Last year I was invited as a panelist at a CFA conference at Mumbai, India. The theme of the conference was on understanding Millennials. The conference had two themes. The first focused largely on their attitudes, behavior, consumption patterns ,work culture and how to communicate to them! I was part of the panelist that focused on the second theme Millennials and Financial Services and How to Serve Them. The first one kicked off with amazing sense of predictability! Panelist after Panelist were ridiculing the millennials for their lack of work ethic to being lazy to spendthrifts to lack of responsibility and accountability and literally what is wrong with the millennials. I was amused and shocked by their apathy and their lack of understanding of millennials! Having worked for almost a decade closely with the young men and women in the age group of 18–35 years [Millennial segment], I knew it was not true. On the contrary, I believe it is the millennials who are going to be the ‘change agents’ and transform their communities and countries for better. The recent collective action by the youth in the US validates my belief that they are going to drive change across the world.
My experiences with Millennials in India and in the US have been exceptionally good. I discovered that they have a lot more clarity and focus on what they want to do in various aspects of their lives. They are purpose driven and goal oriented. They have an amazing sense of curiosity, creativity and sensitivity to look beyond self and contributing something meaningful for the society through innovation or volunteer for a cause. And they have a better sense of balance in life by focusing on experiences in life unlike the earlier generations which focused solely on work and had almost no identity beyond work. I believe and research also indicates that millennials across the world are similar in terms of their values, aspirations and their perspectives on many aspects of life.
At Life & Money, with almost a decade of working with millennials, we believe that millennials want to lead a healthy, wealthy, happy and meaningful life. We have seen significant behavior change among the participants who have attended our program and they are on their way to achieve their personal and financial goals. You might wonder what is the big deal? Because, every generation aspires for those key four aspects in life. The difference is that our values centered approach has helped the millennials to recognize and focus on these aspects very early in their lives. This is in stark contrast to Gen X and Baby Boomers who started focusing on these important aspects at later stage of their lives.
One of the interesting projects we did was to empower 500 women from colleges in a semi-rural region in India. I was stunned by their response to our program. I learnt so much more from them. Here is one story that I would like share that will give you a perspective of what goes in the mind of the millennials and what are their values in their lives.
During one of our series of workshops for the women, one of the participants, mentioned her desire to save for Retirement Corpus! Without batting an eyelid, she mentioned that she wanted to save an equivalent of $ USD 1.5 million for her retirement! I thought this was wonderful since we hardly come across young people who are just turning 20 or in their early 20s talk about retirement, leave alone saving money for it. And to top it all a huge sum! We went through the collaborative financial planning process using a Retirement Tool app and I guided her through few real life scenarios/events to make informed choices to arrive at few reasonable assumptions like expectations of income, expenses, etc and within sometime we arrived at a road map for achieving her Retirement Corpus. What I loved about this young woman is her confidence, meticulousness to budgeting for her expenses, income forecast, asset purchase price, needs vs wants clarity, goal clarity and debt management. She absolutely stunned all of us with her Retirement Planning Strategy because she will be able to achieve her Goal comfortably by investing from the very first month of her earnings! I have never seen a young woman with so much clarity of thought and planning in life!
The highlight of our program was that many participants also wanted to serve the community in the future with purpose by either starting a for profit business or not for profit business. It was very clear that these women wanted to lead a healthy, wealthy, happy and meaningful life at a much younger life than the previous generations.
If you have read this far and found the story interesting, I will like to thank you and am grateful to you! As a dedication to millennials across the world, we are soon launching an exciting online platform derived and designed through years of experience of working with you. The courses are universal and focused across the Life & Money spectrum. We believe it will help you to thrive and live your dreams. Over the next week, we will be launching our first course and additional support services to empower you to live your dreams. If this interests you, you can signup for our newsletter and we will keep you posted on the launch of our new platform.
This article was first published in Medium