The Millennium Generation: Who Changes the World of Financial Services
How and in what are young people who grew up in the digital age ready to invest
Without irony, a woman who seeks to change the world of financial services gives us an interview in a conference room named after her by Warren Buffet, who does not trust new technologies. She lists applications that have changed the way she communicates with the world for her generation: Uber for transport, Tinder for dates, and even Washio for laundry and dry cleaning. “By pressing the buttons on our phones, we can do whatever we need when we feel comfortable,” says a thirty-year-old New Yorker with a name more suitable for an eighty-year-old baroness.
Alexa von Tobel is sure that the world of financial services has ripened for the landing of young people with gadgets. And her company LearnVest has already begun an invasion of the area. Von Tobel has created a website and an app with which you can manage your money just as easily as we download music or shop on Amazon. For five years, she raised $ 72 million, including from Accel Partners Fund, Jim Breyer, one of Facebook’s first investors. During the April $ 28 million round, LearnVest was valued at a quarter billion.
And von Tobel is not the only one. According to CB Insights, over the past three years, more than $ 1 billion has been invested in high-tech personal finance management companies, only in the second quarter of 2014, investments reached a fantastic level of $ 261 million. Particular attention is paid to startups designed for young investors using convenient, Cheap, mobile-friendly software.
What are these startups? For example, Wealthfront, which helps young tech employees convert options into a diversified portfolio of exchange traded funds (ETFs). Betterment, automating the accumulation and placement of assets. Motif Investing, which allows small investors to invest in a business idea (for example, in the Chinese Internet or in cyber currency), and not in specific securities. “The generation of the millennium cannot be said:“ Trust us, go to sleep and let us manage your money, ”explains Motif Hardip Valia, 41, founder and CEO of Motif. “We want to attract them to our business.” All these companies have one thing in common: they are practical.
All of them require thoughtful leadership, long-term planning and the use of new technologies to reduce costs.
“I do not want to invest in only one company or in one sector. At the same time, I don’t want to devote all my efforts to managing my money, ”says Christina Cordoba, a 26-year-old Stanford graduate who invests with Wealthfront and forces the startup where she works to offer her a retirement plan. Maybe this is a manifestation of one of the few good consequences of the crisis that gave rise to the greedy generation, knowing the price of each dollar and the need to save at least one from the salary.
The stakes are very high. Public attention is drawn to people in their twenties returning to live in their parents’ home, or Lena Dunham and her part-time workers and mourning her fate as a girlfriend from the TV series Girls on HBO. Financiers see completely different representatives of the generation. According to Wealthfront, the millennium generation, which includes young people born after 1980, controls approximately $ 2 trillion in liquid assets. And this amount will grow significantly in the future, since it is precisely this generation that is now reaching the age most favorable for making money. In addition, a massive transfer of money to them begins from their parents, who belong to the baby boomer generation.
“We are influential people”
Financial startups and actively competing companies specializing in the management of inherited property, not only consolidate the savings of the millennium generation in their hands, but are also going to use this generation’s way of thinking for online innovations in the field of budgeting, planning and money management, which in turn will change the investment industry worth more than $ 30 trillion.
People in their fifties today gobble up Netflix online TV shows, send text messages, informing them that they are late, and trolling people on Facebook is no worse than their children. “The tipping point has already been passed,” says von Tobel about his generation. “We are the decision makers, we are influential people.”
And, as von Tobel is constantly convinced, – its stake in LearnVest theoretically costs tens of millions – those who help the millennium generation to gradually create small states can very quickly create several large ones.
Stephanie Halligan graduated from college in May 2009 and is a living confirmation of all the stereotypes about her generation: she clearly had no one needed a diploma (international relations), she received too expensive a private education (at Boston University), because of which she ended up in debt ($ 30,000) without any hope of employment.