These days, it seems like every business wants to target the millennial generation. And at over 8 million strong, that makes sense—it is hard to ignore the largest demographic of the U.S. population. As a millennial myself, I’ve seen business after business fail to recognize the importance of connecting with my generation, and I’ve also seen how simple shifts in awareness can make all the difference in gaining millennials’ business. So whether you want to attract them as new clients, or retain them as clients as they inherit their parents’ wealth, it’s time you learn how to connect with this generation to build a lasting relationship with them. Here are 5 simple ways to appeal to millennials:
Millennials want to connect with the real you. They are great at sniffing out “fake” people, and authenticity means a lot to them. That’s why, at the end of the day, they want to work with someone they like and trust, who can share who they are as a person, not just as a financial planner. Your credentials and awards are great, but a heart-based connection is more important to millennials.
Go where they go.
If you want to target millennials, then go where they are. Where do they hang out online—Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram? What events or conferences do they attend, and how can you get in front of them there? Think of ways to enhance your social media marketing and offline marketing to get in front of this demographic, and be creative. For example, can you host a personal finance workshop at a trendy art space or retail space? Or maybe partner with another expert to offer a joint workshop related to overall health and well-being? Millennials are all about living healthy, well-balanced, inspiring lives, and they love when experts think outside the box to get their attention.
Speak their lingo.
No one ever likes being talked down to, but it feels even worse when the subject is money. Millennials want to work with people who speak their language, who can break down the complex financial world in a way that makes sense to them. Don’t be the stuffy expert who talks to them like a parent would. Instead, have fun with your money talks and find analogies to explain financial planning in ways they can relate to. When people feel empowered and educated about a subject, they’ll be more likely to find value in your services and follow your recommendations.
Offer special VIP access or deals.
Of course, you will have to work with your compliance team on this, but what are some ways you can offer your ideal clients special access or offers? Our mentality is to always find the best deals, and sites like Living Social, Groupon and Gilt have made doing so the norm. Plus, the millennial generation is known as the more “entitled” one, meaning they want instant gratification and love feeling special. Some examples of how to make this work for your business include offering a special rate if millennial clients refer their friends to you, or hosting a special VIP-access-only event for your clients and having them bring a potential client for you to meet. Think about creating “wow” experiences and making millennials feel special. This is what will make you stand out—and what will make them want to share your services with their friends.
Have more fun.
The more fun you have with your business and marketing efforts, the more you’ll stand out. So get creative. Build a brand that speaks to the niche you’re targeting. Personally, I make YouTube videos every week and make sure to dance at the end of each one to show how much fun money can be. When you show your fun side, it builds that personal connection, and people will be more naturally inclined to listen to what you’re saying once they’ve determined they like you. Business and life are meant to be fun, and people are attracted to those who are leading the way and helping them create a fun, fulfilled life using their money, too.
Hopefully this helps you see that attracting more millennial clients doesn’t have to be that hard—and that it’s actually something you cannot afford to neglect. After all, it’s projected that millennials will make up 50% of the U.S. workforce by 2020, whether you’re ready for them or not.* I certainly hope you start preparing now, and implement these simple tips in your business sooner rather than later.
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A lot of people in their 20s are dealing with large amounts of student loan and credit card debt and living paycheck to paycheck, dreaming of days when they can begin to use their money to reach their financial goals. While most will think financial planning at this stage in their lives is pointless, the truth is there are some basic strategies you can implement, regardless of how much debt you have or how much income you’re earning. Learning these strategies will help set up the financial foundation you need to move through this challenging time in your life and set the stage for a strong financial future.
Create a budget:
Even as a young adult who may not be making that much money yet, budgeting is critical, as it allows you to see how much money is coming in and going out every month. Although most 20-year-olds understand they should budget, the reality is most just don’t do it. Get a budgeting system as early in place as possible and review how you are spending your money so you can make adjustments, if necessary, to ensure you are living within your means and able to save for your financial goals.
The basic budget formula for after-tax income is:
- 50% for fixed expenses, such as housing (28% or less for housing expenses), basic food, insurance premiums, etc.
- 20% for financial goals. This would include extra debt payments, your cash cushion, retirement, etc.
- 30% for variable expenses, such as dining out, entertainment, travel, etc.
Set up weekly money dates:
Set up weekly money dates to review your budget and manage and plan out your finances. During your money date you should pay your bills (although most should be set up as auto-pay), update and review your budget and take care of any other financial concerns. By calling this allocated time with your money a “date,” you can begin to bring a fun, exciting element into your financial life to help you stay committed for the long haul.
Open up a savings account and set up automatic contributions:
Most people don’t save because they make it way too difficult for themselves. Instead, review your budget and aim to start saving toward your financial goals by following the “pay yourself first” strategy. Under this method, you set up your savings to be automated every month and you save before you spend money on variable expenses. The goal is to save 20% of your net income–but don’t let that amount scare you. Even if you can only start with $10 a month, that’s better than nothing. Every year, review and see if you can increase your savings amount.
Build up a cash cushion:
The goal of a cash cushion is to have three to nine months of your fixed expenses in a savings account to pay for life’s unexpected incidents. Life always throws curveballs–your car breaks down, your computer crashes or you receive an unexpected medical bill–and having money in the bank to cover those expenses will help you maintain your financial peace of mind. If your fixed expenses are $3,000 per month, you should aim to build a cash cushion of anywhere between $9,000-$18,000, depending on your comfort level, job security, etc. That sounds like a lot, I know. But remember, just start with what you can to build you cash cushion over a few years. Again, even if it’s $10 a week, that’s still one step in the right direction.
Keep an eye on your credit score:
Our credit score affects nearly everything in our financial lives. It affects the interest rate on the car loan we apply for, the mortgage loan, the credit cards–and even employers and landlords can reference your credit score when reviewing your application. By monitoring your credit score, you can see where you stand and what you can do to improve it if necessary. Use websites like www.creditkarma.com to view your credit score (not your actual FICO) regularly for free and then pay to see your actualy credit score at least annually using www.annualcreditreport.com.
Create a debt reduction plan:
The first step is to make a list of all your debts. Get clear about how much you owe, the interest rate of each debt, and the minimum payment due. Then review your budget to determine how much you can realistically add toward extra debt payments and start with the debt with the highest interest rate while paying the minimums on the rest. This will allow you to save the most in interest payments. Once the debt with the highest interest rate is paid off, move on to the second highest, and so on.
Start saving for long-term goals:
If you have the ability to start investing into your retirement accounts after you’ve allocated some monthly funds toward building your cash cushion and paying off your debts, then set up an automatic contribution into your retirement account. By starting early, you can allow compounding interest to work in your favor on your investment accounts. If you are new to investing, make sure you do your homework and read investment books so you are clear about what to expect when investing for your future.
Focus on building your earning potential:
Income is one of the biggest factors in wealth creation over time. After all, if you don’t make money–or don’t make enough money–it is very difficult to save for your financial future. So if you can’t save as much as you would like to due to your income level, focus on ways to increase your earning potential for the long run. There are a lot of free courses you can take online, and even watching YouTube videos to sharpen your skills is something anyone can do. Also, there are so many ways you can earn extra money on the side. Ramit Sethi teaches this to his community at “I Will Teach You To Be Rich.” Think outside the box, and continue to focus on increasing your earning potential every year.
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