‘Flaky’ Millennials Run The World

I'm noncommittal and so is my generation. We are redefining everything – even the credit union industry.

Millennials have short-term vision.

Whether it’s in the workplace, in the classroom, or in their personal lives, millennials look toward the future … but not very far into it.

It seems younger millennials are more focused on the purpose of their lives rather than the salary they are earning. As a consequence, they are in motion more than past generations.

According to theU.S. Bureau of Labor reports, the average millennial holds seven different jobs between the ages of 18 and 28. Of those,21% have changed jobs in the past year three times more than the percentage of non-millennials.

It’s the same in the classroom. Millennials switch majors, change extracurriculars, and alter desired career paths.

We are a flaky generation. Especially when it comes to our finances.

Fulfilling Meaning And Neglecting Finances

Young adults are so concerned with finding fulfillment and meaning in life that they neglect the confusing or unexciting aspects of it such as their finances.

I try to be positive about my finances, but to be honest, I don’t know much about them at all, says DePauw University student Leia Hudgins.

But in fact, she does. Hudgins knows she will assume additional expenses includingstudent loans for graduate school,car insurance, and her cell phone bill upon graduation. And she already budgets for the few expenses for which she is currently responsible.


Hudgins displays the mindset of many millennials. They know what they need to know to support themselves currently but are not confident that it’s enough.

These millennials are right. It is not enough.

It can be scary to learn more about financial matters, but understanding only what is a present concern hurts young adults’ ability to prepare for the future.

Whether it’s paying off student loans, building credit, or saving for retirement, there’s a millennial mindset that everything will work out eventually. That might be true in the classroom or possibly in the workplace, but whenit comes to financial matters, everything will not work out unless an individual actively ensures it does.

Cater To The Experience-Driven Generation

Although millennials are concerned with being financially stable, this concern does not stem from a desire for wealth. Today’s young people aren’t looking to accumulate large sums of money, they just want to live comfortably and check off a few items on the financial bucket list.

The desire to save, save, and save is that of another generation. Many millennials have no problem living a minimalistic lifestyle to spend more on what they find valuable. Mygeneration is about life stories. We’re an experience-driven generation, and we’re not averse to change.

I’m open to change, says Erin Burleson, 26. I’ve seen what change can do for people. I’ve also seen what staying in the same place can do, and I just don’t want to end up like that.

Credit unions need to be mindful of this for recruitment and member experience.

It’s easier to embrace the short-term because there’s no predicting when or how a person might change in the long-term. If a person’s interests change, then their lifestyle changes, which essentially changes everything.

That’s a problem for credit unions because millennials have shown little loyalty to brands.

I don’t have loyalty to institutions as much as I do causes, says Callahan employee and millennial Jamie Maurer,

This relates to the purpose millennials are always seeking. They want a purpose for their career, their personal life, and their social endeavors, so why would their financial matters be any different?

Maurer sees how purpose drives financial cooperatives and knows they give back to their communities these were meaningful factors in choosing her financial services provider. But how can credit unions use these long-term attributes to attracta generation so short-sighted?

A Different Long-Term Mindset

From a personal standpoint, I haven’t the slightest idea what I will be doing next summer, let alone years from now. It’s not a stressful uncertainty, it’s exciting. I like the endless possibilities I have available to me. Although Irecognize financial matters are not something to be ignored, I do operate with the mindset that somehow everything will work out, whenever that is.

My generation has redefined the concept of long-term. For example,my generation might not be able to retire, so our long-termplanning does not take us to retirement age. It takes us five to 10 years from today.

What tools do credit unions offer to help millennials plan for their ever-changing endeavors? What tools can help them accomplish their life goals and fulfill their purpose?

Millennials don’t want to be given a financial plan that fits the generalized needs of everyone. They want something made for them. Perhaps most importantly, they want minimal long-term commitment and the flexibility to change all of these thingsbased on their changes interests and needs.

The expectations and realities of plenty of institutions are already changing with millennials. Education systems, workplace ideals,and consumer culture are all evolving to address diversified millennial concerns. But too often, financial institutions are not.

Credit unions have the tools to accommodate the divergent millennial mindset. They should start using them.

July 7, 2017

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