One might argue that the ‘me, me, me’ generation simply HAS to be much better at understanding what is most important and prioritising what is best for them, armed with the belief in themselves that they can achieve it. All of this while they are, on average, earning less.
Consider an older person who might worry about paying the rent or mortgage, keeping on top of bills, clearing the credit card every month and saving for a holiday. A twenty-something in 2020 might also be worrying about those things PLUS servicing crippling student debt whilst saving for a deposit on a home… let’s also factor in a significant lack of earning potential in many sectors thanks to the global pandemic and the post-COVID downturn.
Whilst also facing unachievable carrots dangled of ‘Instagram realities’ that are unrealistic for a normal human being to achieve, that’s a lot to handle on your own. No young person is going to want to get into debt, but many like to live in the moment – and why not? There’s not a lot of incentive to think about the future as the financial services industry is still using old terminology that doesn’t resonate with them.
It’s apparent that many young people would not class themselves as typical clients for a financial adviser either, thinking that advisers are more likely to want to talk about (yawn) pensions, savings (or investments worse still), which might, dare we suggest, sometimes sound quite dull, UNTIL you realise what these things can do for your life, your hopes, your dreams of the future. With this in mind, we asked Jade, 23, Sales Executive for MyEva, what she thinks is important to Gen Z when it comes to money matters how she would describe herself:
“I am focused on what I want, but I am also a bit of a worrier” she opens with. “I see some people who live off their credit cards either because they have to or simply because they are ‘living in the moment’ and I am just not like that. I have always wanted to be secure and independent and the concept of saving for a rainy day for me is not a new one. I know I am lucky in this regard. For ME my focus is on knowing how much to save and what to do with it, not the concept of saving versus spending. People of my age need to be more financially-savvy today than ever before. Yes, I learned a hell of a lot at school and university but I never learned about what action to take when it came to managing my money to meet my goals. A lot of people my age also get guidance and advice from social media, usually alongside a version of reality that is pretty much impossible.”
It might be that the education system (and let’s start at primary level!) needs to start preparing kids who oh so quickly become young adults, to budget well so that impossible realities are quickly replaced by achievable aspirations. Jade is the first to acknowledge that whilst the education system let her down in this regard, she has her family to thank for her mindset which was a massive help.
“It’s amazing how much young adults have achieved in recent years and I am proud of what I have achieved at 23, thanks in the main to the support of my family. I think many of my generation have saved and invested better than previous age groups and are increasingly achieving very senior positions in global companies. We believe in ourselves and we look to others for help. But where to start? One of the most obvious places to get support when wanting to achieve your ambitions is the workplace. Workplace mentoring is another positive lifeline for young adults right now, especially in the post-Covid era it’s a huge opportunity for people like me.”
True, in the absence of a family member as a financial mentor, the role of the employer has taken on new significance in its role of supporting young adults with their financial wellbeing.
“My friends and I learned a lot in the last few years and university forced me to live on a budget,” Jade explains. “Not once however, did financial wellbeing feature in my education. It was not until I started work, that I realised that what my employer was offering me access to could make a huge difference in my life. This is even more important for those without the family support I have had”.
“When I talk to employers about introducing MyEva to their employees as a ‘digital financial expert’, like so many other people, I thought of something that’s not really meant for me, focused on pensions and savings and investments; meant for older, wealthier people – my money worries might seem trivial. The concept of affordable and accessible financial advice for everyone, helping people to manage their money better in their 20s, giving freedom to live life and also have the life they want have in the future is a huge benefit in the world of work.”
Sounds great, but let’s not forget Jade is also a sales exec and very good at her job. I asked her if she could give me some examples. Jade has been motivated to look at how she is spending her cash by a personal goal. Shocker – not retirement and pension planning, but how to get on the property ladder.
“Without MyEva, I wouldn’t have considered that if you want to get a mortgage, you need to think about the hidden costs too. Legal costs, conveyancing, different rates, stamp duty. Then what about the impact that paying a mortgage has on the rest of your finances? Less money for leisure, bills, unexpected stuff like the car breaking down,” she explains.
“Even though my family gave me a healthy mindset when it comes to managing on a budget, they are not experts in getting a mortgage”.
A 23 year old who wants her own place. Independence. Freedom – and not just freedom from debt but a way forward to hopes and dreams of the future.
Imagine Jade at 33. What do you see, Jade?
“Living with a partner, maybe a couple of kids. Oh, and a dachshund and a kitten. Happy, able to take holidays where we want to and able to live comfortably without financial stress. I want to explore America, having savings to take me through the rainy days, even the odd storm.”
Now I know it’s positively ancient. But what about Jade at 43?
“Running my own business. Something with animals, being my own boss. I quite fancy a midlife crisis and treating myself to a fast car!”
Yes, Jade is ambitious, ready to take on the world, focused on her goals. Desires, worries, aspirations and the unexpected stuff that happens to this generation, like every other. Jade is living proof that working for your employer can be more than just a job description and a salary to help you get where you want to be in life. Employers who help the people who shape the future of their business to improve their quality of life are going to stand out to a generation who have far more positives to offer than the media might tell you.
“When I talk about a digital financial expert, there 24/7 for people of all ages, all circumstances, at no risk to the employer, I can’t see why you would not go for it,” is Jade’s parting shot. “Personalised, expert, financial help, focused on me and what I want is a brilliant workplace benefit to have. But then of course I would say that,” she smiles.
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MyEva is a digital financial wellbeing expert designed to support employees with their financial wellbeing by helping to improve their financial situation with independent personalised guidance and advice.
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