Nearly a month ago I developed a Facebook pole encouraging Millennials and Generation X individuals to participate in a small sample survey. The purpose of the survey was to determine their current familiarity with financial planning and investment management services, as well as their perception of how these services might fit into the bustling rat race we call life.
From the data I collected I noticed a common thread amongst millennial participants in regards to why they haven’t sought out assistance with their finances. Now, these replies were equally as anticipated as they were troubling. Of those who considered seeking out financial assistance, half of the participants felt the barrier between themselves and obtaining financial mentoring was that their income was too low to be relevant for a financial professional. As unsurprising as this perception was, it highlighted an obvious shortcoming which needs to be addressed; Millennials and Gen X’ers aren’t seeking the financial guidance they need to be successful when they need it the most.
The average college graduate in 2014 walked down the alma-matter aisle with a $30,000 student loan anvil dangling over their head, with its thread fraying support rope ready to be hacked away six months from the moment they received their congratulatory handshake and empty diploma tube. Upon graduating many faced the realization that the age-old mantra of “get a college degree and you can do anything” was a reality of previous generations, but no longer applied to an over-saturated job market. The fact of the matter is, some of the financial hurdles we face are unlike those which previous generations dealt with, and many Millennials and Gen X’ers are allowing fear and a lack of understanding to keep them from the financial advice that could make a huge impact today, and prepare them for a successful tomorrow.
When I speak to Millennials about getting financial advice the most frequent comment made is that they are too embarrassed to be honest about their financial situation with someone in my industry. These individuals are letting fear get in the way of potential prosperity. My typical response is that they should look at a financial mentor like they would a personal trainer. When you first start with a trainer you are embarrassed about your current shape, but understand that with their help you can better your situation. The trainer works with you, helps you stay accountable for your choices while helping you make the right decisions, and eventually due to the added guidance, you’re in much better shape and have accomplished something which you can take ownership and are proud of. Financial mentor-ship is an identical model, you may be embarrassed during your first meeting, but eventually together you will experience highs and lows, surpass financial milestones, and build something which you can be proud of.
-Matthew Hutton, CFP®, MBA-FP
NBS Financial Services, Inc.
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