Millennials have proven that they are incredibly distrustful when it comes to financial institutions, but why?
For all the jabs that the millennial generation gets, at least we can all take a collective pause to appreciate that being wasteful with money isn’t one of them. For many that involuntarily attained consciousness after the Baby Boomers had plundered a once-fertile economy, housing and job market, the nature of funds proved to be a harsh wake-up call.
Oh, you want to be a homeowner at 25? Sure, that’ll happen right after you’re granted immortality and the power of flight. As many went on to learn, too much had changed too quickly, and the structures and career pathways that may have once worked were now decaying relics of a bygone time.
Out of all the institutions to garner the millennial mistrust, none have been so effective as financial institutions. “Why?” you ask? Well…
All for Profit
Being one of the first generations to be relentlessly bombarded by ads and salespoint pitches, Millennials are no strangers to sensory overload. Banks and lenders are no different on the consumer market. Free cards, promotional prices, and “helpful” assistance from employees whose only goal is to convince you to fork whatever hard-earned money you have over – it’s not hard to imagine why we’d be skeptical that Big Money has our best interests at heart. Especially not after 2008.
The 2008 financial crisis was the perfect primer into the world of economics for those that were entering their first years of managing and spending money freely – thanks, Mom, but we’re all big kids now. We don’t need no allowance. After seeing the global banking system fail so spectacularly due to the unhinged amounts of greed that permeated the system, an entire generation saw exactly what would happen to their money should they entrust it into “professionally managed” 401k funds.
Lack of Funds
Let’s be real here. Between student loans, rent, car payments, insurance payments, phone payments, and any and all other monthly bills, the concept of a “bank” exists less as an institution to protect our hoard in and more of a place that our money “whooshes” through as it’s on its merry way away from us. While this is hardly a reason for us to mistrust the financial institutions themselves, it can serve as an effective way of reminding one at just how hard they’re being reamed from every direction. Uh, Mom? About that allowance…
There Are More Intriguing Alternatives
We could argue that if there is one thing that Millennials have embraced, it’s disruption. Due to the incredibly fast rate at which we’ve adopted new and emerging technologies, the notion of a “constant” within the tech we use daily is absurd. Consequently, the same logic applies to the managing of funds and growth of investment.
While we’d argue that a bank is still the best place to keep your funds for the sake of security and ease – such as obtaining a debit/credit card – there are far more interest alternatives when it comes to investing and portfolio growth. Sure, you could slap whatever extra cash you’ve managed to scrape together in a savings account and enjoy that abysmal ROI, or you could plop those clams down in some bitcoin and watch your investment grow continually over the course of several months.
Empowerment Through Technology
When you have what is essentially a fast-lane to the information superhighway in your pocket always, it becomes much easier to sift through the statements of a company and see if their truly good for their word. While not all financial institutions are malicious entities hell-bent on bleeding the populace dry, the market is far from a clean one. As such, even a cursory Google search is likely to turn up more than enough information on any institution claiming to have your best interests in mind – and promptly kicking them to the curb.
While we may have painted a picture of an entire generation as nothing more than a paranoid, covetous bunch, the truth is much less extreme. Financial institutions should as entities toward an overall increase for society’s quality of life, but the unfortunate reality is that greed is still good in some people’s minds. We’re looking at you, Patrick Bateman.