Most Millennials consume finance media but not confident about money, despite a $3.5 trillion inheritance coming – brands can help
There’s an unfair image of Millennials out there that paints them as poor financial managers, economics journalist Jess Irvine says. But they’re hungrier for information and advice than any generation before them. Despite this, a new survey from Nine has found that they’re becoming less sure of themselves. And with more than seven million Australians aged 18 to 39 set to inherit $320,000 each over the next 20 years – that’s $3.5 trillion in total – the brands that share smart information that doesn’t oversimplify things can help these Millennials – and themselves.
Australia’s biggest and most valuable cohort, the seven million 18-to 39-year-olds known as Millennials, are unsure about how to invest their money but hungry for information, presenting huge opportunities for brands.
A new study from Powered by Nine, in partnership with The Lab, interviewed people in that cohort and conducted social listening and quantitative research through Nine’s Consumer Pulse audience panel to understand Millennials’ approach to finance.
The proportion who feel “extremely confident” about their financial skills has plummeted to just 14 per cent – down from 20 per cent a year ago. Seventy-two per cent listen to business and money podcasts, while 28 per cent follow a “finfluencer” online.
“These audiences are still incredibly ambitious, they are progressive and they're diverse, but ultimately what they see as success is being redefined, and it's probably different to what it was with their predecessors,” Nine’s Client Director for Finance, Tech and Telco, Ben Thomas, says.
Hunger for information
“They're looking to other things than purely financial success, such as job satisfaction, but they're still incredibly focused on growing long-term wealth and setting themselves up for retirement. So actually, in that sense, they’re not that different.”
Jess Irvine is the Senior Economics Writer for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, and she reckons the 18-to 39-year-olds have some of the deepest “hunger for information”.
“But as for getting access to trusted information that is credible, that is looking at your whole financial situation, I think that's a real gap in the market,” she said.
“People are so scared, but money is really quite simple - it hasn't changed. You earn an income, you spend less than you earn, and then you have some savings to nurture you when you are in retirement and you can't work anymore.”
Finding new pathways to wealth
Nine’s research found that Millennials will inherit $3.5 trillion over the next 20 years as a massive intergenerational wealth transfer takes place. That’s $320,000 per person. Yet there’s a sense that Millennials are not necessarily good with money – too busy eating smashed avocado to save it – that is inaccurate, Irvine says.
“There's a real boomer hate session happening with Millennials and I think it's completely unfair,” Irvine said.
“Younger Australians in this demographic are caught in some tectonic shifts in our economy. Housing affordability is a huge challenge - it is just so much harder to save a deposit and get on the home ownership pathway. At the same time, ultra-low interest rates have meant that it's very hard to save, to get a return on your money in the bank.”
And so those younger people have done the logical thing, which is to investigate other investment areas – like the share market and cryptocurrencies. Finance brands can take lessons from the “finfluencers” to make smart, helpful information available to them.
“The reason that finfluencers have had such a fast rise in profile is because they're relatable, and provide easy-to-access information in the channels and platforms where this audience already is,” Ben Thomas said.
“For brands, that doesn't mean oversimplifying things. I think that's the key thing as we work through this for brands. What's the right tone? What can they bring to the conversation which really adds to what this new wave of wealth is looking for?”