How Gen Z and millennials differ financially

Gen Z may not have started to amass much wealth yet, but establishing a relationship with them now is key for financial institutions to create long-term customers. But they shouldn’t assume what did (or didn’t) work with Millennials will be the same with Gen Z.

Much like Captain Ahab chasing the white whale, or Don Quixote tilting at windmills, banks and credit unions spent the better part of a decade searching for what exactly Millennials wanted from a financial institution. Millennials — the first generation to grow up with an inherent comfort level with the digital world — were said to want robust mobile banking apps and preferred community institutions to megabanks. Unless, of course, they actually liked the comfort of having a branch nearby, and appreciated the robust tech offerings of big banks.

Ultimately, financial marketers came to realize that with such a huge generational group, there were many nuances and that relying on generational stereotypes was likely to be misleading.

With the oldest Millennials approaching 40, financial institutions now have another opportunity to reach the next generation at an early stage (not abandoning earlier generations in the process, of course). Gen Z is roughly defined as those born in 1997 or later, according to the Pew Research Institute.


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