Banks play a pivotal role in many major milestones in a customer’s journey—first jobs, saving for big goals, taking charge of their future—but how do you move from being a transactional partner to building a true relationship, grounded in loyalty? That’s the goal for many financial institutions. Here at Bumped, we’ve been designing a new loyalty platform that helps build deeper connections, drive the customer behaviors that matter most, and introduce a bank’s customers to the right products at key moments, in the most compelling way.
In our last post, we discussed student behavior as they navigate the worlds of banking and finances. As we move further along the metaphorical customer journey, we’d like to share some of what we’re seeing as both millennials and Generation Z (Gen Z) leave childhood behind and approach (or find themselves enmeshed in) “adulting”—and what that means for their financial needs and wants.
Early adulthood comes with all kinds of decisions: Investing is one. These are important choices that affect how potential investors get involved in the market—and even if they get involved in it at all. This is all about understanding their relationship with finances, banking, and investing.
In a later blog, we'll examine other life decisions that may affect investing habits, such as buying homes, having kids, and finding financial institutions that suit their needs. For now, let’s build understanding of where these customers are at.
Frugal vs. frivolous
First, let’s examine some key differentiators between these generations in how they think about money.
Unlike their elder millennial counterparts (born between 1981 and 1994), Gen Z tends to be more conservative and frugal when it comes to their spending. 35 percent of Gen Z say they plan to start saving for retirement in their 20s, versus 12 percent of millennials. Also, only a quarter of Gen Z expect to receive retirement money from the government, versus a third of millennials.
Gen Z has a drive to achieve their long-term financial goals, and they prioritize tomorrow’s returns over today’s quick-fixes. They saw what happened to their parents in the 2008 recession, and are wary of traditional financial institutions. According to a study by Ernst and Young, 57 percent of Gen Z responders said they prefer to save money than spend it immediately.
Also, they are well-prepared for money management in digital form; for example, they don’t blink an eye about things like using artificial intelligence (AI) or robo-investing to handle what they do in the market. Students too young to invest on their own (under 18) may also be interested in gamified investing tools to check out what the market does before giving it a try for real. Really, tools like that can be geared to anyone, especially through an app with intuitive design, or friendly, human education. It’s up to financial institutions to meet these expectations, and make investing as easy as the new generation anticipates.
Overall, young people are transitioning into the workforce and earning money at a much later age than they were 30 years ago. The age at which young adults are hitting median wage earnings has increased from 26 to 30 between 1980 and 2012.
One reason is that the time from high school student to full-time employee is becoming less and less linear for many.
We can attribute this to the rise of the gig economy, more chances to shift to new career fields, and the idea of learning before earning. Students may work, and then take some time off to learn more. Or they may be starting their own businesses. They may even stay in school for a longer period of time with the goal of landing a higher-paying job once they’re done. Young adults are combining work and learning at earlier stages to accelerate their launch into full-time careers or their own hustles.
But if they’re not in regular jobs, with easily accessible retirement plans, how are they saving? How are they investing? This is where Bumped comes in—beginning with automated stock rewards when they swipe or spend. It’s a natural evolution of brand loyalty, allowing young people to start participating in the market sooner, all while supporting the brands they believe in.
Let's talk about how empowering your young adult customers can build a stronger relationship as they continue to grow. Learn the details at BumpedforBrands.com.