10 ways to explain saving and finance to Millennials and Generation Z
Teaching financial responsibility to young adults can feel like an impossible task, especially given
today’s younger generations tendency to eschew face-to-face communication for chat sessions and
text messaging. How do you teach financial strategies, goals and the basics of a 401(k) to someone
who has completely different priorities, communication styles and life experiences?
First things first: scrap the golden rule. It’s not about teaching how you wish you’d been taught. It’s
about relaying the information the way they want to learn it. With this in mind, here’s a list of 10
ways to effectively explain saving and finance to Millennials and Generation Z.
1 Keep it short
Have you ever seen the initials “tl;dr”? It’s short for “too long; didn’t read.” These generations are used to being given information in bite-sized chunks — which allows them to move on whenever they want. Avoid tl;dr by keeping your financial education short, snappy and to the point.
2 Keep it visual
Millennials and Gen Zers are visual learners.
They’re not receptive to long articles that feel like
assigned reading. It’s best to visually explain the
point you’re trying to make. Take a page from a way
they like to learn by using infographics and videos.
3 Embrace and incorporate technology
Surprise, surprise: Millennials and Gen Zers love
technology. Why not leverage that love to teach them
about creating a budget? There are many financialtracking
apps available. Familiarize yourself
with these apps now to speak knowledgeably
about them later.
4 Focus on the future AND the now
Financial conversation can get very focused on the
future. But when you’re young, retirement couldn’t
feel further away. Millennials and Zers need to
understand how it benefits them to be financially
savvy now. As you explain the long-term benefits,
find ways to incorporate and illustrate immediate
wins as well.
5 Share personal stories or experiences
Neither Millennials nor Gen Zers want a canned
speech on how to create a budget or why a 401(k) is
important. (In truth, no one wants a canned speech.)
Give them something tangible to relate to by sharing
your personal financial stories or experiences. Not
only will it be more fun to listen to, but it will also be
more memorable and effective as a teaching tool.
6 Don’t patronize them
They may be young, but the same rules apply to
Millennials and Generation Z as everyone else.
If they feel they’re being talked down to, you
risk negative reactions and a very unproductive
conversation. Instead, be straightforward and
honest, and check in every once in a while to make
sure they’re still with you.
7 It’s not about hearing just from experts
It’s also about hearing it from their peers. Having
Millennials or Gen Z meet with an advisor is great,
but they may pay more attention when meeting
with a peer who has successfully implemented a
financial strategy. Bring them together to show
how other Millennials and Zers are accomplishing
8 Ground finances in a practical outcome
Don’t paint too rosy of a picture. The upcoming
generations are proving to be very pragmatic, and
won’t take you seriously if you’re too aspirational.
They know the Great Recession isn’t the only
recession they will likely encounter in their lifetime.
And when the next one hits, they might be adults
fending for themselves. Show them strategies on
how to get by when times get tough.
9 Let them bring their voice to the table
Only listening with no participation is going to
get dull — and quick. Start by asking what they
want to learn and what their goals are. With this
information, customize what you teach them so they
not only get essentials but also learn about topics
that appeal to them.
10 Drip, drip, drip
All the financial wisdom you’re hoping to teach
doesn’t have to be imparted in one long meeting.
Sprinkle information in bite-sized lessons over time.
It’ll feel more informal and less like an intervention.
Some of these tactics may work better than others, but there’s no one magic trick for transferring
all your hard-earned financial wisdom to the next generation. It takes patience and understanding
to get your point across. But by using these 10 techniques, you’ll be able to approach financial
education through a more effective generational lens.
This information is prepared in part by an unrelated independent third party, BridgeWorks, and is provided for informational purposes only. Ivy Distributors, Inc., believes
the information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but does not guarantee the accuracy of the information provided.