Five Myths About Generation Y

Sunday, September 30, 2012 02:53
Five Myths About Generation Y

Tags: Advisor businesses | client acquisition | client service | investor behavior | marketing | new investors

A number of recent articles claim to provide insight on Generation Y.  Yet, many of the assumptions are slanted at best and may actually be completely untrue.  Advisors can be successful in attracting and serving this generation by sincerely understanding their needs and perspectives.  So, based on actual interviews, let’s debunk five myths about “Gen Y.”

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1.  Gen Y seeks instant gratification and, thus, it is difficult for them to accept a long-term investment strategy.
Generation Y knows that it is possible to become a millionaire, but they understand the difference between reality and wishful thinking. They have witnessed bank failures, Wall Street scandals, mass unemployment and market volatility.  Gen Y prefers a solid, diversified investment strategy designed to build wealth over time.
2.  Gen Y’s sense of entitlement has let them to be lazy, without the strong work ethic of previous generations.
Generation Y feels that they are disparaged because their schooling and “launch money” was funded by their hard-working parents.  With this good start in life, they are anxious to be successful but face a declining job market with limited opportunities.  They’ve also seen their parents devoted to careers, neglecting a life outside of work, and without an identity at retirement.  Gen Y wants balance; they want to work to live rather than live to work.
3.  Gen Y wants high-tech communications with attractive animations and videos.   They prefer text messages and emails vs. phone calls and “snail mail.”
It is true that Gen Y utilizes technology more than any other generation.  However, they are also highly educated, so substance should not take a backseat to form.  Gen Y wants quickly accessible high quality information.  This means secure portals, client-only web info, and email communications.  They don’t like phone calls – or worse, voicemails.  They also don’t want their professionals communicating by text; that is reserved for friends only.
4.  Gen Y will choose an advisor based on website appeal and age.
An unattractive, basic website will be a turn-off to Generation Y.  But they don’t make decisions based on a pretty website.   They want an advisor with experience who treats them with respect.  They will look at experience, qualifications and an emphasis on more than money.  Gen Y wants a well-rounded advisor who gives back to the community and has outside interests.  They want someone with their values, not necessarily someone who is the same age.
5.  Advisors cannot profitably serve Gen Y.
Advisors cannot profitably serve Gen Y using the same service model as they do for their parents.  For the most part, Gen Y will have less money than their parents.  Only advisors with streamlined, efficient processes and standardized, automated operations will be able to successfully provide profitable quality advice to Gen Y.

Comments (1)

At first, I thought you were making sweeping generalizations about specific behaviors based solely on personally observation, and doubted the validity. But you have articulated well-reasoned observations here.

I think you nailed it with Gen Y's tech preferences. They're not just better educated than their parents, many over the last decade adopted XBox, PlayStation, iTunes, Amazon, and understand how to manage secure online accounts. They embrace technology because they understand it better.

Your point about work-life balance is also what I see in Gen Y. And No. 5 is a great insight.

Great post! Thanks!

agluck , October 01, 2012

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