THE MILLENNIAL FINANCIAL HEALTH REPORT: How the largest generation is saving and managing their money, and how banks can target products and messaging to reach them

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As the largest living generation by population, and soon income, millennials are a prime target for banks — butovergeneralizations of their financial health make it hard to attract the group.

Millennials have been the subject of misinformation with regard to financial literacy, spending habits, and brand loyalty. In reality, they're encountering diverse financial milestones, and tailoring products directly to their varied needs can help banks take full advantage of the opportunity presented by serving millennials.

Business Insider Intelligence conducted an exclusive survey to better understand US millennials' financial health. The Master Your Money: Learn & Plan Survey was designed by Business Insider Intelligence and fielded online from November 23 to 27, 2019, to a third-party sample of 2,007 US millennials aged 19-37.

The sample was selected to closely resemble the overall US population (based on census data) on the criteria of age and gender. The results of the survey reveal fresh insights about millennials that banks and other financial services providers can use to build targeted products and tailored messaging for the group. 

Our data highlights three areas that are impeding this generation's financial health: debt, trouble growing savings, and lack of financial education. Millennials' debt is heavily concentrated in credit card debt, student loan debt, and auto debt. Meanwhile, low-income growth and high debt burdens have made it more challenging for them to save. These findings, and our analysis, are supported by interviews with executives from major banks, like JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America. 

But millennials aren't a homogenous group — rather, they behave like three "sub-generations," with distinct lifestyle habits, financial needs, and behaviors. These factors impact the sub-generations differently, making it important for banks to understand the characteristics of millennial consumers in each segment, which can sharpen acquisition and servicing strategies for banking providers. 

In The Millennial Financial Health Report, Business Insider Intelligence identifies strategies for banks and financial services providers to reach millennials. We identify three millennial sub-generations, the unique financial needs and challenges of each, and the ways providers can tap into them. We offer recommendations for acquiring millennial customers, encouraging them to save more, and deepening the customer relationship to become a trusted advisor.

The companies mentioned in this report include: Acorns, American Express, Apple, Bank of America, BuzzFeed, Capital One, Citi, Citizens Bank, Credit Karma, Digit, Disney, Goldman Sachs, Hulu, JPMorgan Chase, Mint, Navy Federal Credit Union, Netflix, Robinhood, Santander, Sprint, Stash, US Bank, Verizon, Wells Fargo.

Here are some key takeaways from the report:  

  • Millennials are estimated to be the largest living generation in the US — but the disparate financial needs of consumers at different stages of this age group can make it challenging for banks to take full advantage of the opportunity presented by serving them.
  • They're often treated like a homogenous group, but millennials can be divided by age into sub-segments that boast different financial realities, which banks need to understand in order to effectively cater to all customers in this generation.
  • Supporting millennials through their unique financial milestones can allow banks to form lifetime relationships with these consumers early on. Banks should take a behavioral approach where they meet consumers' specific needs based on their actions rather than try to broadly serve the generation. 

In full, the report:

  • Uses primary data to identify the unique needs and challenges of each millennial sub-generation.
  • Explores strategies banks should consider to tailor their offerings to millennials' needs in order to improve their financial health via savings tools and, in turn, cement their loyalty as customers.
  • Supports analysis using interviews with executives from incumbent providers like JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America. 
  • Gives recommendations for banks regarding how to acquire, service, and encourage millennials to grow savings. 
  • Highlights noteworthy strategies taken by banks and third-party financial apps to reach this generation. 

Interested in getting the full report? Here's how to get access:

  1. Business Insider Intelligence analyzes the banking industry and provides in-depth analyst reports, proprietary forecasts, customizable charts, and more. >> Check if your company has BII Enterprise membership access to the full report
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