Millennials, The Unknown Generation

Are You on the Same Wave Link As Them?

As Business owners and parents it is important to remember the future of our companies and of society are millennials. I try to take the opportunity to learn from them and see how their suggestions can fit into my business. Having two millennial children also helps me to see and process their different perspectives.  The blog entry below was written by Sara Howard, who is a copywriter in the financial industry and most importantly a millennial. Here’s her advice not only to financial advisors but to parents and grandparents as it relates to the way their generation views information. Read her input and see how you can translate her information and suggestions into your company and to dialogue with your millennial loved ones.

Sara says, “As a millennial, I find most of us do not know much about the financial world. We were not taught financial education in school the way Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, and Generation X were. I believe this lack of financial insight has left us in the dust, when it comes to our financial future.

We are comprised of 82 million individuals…who are just that. We are unique individuals! I have gone to a few financial conferences and sat through break-out sessions focusing on millennials. As I listened to the speakers, I found myself in disagreement with their suggestions and information. Yes, their statistics were spot on of course. As we all know, how can statistics be wrong? HAHA. There was a big disconnect between the speaker’s suggestions and how they viewed millennials vs. who we really are and how we view things, like the financial world.

Recently, I listened to a webinar on #Millennials: Connecting With the Next Generation. This webinar really stuck with me. For the first time, I truly resonated with what someone in the financial world was saying.  It was a millennial talking about millennials. Who truly knows our generation better than we do?

Many statistical and connection insights were discussed.  Millennials were born between 1980 and 1995 with some stipulation of it closing at 2000. We are the most diverse generation in terms of what experiences we had growing up, the economic times, the evolution of technology, and societal expectation. My generation is more than just the technology age.

Yes, we experienced the evolution of Apple- from computers all the way to the I-cloud.  But, we also experienced the assassination attempt of Ronald Reagan, the first woman appointed to the U.S. supreme court, the introduction of PC’s, the release of E.T., Michael Jackson’s Thriller, The first American Woman in Space- Sally Ride, “We Are the World”, DNA being used for the first time to convict criminals, the New York Stock Exchange’s “Black Monday”, fall of the Berlin Wall, Tiananmen Square, the largest art theft in history- Gardner Heist, Nelson Mandela’s freedom and presidency in South Africa, the collapse of the Soviet Union, Operation Desert Storm, the aftermath of the Rodney King verdict, End of the Cold War, the bombing of the World Trade center, the opening of the channel tunnel connecting France and Britain, eBay’s foundation, Million Man March in Washington, D.C., the release of the first Harry Potter book, the impeachment of President Clinton, Columbine, Virginia Tech, 9-11, the war that evolved after, and so much more.

I think many times people forget about the severity of events in our childhood.  We were also the generation that was raised being told we are going to change the world, unique, and one-in-a-million. So with this uniqueness what’s going on with us financially and what does this mean for your and our futures?

Luckily, I was raised by baby boomers and my mother drilled financial outlooks into my head. I was also raised to never settle, be independent, and to always do what I love. I find that to be true with many of my friends as well. Maybe, this is why millennials are constantly changing jobs and are unsatisfied with a generic life.

Out of the 82 million millennials, 5 million of them are millionaires. This makes up 23% of the millionaire population. 71% of millennials are investing, but only 22% do so through a financial advisor. Why is this, even though 44% of them are interested in improving their financial knowledge base?  Financial advisors, as well as many business owners, do not know how to connect with us! It’s time to connect with us and reel us in before it becomes too late.

By 2020, 50% of the American workforce will be millennials. By 2025, we will be 75% of the global workforce. How crazy is that?  It is exciting to see the impact we will have on the work world, but the impact we will have financially, personally and economically, is still unknown. In the webinar, there were three suggestions on how to connect with us.

  • Customize the experience. We are unique, so we love unique experience. Take the time to think outside the box. For instance if you know your potential client is vegan, have vegan bars in the office. Plan to meet with them out of the office in a coffee shop or cool location like a new small brewery.
  • Start with the basics. Explain concept to them and give them an introduction to who you are and what you do. We are looking for an education and information, but do not know how to find it. Use someone on your team that is relatable and reach out to millennials and talk to them. While, you may not get an instant client give them time because they will come back.
  • Understand how collaborative we are. We love to work with people and ask our friend or family for advice. We use collaboration in every facet including social media. I cannot stress enough how important social media is. She hits on this a bit and backs up what I’ve been saying for years. If you have no social presence you will never have the millennial following. When we hear about new ideas, news, trends, and people we hit the ground running on social. If they or you do not appear on social in a fun and engaging way for us to see, we will not think of it or you again! They will want to collaborate with you as long as you give them space to speak and get to know who you are. We will choose product or people based on what our friends think or have experienced.

I encourage you to think outside the box when it comes to gaining millennial business. Take advantage of our key characteristics and create a fun and engaging experience for us to interact with you or your product.”

Listening to the next generations is a great Financial Strategy For Life.  I think this also means we need to be connected with our world by Facebook at a minimum and likely Twitter and Instagram as well.  This will necessitate many of the non-millennials getting outside of their comfort zones!  There’s always something new to learn and the lessons seem to come at us more quickly each week.


Sara Howard

[email protected]

About Sara Seasholtz

Sara Seasholtz, CFP®, was voted one of "50 Most Influential Women in Charlotte" by The Mecklenburg Times in 2011, and has assisted her clients with their financial planning needs for over 40 years. Have a financial question? ASK SARA!


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