Giving Advice to the Money-Minded Millennial


By Steve Engle, Client Success Coach, Asset-Map

When was the last time you logged into Instagram and saw your favorite celebrity, or even a friend’s vacation post, and thought “I want that” or “I wish that was me”? As a millenial myself, I can relate to this. 

In our social media-driven age so reliant on influencers and celebrities, comparison is inevitable.

The trouble is, comparing ourselves to others can not only create feelings of inadequacy, it can also drive us to spend money we don’t have on things we don’t need, like expensive luxury items and trips abroad.

But even though comparison can lead to unhealthy mental and financial habits, that doesn’t mean it’s bad in every situation.

In the right context, comparison can be a positive for your clients’ financial health. Here’s how you can leverage comparison to build stronger financial understanding in your millennial clients, straight from a millennial himself.

The Money-Minded Millennial

Let’s be honest, we all make different financial decisions—some better than others.

Whether it’s how much to put in savings each month or what our limit is for last weekend’s bar tab, every person has different limits on what makes them comfortable. It’s one reason why financial plans can be unique for each individual. Money is very personal.

And because it’s so personal, money is a taboo topic for some. For millennials, however,  it’s normal to discuss those spending habits with friends in friendly conversation.

If you want to help your millennial clients, you can harness our sense of comparability to help change the way we view our finances for the better.

Stereotypes are rarely helpful—in fact, many millennial money stereotypes are often wrong—so instead we need to look at data-driven comparisons.

The Power of Healthy Comparison

Showing millennials the healthy financial habits of their peers and how they stack up in comparison holds tremendous power.

Whereas “hate-liking” someone else’s glamorous vacation posts on Instagram can create jealousy, showing a client their finances in comparison to their peers can create positive momentum.

When planning finances for a millennial, here’s my personal top five list of financial situations common to millennials that you may need to review:

  • Understanding the added benefits of their employers retirement plan (401k, Roth 401k, 403b, etc.)

  • Paying off student loans (Consolidation, Refinancing, Tax-Deductions)

  • Managing credit card balances

  • Buying their first home

  • Establishing a college savings plan (529) for their children (remember, millennials aren’t a bunch of 22 year olds anymore)

Understanding where we stand financially can prompt a millennial consumer to take action on their financial plan—which is the ultimate goal of having a plan in the first place.

Financial Advice and Millennials

Mixing financial awareness with expert guidance, especially at a young age, can drastically alter a person’s financial success in the long run. 

While planning for a millennial client is often thought of as straight-forward, it’s in these younger years that most life events happen and when a consumer needs solid financial advice the most.

Some situations are more complicated than most, but at the end of the day as long as a millennial client enrolls in their employer’s retirement plan, establishes a target savings rate, comes up with a plan to knock out student loan debt, and understands that a higher credit limit doesn’t mean that they just hit the lottery, then they’re likely off to a good start for financial stability.

Serving millennial clients in your advisory firm? Check out the Millennial Stencil from Asset-Map for a quick comparison of the traditional millennial financial situation to see how the millennial clients you serve compare to the status quo, and use it to drive more complete and action-oriented conversations in your next meeting.

Perry Feinstein