TIAA-CREF Financial Expert Sean Wilson Talks Millennials and Money

The wealth advisor explains how young people approach money

A new survey by TIAA-CREF finds that millennials depend heavily on their personal networks when it comes to receiving financial advice. They are most likely to turn to their parents. Roughly 47% of millennials, compared with 19% of the general population, look to Mom and Dad for their financial wisdom. In addition, the survey found that some millennials also turn to their spouses for advice on money matters. This group accounts for about 37% of respondents. turned to Sean Wilson, New York based Wealth Management Advisor at TIAA-CREF, for more information on this study.

Black Why do millennials feel comfortable relying on personal networks for financial advice?

Sean Wilson: We believe that millennials are comfortable with reliance on personal networks for financial advice because of the importance they place on personal relationships, whether that is with parents, family, their employer, or trusted connections they have formed through social media. We note in the survey findings that 70% look to their family and friends, 45% look to their employer, and 17% turn to social media. Their parents and family members bring tremendous credibility in helping to assess how best to manage saving, spending, and managing debt. Employers also offer significant support in the way of financial tools, calculators, online content and advice that millennials are increasingly comfortable with accessing. What makes millennials so trusting of their parents when it comes to money advice?

Wilson: In his new book, The Next America, from the Pew Research Center in Washington, Paul Taylor notes that different generations certainly have conflicting attitudes about a variety of issues, including politics, religion and lifestyles. However, only about 29% of surveyed adults say there is a strong conflict between young and old. Taylor attributes this figure to the fact that there are a multigenerational family households today, meaning many young adults live with their parents, or vice versa. Because of this proximity, TIAA-CREF sees frequency of communication and levels of trust between millennials and their parents to be extremely high. As a result, many millennials see their parents as resources for advice on matters financial and otherwise, and see these conversations as a path to greater independence. How do millennials feel most comfortable receiving financial information? Why?

Wilson: We are seeing from our engagement efforts that millennials want to receive financial advice through multiple platforms; this might be online. It could also be through access to specialty social media sites with content tailored to their needs and challenges around managing a budget, spending and paying off student loans. We are also seeing some millennials access advice by phone or meeting in person with a financial planner. It is incumbent on financial service providers like TIAA-CREF and others to provide millennials with multiple touch points for advice and provide them content that will best meet their needs. We view our Gen Y engagement as a pathway, starting the conversation with online resources and guiding towards an advisor relationship as the individual’s needs develop.

Stay tuned for part 2 of this interview.

One Response to TIAA-CREF Financial Expert Sean Wilson Talks Millennials and Money

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