Think back to when you were just starting your career. How did you start your career as an advisor in the financial planning, benefits or insurance industry? Were you an intern or did you have a mentor? Did you follow your parents’ footsteps and take over the family business?
More than likely, you had just graduated from college with a bachelor’s degree and had been offered an “entry-level” position at a company in your desired field. Getting recruited out of college seemed like the normal or usual path to take. And, while you got “the job,” you also decided to get married to your high school or college sweetheart, buy a sensibly-priced car and a starter house.
These were things that defined your life; a clear boundary between “I’m just a kid” to “now I’m an adult.” And that’s what you told your kids: “When you go to college, you’ll find your life partner, you’ll be recruited to a job related to your field of studies and be married a short time after your graduation, buy a car, and buy a house where you will start your family (and I’ll finally have grandchildren).”
At least, that’s what my parents told me (and they are very vocal about asking for grandkids…every time we speak). They were basing it on their own life experiences.
It’s a wonderful life
While it’s a wonderful dream, all of those things that were supposed to define millennials as adults haven’t happened for many of them. Some millennials are still going to school for their Master’s degree because they think that by having more titles, they can get better jobs, and because it makes sense for them to keep studying in order to buy time before they have to start repaying their student loans.
Others are still struggling to figure out where they fit in this world: they are frustrated that they couldn’t find their “dream job” or, at the very least, a job related to their college field of studies or their passion. Still, others have found what they love to do and have turned it into a business, profiting from both former hobbies and their true calling in life.
For others, boomer parents’ dreams haven’t come true: some millennials haven’t been able to find good-paying jobs until their late 20s or early 30s; some have been forced to move back in with their parents or have roommates because rents are too high and homelessness is not an option; some have had a hard time paying off their student loans; others have fallen into financial troubles and the list goes on and on.
A light at the end of the tunnel
But amidst all of these challenges, there are millennials that are making it work, have great jobs, are business owners, are getting or have gotten married and are just thinking or beginning to start their own families. Maybe they’re starting adulthood a bit later, but they are making their dreams come true at their own pace. And that potential, to overcome, to persevere, to carry on, is in each every one of the members of Gen Y.
How are you talking to this generation? How are you trying to reach them? For example, if you’re a benefits advisor, are you talking to your millennial clients about paid family leave and other workplace benefits that, even if they’re not planning to start a family right now, they should consider when accepting a new job? Some kids arrive unexpectedly, after all.
Or if you’re a retirement planner, are you guiding your millennial clients on how they need to start planning for their own retirement and their kids’ college fund today, rather than tomorrow? Have you explained the benefits of starting early vs. starting later?
And then there are other things like disability insurance. Have you spoken to your millennial clients about how they can injure themselves because of something as simple as slipping on a wet floor during their lunch break and possibly become disabled?
These tidbits are just food for thought for a generation that constantly thinks about instant gratification, but is beginning to realize that the future is now. Talking about these questions with millennial clients or potential clients will get them thinking about their plans and planning for the short and long-term future.