me, working as I do in the ‘wealth’ space (the irony is fully appreciated!), is that there are very few propositions that really resonate with me. Honourable mentions here to Fidelity who get that I need something cheap, and Nutmeg who get that I need something easy.

Aside from that though, there are some very odd assumptions which keep cropping up when I talk to proposition designers:

The expectation that I wish to acquire further knowledge about investments. I don’t have the time or the inclination to do this.

That I should be excited by the concept of investing. I’m not. It is marginally more exciting than my tax return. Marginally.

That I want to shop around for a cheap deal. The last thing I need is another relationship with another product provider that I have to remember. I’ll part with more cash in return for convenience 

What I actually want is a proposition which does the best thing for my simple needs without me having to engage with it. I want to know that a provider is working for me and not taking up my time as part of it. I want an investment solution which sits alongside my banking, employer pension, cash savings and debts and does the most sensible and tax efficient thing for me. A solution which engages with me when it needs something from me, and gets on with it the rest of the time.

As a millennial, I am far past the point of being impressed by technology, and instead, I am only impressed when it is used in ways that are genuinely useful. Financial services proposition designers would do well to remember this.

At some point, I’m pretty sure someone is going to come up with a solution which will cover my needs for the decades to come. Until then though, I’ll go back to Instagraming my flat white, turning up my chinos and listening to The Joy Formidable. I’m pretty sure that’s what ‘my sort’ are supposed to be doing with their spare time.

p.s. Don’t get me started on what a nonsense designing a proposition for ‘a millennial’ is. As a ‘millennial’ I recognise that customer segmentation approaches are a load of nonsense.


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