millennials have been labeled with negative stereotypes like
materialistic and entitled, the reality is that crippling debt and
lack of employment opportunities have significantly impacted this
generation’s financial future.
are struggling with student loan debt," acknowledges Brian Behl
of Lake Country Wealth Management in Delafield.
With the average
college graduate in debt nearly $30,000 upon graduation, getting ahead
is very hard, says Karen Ellenbecker, founder of Ellenbecker
Investment Group. "Unfortunately, it’s preventing some people
from taking on good debt like buying a home."
So how are
millennials managing their debt and still saving for major financial
milestones like homeownership and retirement? "They’re doing
everything later," says Ellenbecker. "They’re buying homes
later, getting married later and having children later."
disposable income may be more limited, other factors like social
responsibility and the environment are shaping how millennials spend
are more concerned about their quality of life right now," says
Ellenbecker. "They’re willing to save less so they can buy
locally grown or humanely raised food."
Behl agrees that
millennials’ spending habits look very different than a generation
ago. They think nothing of paying for technology services like cell
phones and Internet.
just the norm," he adds.
willingness to pay more for higher quality, Ellenbecker says
millennials also recognize their financial resources are limited. As a
result, they are becoming more frugal. "They’re more
conscientious of their spending," she says.
group is striving to live within their means, budgeting and saving
money is easier said than done.
millennials are just trying to make ends meet," says Julie
Ellenbecker-Lipsky of Ellenbecker Investment Group.
millennials seek professional advice early to help get a handle on
their finances. In fact, many financial planning firms today are
reaching out to clients’ adult children to educate them about sound
seeing the difference that a multigenerational approach can
make," says Ellenbecker.
comfort using online technology for financial transactions,
millennials still want face-to-face contact with the people who manage
their money. "You’d think this age group wouldn’t be
interested in meeting with financial advisers in person, but they
are," says Ellenbecker.
If anything, she
says establishing a personal connection is more important than ever.
"Millennials are much more conscientious about who is helping
them provide for their future," says Ellenbecker. "They
really check things out, interviewing advisers and researching
On the Go
mobile devices have become part of our daily routine, people are
expecting more functionality from mobile banking apps like
mobile check deposits, real-time updates on account activity and
balances, and alerts to help avoid overdraft fees.
current generation does so much personal banking online,"
says Karen Ellenbecker, founder of Ellenbecker Investment Group.
who is a member of the Foundations Bank board, says regional
banks are joining national financial institutions in the mobile
arena with their own mobile check deposit and banking apps.
are doing deposits directly from their smartphones," she
says. "They take a picture of their check, submit it and
Ellenbecker-Lipsky of Ellenbecker Investment Group says online
banking is particularly appealing to people who want flexibility
and convenience to bank anywhere, anytime. "We are no
longer limited by conventional banking hours," she says.
banking also eliminates paper waste, which is a plus for
environmentally conscious millennials.
though traditional banking services like deposits and
withdrawals have largely moved online, customers are still
visiting local bank branches to carry out more complex
still like to know there’s someone they can talk to about
bigger things like home loans and lines of credit," says
perhaps the fastest growing personal finance apps today are
digital wallet apps like Apple Pay and Google Wallet, which
allow consumers to pay for purchases with their smartphones.
carry very little cash now," says Ellenbecker. "They’re
driven by their debit cards."
consumers today are carrying less cash, they’re never without
their cell phones, says Betty Wellhoeffer Hill of Crescendo
Wealth Management. Not only is shopping with a digital wallet
convenient, it’s more secure and enables consumers to track
their spending online.
personal finance apps can help you become a better money
manager," says Hill.
wallet apps can also be used to store and redeem electronic
coupons and loyalty card information.
are all about their loyalty points," says