A colleague of mine, Lee Topley, forwarded this to me with some interesting thoughts.  I felt it good a good idea to share those here.  Full Disclosure: this post references a service my firm, Unified Trust provides called The UnifiedPlan (UP), a managed account service engineered specifically for 401(k) plans.

A client of ours recently inquired with us about how to communicate to Millennials.  See this linked white paper that was done by BNY Mellon on this group.  Generation Lost: Millennials and Finance Several of their key findings are below, and some thoughts on how we can impact 3 of the 4 summary findings.


  1. Millennials have little understanding of just how big a task they face in providing for their retirement.  This lack of knowledge is not due to a lack of interest.  Rather they feel they have not been told the reality of their situation.  The UP tells them exactly where they are (they don’t have to ask, we automatically give it to them)…they are in the Green (on track) or in the Red (underfunded)…and how much they have to save to become green if they are red.  Plus, the UP provides all types of flexibility to customize their solution if they want to re-model different scenarios.
  2. Most Millennials want financial services providers to be brutally honest with them about the bleak future they will face if they do nothing to build an adequate retirement income.  They want financial service providers to use more shocking messaging and to speak to them in language they understand.  The above response…Red versus Green is pretty frank on a participant’s statement.  In addition if we use pointed communications focusing on the impact of greater savings, this would be the direct style that millennials are looking for.
  3. Social Finance has a very strong appeal to Millennials, yet they do not feel that adequate impact oriented investment are accessible.  This is the one area that we aren’t totally in sync on.  I wonder about this part of their concern.  Socially Responsible funds could be added, but due to prudence, would not be part of the glide paths.  So we could help here, but will this really help them achieve an adequate benefit at retirement or just make them feel better about how their money is invested?  This is the one finding that I think the UP doesn’t automatically cover. 
  4. Millennials feel today’s financial services products are not tailored to their needs.  They want new products to dovetail with the paths their lives are likely to take, not those of their parents.  Later in this paper the findings relate to the ability to access the money for buying a house, an illness, etc., so they may not be completely understanding the tax deferred aspect of their 401(k) money.  However, the plan can be set-up so they have access if the sponsor chooses to do so.


Shortly after the summary on page 1 it states:

“These findings paint a picture of a generation that is ignorant of financial matters because it is being ignored. It is a generation that wants financial services providers to tell the truth”  A named Plan Fiduciary is bound by law to tell the truth and to always have their best interest as the #1 goal.

I found this dialogue interesting, and maybe gives the reader a little look under the hood at what professional fiduciaries are thinking about when discussing internally how to best serve clients.