Thursday, March 24, 2016

Financial Literacy: Gen Whatever ....

These days, "Baby Boomers" can frequently be found loudly lamenting the financial insophistication of "Gen Y"!  

Bit remarkable that the BaBoom generation, which brought us trillion dollar deficits, the Great Recession, 10% unemployment, and financial innovations - like payday lending and exploding mortgages - can be so uptight about the lack of "fin lit" amongst their kids.  Let's just hope it will prove difficult for Gen Y'ers to surpass the record of financial chaos set by their parents!  

But, don't despair there appears to be much hope that Gen Y will, in time, graduate from "Whatever!" to "Why?". And, that "Gen Why?" will then become a highly positive financial force in the future.  

Had an example of Gen Y "fin ill-lit" recently with
my Gen Y son, Thomas. True to form, Thomas is "all electronic" in his finances - direct deposit, internet, funds transfer, mobile access, debit and credit cards, call center, ATMs, zap and go!!! But looking at his statements, Thomas obviously didn't "get it" about ATM usage and surcharges.  Every week there were three or four $20 withdrawals, each carrying a $2.50 bank surcharge!

"Thomas we need to have a little talk."

"Bit late on that Dad, should have had that "little talk" when I was eleven....."

"Eleven?  Eleven!  Eleven!!!!  You mean..."

"Just kidding Dad, well sorta..."

I lectured earnestly about finance and saving, preparing for retirement, budgeting, all the important financial basics.  "So, you understand all that , Thomas?  Got it?"

"Yeah Dad, I got it...whatever..."

Sure Charging.... a lot!!!
Next statement same pattern with over $20 in ATM surcharges! "We talked" again. I explained wealth management, IRAs, 401-ks, financial planning, and how many folks were starving in India.  "You got it this time?"

"Got it Dad...whatever..."   

Next statement same story, absolutely no change; I needed a new plan.  The message clearly was not going through!

"Thomas, how much does a case of Miller-Lite cost?"

"About $10 bucks."

"Do you realize that using other folks' ATMs, when the CU has free ones all around you, is costing you about two cases of beer each month?"

Pricing a Surcharge!
"What?  Two cases of beer?  Two cases of beer?!!!  Why that's outrageous; that's highway robbery; down-right stealing!  Can't believe that those guys can get away with this stuff, ripping off poor, innocent college-debt paying kids.  I work too hard for my money; they sure won't ever get away this again!"
The real "Fin Lite!"
... for Gen Y!

And, so far, "they" haven't!

So, what's the point?  Well, when you are marketing to Gen Y, you've got to get the message right; got to address whatever's relevant to them. In other words, ...    

You've got to help them see the Lite...!


Anonymous said...

Now that's a great post, Mr. Blaine!

Anthony Demangone said...


OK if I share this? Great message. Although, Miller Lite? I thought you would have raised him better than that! How about a little Yeungling from Pa?

- Anthony Demangone, NAFCU

Anonymous said...

Let's put down our Miller Lite for a second and look what happened at the NCUA Board Meeting this morning. We are less than three months into the new year and the three self proclaimed fiscally responsible individuals approved two new additional positions thereby increasing the number of employees at NCUA. In doing so they used the word "temporary". What a joke. Nothing is ever temporary at NCUA when it comes to staff. And then they say over time we will reduce examiner positions so it will be a wash. The only wash at NCUA is the "wash job" they do on credit unions every year when they pass a bigger and bigger budget. They admitted this new program to improve thee examination process has been in the works for months so why wasn't in the budget approved last fall? Matz may be leaving but rest assured the two remaining will make sure it will be business as usual. I need a drink.

Michael Waylett said...

Great post! Sounds like you're coming around on the benefits of marketing after-all.