Facebook recently used all its glorious, immeasurable power to analyze the financial attitude of Millennials and compiled a report – “Millennials + Money: An Unfiltered Journey.”
My peers and I are apparently the most economically influential generation at the moment. And, as Facebook found, our instant-gratification-YOLO’ing generation is growing up and thinking more about money.
The report is very useful and accurate, at least in terms of my own mindset about money.
The report – published by Facebook Insights in January 2016 – is actually targeted at marketers in the financial industry who want to reach out to the group.
Still, it provides some interesting insights (pun intended) about the way Millennials’ newfound responsibility is playing out.
Aimless but Responsible
No one in my generation is under the impression that there’s any real privacy on Facebook. The platform keeps your data and analyzes everything you post, like, and tag.
But, this is how Facebook was able to get massive amounts of data from a pool of 70 million working-age Millennials just in the United States.
The company used a combination of good ol’ demographic and survey information, in addition to chatter on the platform. By aggregating keywords, Facebook was able to see peer-to-peer discussion trends by 21 to 34 year olds.
What Facebook found is that Millennials have defined their own version of financial success.
As I mentioned last week, 46% of Millennials feel that financial success is not being in debt – more traditional markers such as owning a home or being able to retire aren’t high on the list yet, at 21% and 13%, respectively.
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Despite the stereotype, 86% of millennials say they are saving. But most don’t have a plan for that savings. Facebook found that the generation is 2.7 times more likely to say they’re saving because it’s the responsible thing to do versus the second most common response, saving for an emergency.
Retirement is obviously far off for my peers and I, and only 8% say it’s the primary reason for saving money at this point.
There’s also been a lot of discussion lately about why Millennials aren’t investing their money. The group is 1.6 times less likely than Generation X and Baby Boomers to have no investments. The report points to three main reasons: distrust, ignorance, and resources.
After entering the work force during the Great Recession, Millennials often say they mistrust financial institutions. However, only 12% say it’s the primary reason for not investing.
The real reasons seem to be that my peers don’t feel they have the money to invest (54%) and don’t know enough about investing (24%).
Overall, my generation hasn’t quite found their groove when it comes to financial planning. Only 37% feel they have a financial plan, and of those who don’t, 52% say they don’t know how to build one.
The report goes on to advise marketers about how to connect with Millennials, pointing out that they want a financial partner – not an advisor – to empathetically explain how they can be more mindful about their financial decisions.
While I’m slightly more engaged with my finances than the average person, I certainly identify with the major points found in this report.
We’re all looking for connection and understanding in all areas of our lives. While my generation isn’t terribly engaged in their finances, they want to be.
We’ll have to wait and see if the market responds to help bridge the gap between the industry and us.