Monthly Archives: March 2016

Understanding Millenials


March 28, 2016

What can help us understand ”Millennials” – the next generation of US spenders?  How about the research team at Facebook?  When it comes to being plugged into Millennials (those currently aged 21-34), Facebook should know.  Millennials are their wheelhouse, so when I heard they had just published a Facebook Market Study about this interesting group, I was all in.  

The study, “Millennials and Money: The Unfiltered Journey”, may be self serving, given that the 70 million people that make up the study group are no doubt mainly Facebook users.  As they say “facts is facts” and the data that the researchers at Facebook uncovered is compelling and insightful.

Millennials are often characterized as desiring instant gratification so it may surprise you that they are also very cautious, responsible, diligent about debt management, and avid savers.  Why track and understand this group?  One reason is they are going to inherit an estimated $30 trillion from their baby boomer parents.  Secondly, knowing how 70 million consumers think about spending might yield some useful investment trends.

The Facebook study reveals that the Millennials feel very disconnected from the financial services industry, and the world of investing.  The average Millennial is 27-years old, highly educated, unmarried, and almost half have household incomes greater than $75,000.  The number one goal for baby boomers is retirement planning.  The two main financial goals for Millennials were paying down debt and saving money.

The desire to be debt free is so strong that 46% believe “financial success” means being debt free!  Only 13% state that being able to retire is the definition of financial success.  This drive to pay down debt is manifested in the fact that 57% pay cash, or use a debit card, when making purchases.

Given that the second most important goal is saving, one might think that Millennials would love to be investors, but this is not the case.  Saving and investing are two separate things to Millennials, and this well educated group feels very under educated when it comes to investing. Moreover, Millennials do not feel they have a financial plan, or access to anyone that can help them plan.  This lack of connection to the financial world means they have little in the way of loyalty to an advisor.

Millennials as a group are value oriented and they will reward those that create value for them. They are looking for three things from the people with whom they do business, and I suspect this is the biggest take away from the study.  They want to be rewarded for their loyalty, they want convenience and ease of use, and they want honesty from their business relationships.

For those who want to connect with this market, remember that these avid users of social media will readily share their experiences, good or bad – and you better get fluent on your mobile device.

Carl Gambrell


You Did What to My Room?!


March 21, 2016

Our homes are typically one of our largest and most important assets. A home is also the investment that generates a lot of emotional attachments. I encounter two types of clients in relation to how they view their homes. There is the person that thinks of their house as an investment first and foremost. This homeowner’s career might have called for the family to relocate frequently, with each house being a somewhat temporary place to live until the next transfer. The majority of my clients, however, do not fall into that camp. Their homes are assets filled with memories and emotions. Key life events took place at home, such as the arrival from hospital with a new baby, to countless birthday parties and holiday celebrations. Our own home is the center of many “Kodak Moments”. It is the constant in our lives that we return to after a bad day at the office or school.

When your children move out of the home in which they grew up, is “their room” still their room? This question can generate a heated discussion among children and parents. One of parents’ strongest commands to their children is, “go to your room” or the ever popular “stay in your room and think about what you just did”.  Unconsciously we reinforced the notion that our children had their own rooms. Kids had very little say over the rest of the house, but their room was their space. Quite likely, they spent more time in this one room than any other place in the world. It was a place to think, reflect, relax, sleep, learn, and grow.  Yes, it is their room – until one day it is not.

Once a child leaves for college or a career, the parents begin to view their child’s room differently. Maybe the first step is a good cleaning, but even then it still looks like the kid’s room. Eventually enough time passes and the idea of redecorating, or even  remodeling, might take hold. New paint and furniture can transform the room completely. Then the inevitable visit from the child elicits a statement along the lines of “what did you do to my room!!”. Where was their prized stuff?  Was it thrown out? Have memories been wiped away? You thought it was your house (and it is), but it was their room.

I have talked to young adults that have recently lost their childhood room, and asked how they would grade their parents’ approach from A to C-. You may not care about your grade but I will guarantee you that if your child has given you a C- on this topic you will certainly hear this statement for a very long time “I still can’t believe you got rid of my _________ (fill in the blank favorite thing)”. Avoiding this is not hard: just talk to them. Make them a part of the decision. Yes, it is your house, and you do not need approval, but remember how sensitive we are to having, and losing, our own room.

Carl Gambrell