An Open Letter to the Financial Services Industry From a Concerned Millennial
By Liesel Pritzker Simmons, Blue Haven Initiative
[ Article from the July 2014 issue of GreenMoney ]
As a millennial, I have recently noticed a flurry of studies, articles, and reports about my generation, authored by a diverse range of interested parties. Quite a bit of the pure sociological data suggests that the 80 million of us born between 1980 and 2000 are narcissistic, lazy, and optimistic to the point of being delusional - it's enough to make me want to delete that selfie!
Interestingly, the selfish characteristics so rampant in the sociological studies seem to dissipate when researchers start looking at how we millennials spend our time and money. We want our work to have meaning for ourselves and the world, and we place a higher value on consumer goods that have some sort of beneficial social or environmental impact. Climate change is not a debate for us, and we probably still nag our parents about separating the trash from the recycling. Although we are generally more conservative in our investment decisions than previous generations (can you blame us?), we are willing to take on more financial risk if it increases exposure to ESG impact. Impact Assets recently authored this excellent Issue Brief outlining many of the attitudes of millennial investors.
There is little doubt in my mind that the plethora of studies on millennials, and particularly the way they intend to invest their money, will continue to multiply, for underpinning nearly every report is one essential, ubiquitous fact: millennials will inherit over $30 trillion from the baby boomers in North America alone. This is the largest transfer of wealth the world has seen to date, and it could present an enormous opportunity for the financial services industry. If only advisors knew what these selfish, self-less millennials wanted to do with their assets...?
To add anecdotes to data, my own motivations as a millennial investor stem from a few formative experiences that fundamentally shaped my worldview. I grew up in a very wealthy family, but one that valued hard work and giving back. I was brought up with a firm understanding that I had an obligation to help leave the world a little better than I found it - with great fortune comes great responsibility...
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GreenMoney Journal is an award-winning eJournal and website that focuses on sustainabile investing and business. GreenMoney Journal was founded by Cliff Feigenbaum in 1992 and today he serves as Publisher and Managing Editor of this very trusted brand. Cliff is also the co-author of "Investing With Your Values" (Bloomberg Press, NYC). In 2013 Mr. Feigenbaum was named as one of the Top 100 people in Trustworthy Business by Trust Across America.