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Boomers and Millennials — Part 2: The 10,000-ft view

In Part 1 of this series on Boomers and Millennials, we interviewed a handful of people and learned how their life experiences affected their banking behaviors. This is a powerful way to connect with real people and empathize with their situations. It can also lead to insights into how your institution can better serve your community (meaning that you should get to know your account holders to learn more about them).

In Part 2 we’ll zoom out and look at the big picture. What are some of the national trends for these generational cohorts? How will these trends affect their financial needs and choices in the next 5 to 10 years?

 

Take a look at the numbers

As a cohort, Millennials stand out for a number of reasons:

  • They make up 51% of mortgage purchases (Gen Z are only 2%). Followed by Boomers (32%).

  • They have the highest activity for point-of-sale transactions compared to any other generation.

  • They also don’t have a lot of credit card debt but do have a lot of student loans.

 

change in percentage of debt holders

 

Boomers have some similarities with their Millennial children, and some big differences:

 

  • They are the second highest mortgage holders (after Millennials).

  • They have the second lowest activity for point-of-sale transactions (only the Silent generation is lower).

  • Their household net worth may never fully recover to pre-crisis levels.

median household networth

  • Older consumers are more likely to carry credit card debt today than ever before.

percentage with credit card balances

 

How can you use this information to act now?

It’s important to blend the macro and micro perspectives together. Make sure to read Part 1 of this series for the micro view. National and regional trends can help you avoid major missteps and capitalize on major opportunities. Alternatively, talking with individual account holders can help you uncover needs and opportunities that national economic data may obscure — that’s also the secret to building deep loyalty in your community. You want to be seen as a partner that listens and responds to feedback, as well as a strategic player that navigates economic turbulence with ease.

Look at your consumers’ behavior. Conduct your own research by analyzing the transaction data from your account holders to discover behaviors that may help your decision-making process. Where are they already paying debt to other lenders or institutions and can you offer them a better rate? What types of payment services do they use (e.g. Paypay, Cash, Venmo, Zelle, etc.)? Are they using out-of-network ATMs? Are they over-paying for services like insurance or identity protection?

 

The possibilities are endless when you examine your own data.

Hear what they say. But watch what they DO. Don’t be surprised if you find data that flies in the face of what your interview subjects said. It’s not uncommon for people to answer questions in an aspirational way (e.g. how much money do you want to save? How often do you buy Starbucks?) and their behavior doesn’t match up. Ultimately you want to use empathy as a lens for examining these disconnects between the data and the interview findings. It’s no secret that people aren’t as financially stable as they want to be. If you can find ways to meet them where they are to help them get to where they want to be, you’ll win their loyalty.

What’s Kasasa?

Kasasa® is an award-winning financial technology and marketing services company dedicated to helping both community financial institutions and consumers experience what it means to “Be Proud of Your Money.” We’re known for providing reward checking accounts consumers love, the first-ever loan with Take-Backs™, relationship-powered referral programs, and ongoing expert consulting services to community financial institutions.

By working exclusively with community banks and credit unions, Kasasa is helping to strengthen local economies across the nation, building a virtuous cycle of keeping consumers’ dollars where they can do the most good. Our mission is to power a network of financial institutions in all 50 states offering products and services that are clearly beneficial for the consumer and the institutions offering them.

For more information, please visit www.kasasa.com, or visit Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.