Opportunity Knocks: Millennials Want Better Financial Advice

Opportunity Knocks: Millennials Want Better Financial Advice

While Millennials are blamed for everything from poor ratings for the Olympics to the downturn in home ownership, it seems like they are just like their parents in many ways. While the workforce’s youngest generation is seen as craving more and more technology, they actually want real human counsel when it comes to financial planning, according to a new study from Northwestern Mutual.

The Milwaukee-based mutual life insurer’s “2016 Planning and Progress Study” found that just 11% of all Americans desire financial advice that comes from a fully automated solution. That number increases for Millennials — but only slightly. Just 20% of respondents in the 18 to 34 age range desire what the survey calls a full robo advisor.

Instead, Millennials essentially fall in line with older generations. More than half of all respondent (54%) say that the best scenario is having a financial advisor that can offer both a human relationship and tech solutions. “Results revealed that human advice is not easily replaced by technology alone,” stated the study. “In fact, the majority of U.S. adults cited human guidance coupled with technology as the ideal solution while only a fraction opted for a purely automated solution.”

The results reveal an opportunity for banks and others in the industry. While many companies currently have tunnel vision solely on making technology improvements to enhance efficiency, this data shows that some aspects of the customer experience still need a personal touch.

Millennial Finance Opportunities

The potential of this under-tapped market is further cemented by Northwestern Mutual’s findings that Millennials are “the conflicted generation” when it comes to their long-term financial planning. In addition to wanting advice from “people plus technology,” they remain “ambitious and impatient.”

They report high levels of financial stress and realize that they need experts to help them reach their goals. Although only 21% of Millennials have a financial advisor, a whopping 72% say they are interested in receiving professional guidance. This is well above the 57% level reported by the general population.

“The early stages of a career can be rewarding in many ways, but not necessarily financially,” said Rebekah Barsch, vice president of planning for Northwestern Mutual. “With the right financial plan in place, Millennials can alleviate some of the pressure and feel confident about pursuing their career aspirations rather than just a paycheck.”

The 2016 Planning and Progress Study surveyed 2,646 adults in the United States in February 2016. The goal was gathering greater insight into people’s attitudes and behaviors toward money, financial decision making, and long-term financial security.

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