12/05/15

One Millennials Perspective on Purchasing Retirement Products

NEOS Millenials Perspective Gen Y graphic

I was recently asked to read a whitepaper that a coworker wrote on How to Reach Millennials with Your Retirement Planning Opportunities. He asked because I am a Millennial (I often try to hide that fact because immediately people think all I want is social media, to take selfies, and that I make them feel old) and I attended the Retirement Industries Conference. He wanted my perspective as a part of the generation that is giving the retirement industry so much worry. To quote my coworker, “To effectively reach Millennials, retirement services companies have a lot to do, and it won’t be easy,” but he also says, “There is no reason to wait to begin courting Millennials.” I love that phrase because that is great way to describe the relationship between consumers and organizations. Just like dating, I want to be courted when buying retirement products. I want time invested in the relationship, I want to build trust, support each other and, of course, if you cheat on me or lie I do not ever want to talk to you again. I encourage you to read his whitepaper for as I read, I could not help but nod my head at his suggestions for retirement services companies based on the social characteristics of my generation. You may not agree with some of his and my points but I will share my millennial’s perspective on a few of his points.

  1. He made one recommendation for insurers to “Train your agents to be advisors that will tell the truth, and deliver value beyond simply offering a product.” I cannot agree more with this suggestion. At least for me, I want to think of my agent as there for me, not just their bottom line. I even just accidentally proved my point with calling it my agent.Once I find someone I really trust to keep my best interests at heart, is doing their job because they believe in its value (note also in the whitepaper is Millennials increasing focus on civic virtue – spot on!), and can make the process easy for me I will be extremely loyal. For instance, I am in the process of buying my first house and started working with an agent by happenstance because she was linked with the house.Why is she so great? She is always available (which makes a great real estate agent), calls to explain upcoming processes, and advises me on who else to work with and big decisions. In the future, I can only hope she will be available when I need more real estate guidance because now I don’t want to work with anyone else. An additional note, she texts me (so it doesn’t disrupt my day but still calls with complicated topics), sends me digital documents to sign that automatically sends me copies, and handles interactions with other people in the process. Retirement services organizations should take note on that seamless process! Which leads to my next point:

  2. Mobile doesn’t mean social to me – I don’t want to buy online, I want to find resources online to educate me on the process. Will a company’s stellar twitter post make me buy products from them…no. However, I do want an online presence. If I could get access to educational resources (e.g. what to avoid, next steps after deciding to take action, and things to watch out for), testimonials from people I can relate to assuring me the process is painless, and to someone to start talking to about the products I would be inclined to consider a purchase.  But, don’t make push a button to request an agent – I want to pick my own. One idea could be putting up profiles to allow me to find someone I can relate to, making it less intimidating.

  3. “Millennial consumers will be harder to find, and retirement service companies will need to do a better job finding groups of Millennials that will respond to product offers.” Would you believe that I have never been approached to by retirement products? I have a 401K because our office manager explained it to me and stressed the importance but I would be interested in more. My fiancé who is self-employed has never been approached. (Thank god, he did the research on his own). Those two examples show we are prime targets and the industry is not finding us. Could insures work with colleges and send graduates (after a year or two – you don’t want to depress them, they are having enough trouble as it is) an invitation to discuss retirement plans?

I am sure this was more than you ever wanted to know about a Millennial’s perspective and dilemma on the retirement product buying experience but if not reach out to me in the form below. We can share horror stories of trying to be an adult or I can shed even more Millennial light if you are the one trying to tackle sales to my generation.