Finance has shifted a great deal thanks to technological advances, but also thanks to the generation taking over the workforce.
Picture the financial world: If you still see a bunch of old guys in suits hunched over stacks of documents, you might want to upgrade your mental image. After all, the way we deal with money today is totally different than it was even ten years ago. Think about how every coffee shop or food truck can take a credit card now or how you can pay for something on your phone using a fingerprint – and when was the last time you balanced a checkbook?
At a recent #CapXTalk – a series of panel discussions hosted by Capital One bringing together industry leaders and innovators to speak on a variety of topics – it quickly surfaced how banking and finance, like many industries, has shifted a great deal thanks to technological advances, but also thanks to the generation taking over the workforce.
As the first generation to have grown up with technology as a common part of their lives, and the generation who entered the workforce during the Great Recession, millennials are driving huge change in the world of finance.
Like many of us these days, millennials expect to be able to conveniently access pretty much everything via their smartphones, including their banking, which is why they’re the ones behind the latest mobile apps that offer banking services and financial advice.
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“If we are going to allow the millennial generation to take control of their own finances, we need to make it easier to put your finances on autopilot,” says Jake Fuentes, co-founder and CEO of Level Money, an app – powered by Capital One – which simplifies money management for young adults.
A recent survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers showed that millennials are the group most troubled by financial stress. But some members of this generation are taking that stress and channeling it into building new tools and services that make financial literacy more straightforward and transparent.
“I would like to see more of a marriage of financial therapy into what we’re doing…one of the issues in talking about financial concerns is learning how to do things right and understanding the ‘how’ and ‘why’ people approach personal finances the way they do,” says Erin Lowry, who started the blog Broke Millennial to help increase financial literacy among her own generation. Broke Millennial isn’t your mother’s financial blog. Lowry uses tales of her own financial struggles as she aims to survive living in New York City and develop a respectable net worth to impart lessons about money to others in similar situations. “We are coming into a world that is drastically changing from what our parents grew up in,” Lowry says.
When it comes to the financial industry, Fuentes says, there are lots of reasons millennials may have a less than favorable view, from high student-loan debt burdens to watching Wall Street crash in 2008. To make the banking experience one millennials can trust, he’s focused on changing the way the industry discusses money with clients, being more open about fees and what they can expect from products, and also emphasizing that financial institutions really want to help empower how their clients feel about money through personal connections.
“There’s no space for a conversation with money,” says Fuentes. “We need to not only talk about numbers when it comes to money, but the things that make people happy.”
But the millennials working in finance also realize that it’s not just the latest tech or the method for dispensing financial advice that needs to change to service this new generation; the advice itself needs to shift.
Most millennials are facing a completely different financial picture than their parents or grandparents did. Many of them are carrying much bigger debt burdens from student loans and they’re less likely to be at the same salaried job for their entire careers. So the old financial advice or tools aren’t always the best fit. That’s why Stefanie O’Connell, author of “The Broke and Beautiful Life,” has focused on passing on new applicable advice to her millennial audience. “My mom and dad’s dream isn’t my dream and that’s OK. The dream for millennials is more diverse than ever. If I had to sum it up, it would be living and working on our own terms,” O’Connell says.
These changes might seem major, but Fuentes says they’re exciting for everyone. Millennials prioritize purpose and community over numbers. Banks are responding with new apps and programs tailored to those priorities. Capital One, for example, is reimagining the banking experience by bringing banking and living together through their Capital One Cafés – a space where individuals can recharge their bank accounts, devices and lives while learning new ways to manage their finances, try out innovative digital and financial tools and grab a cup of coffee.
“It makes you feel heard as a millennial that banks are adapting to us instead of the other way around,” says Erin Lowry.
Seattle will soon have access to its own Capital One Cafés, which are designed to facilitate discovery, conversations, hospitality, education, digital innovation and community events with two locations set for South Lake Union (333 Westlake Ave.) and Bellevue (418 Bellevue Way NE).
If you missed the #CapXTalk on Thursday, October 13th and want to hear more about how millennials are changing the face of finances, you can watch a full replay of the panel discussion here: CapXTalk.Fora.TV.
Capital One: Bank when you want, where you want. Get the tools you need to manage your money anytime, anywhere.