5 Ways to Enhance Financial Literacy for Millennials

Typically defined as individuals born between 1985 and 1995 by PEW Research, Millennials are the demographic with the highest spending power, which is only set to grow over the next decade – but many millennials’ financial literacy is lacking. With an age range between 23 and 33 and a childhood spanning the digital revolution, Millennials are a great demographic to target for your financial literacy programs, often having a complex relationship with learning, technology, and finances. For example, while many millennials readily embrace and excel in digital and changing environments, they struggle with high student debt, job uncertainty, and an unstable housing market. They’re buying homes later, often in more debt, and less able to save or plan for retirement than nearly any recent generation before them.

Programs focused on financial literacy for Millennials can work to close some of these gaps, giving consumers the tools they need to make better decisions related to:

  • Savings
  • Budgeting
  • Loans
  • Mortgages
  • Spending habits
  • Saving for retirement


However, many organizations struggle with how to design a financial literacy program that can connect to millennials, especially since they rely on self-service and mobile apps rather than personalized information and human service. And, as always, the best financial literacy programs are going to be those that take into consideration the unique challenges and skills of their target audience. Here’s how you can make sure your program successfully teaches financial literacy for millennials.

5 Ways to Enhance Your Financial Literacy for Millennials:

1. Use Bite-Sized Information to Improve Financial Education for Millennials

Millennials have notoriously short attention spans and that does extend to learning. Any financial literacy program offered by your financial institution has to be easily digestible and broken into short pieces. While the general rule is that you have about 8 seconds of focused attention span, you can extend this by adding different types of media, more types of information, and by engaging in different ways.

While you don’t want to oversimplify, it’s ideal if financial education for Millennials is available in several formats, contains one point per lesson, and that students can return to modules to study them again if necessary. For example, you can introduce learning in short modules with a mix of audio and visual content paired with reading material and practical lessons or exercises. Adding gamification, especially on phones or tablets, is also a good idea.

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2. Make Your Financial Literacy Programs Accessible Anytime/Anywhere

A good financial literacy program should appeal to the lifestyle and habits of most millennials, who frequently use phones, travel a great deal, and often work remotely or from home. Creating mobile apps and digital programs that consumers can access from anywhere will enable you to connect with customers, even when they’re traveling or at lunch. For example, many millennials use their phones to read and study while on public transport, meaning that they want or need short and modular training that can be accessed from anywhere.

Here, digital platforms with modular content work extremely well, because millennials can access them on whichever devices they like. Cloud-based content also allows a student to move from device to device without losing progress and with access to the same devices. Financial literacy for millennials naturally necessitates a strong online portal for learning, which you can achieve by partnering with an existing solution or tool.

3. Keep Your Millennial Financial Literacy Program Relevant

While it’s easy to focus on retirement and pension planning as part of financial literacy, many millennials won’t be extremely interested. Try to maintain the focus of your financial literacy program for millennials on information actually relevant to their needs now. For example, building credit and savings, buying their first home, paying off student or credit card debt, and so on. While you can create some focus on long-term learning, the bulk of your financial literacy for millennials should be on relevant financial issues that a 23-33-year-old would face now. If you can identify that millennials in your demographic are struggling with student debt, creating financial education for millennials dealing with student debt and reconsolidating other debt to make payments easier could be hugely beneficial to your brand.

Staying relevant can be difficult simply because millennials span a 10+ year age gap and aren’t always facing the same financial difficulties. Modular financial literacy programs can help, enabling each individual to study what they need and skip what they don’t, rather than being forced through the entire course. If programs are online-only, you could use self-assessment questionnaires to give individuals a better way to gauge their own proficiency, or you could leave it to the discretion of a teacher in real-life and hands-on environments such as at events.

4. Keep Your Financial Literacy for Millennials Authentic

While you obviously want to use branding as a way to drive value from crafting financial literacy for millennials, it’s crucial that you stay authentic and keep the focus on the consumer. Going too far and integrating sales and call-to-action statements instead of simply focusing on education will lose you any trust you build by offering the financial literacy program. Instead, focus on creating an authentic experience and interaction, where your primary goal is to help your consumer first, even if they aren’t a direct customer, and build brand awareness or trust second. No financial education program will drive direct sales, and you shouldn’t be building it to do so.

Keep your tone of voice informative and helpful, offer genuinely helpful information, and ensure that anyone working on financial literacy events in real-life is aware that they are there to teach and to help rather than to drive sales.

5. Build Trust with Financial Literacy Programs for Millenials

While trying to make a sale right away as part of a financial literacy program will not drive sales, following up with more or personalized information may. For example, if you can build trust through a financial literacy program, you can follow up with customized over personalized advice, with no obligation for a sale or to purchase a product. Creating follow-ups gives you the opportunity to separate individuals who aren’t interested in more from those who are and then to further target your offers to each consumer so that you only offer something relevant and helpful to each potential consumer. Because this connects well with goals of building long-lasting relationships, it’s an excellent way to build on already existing trust.

Financial literacy is increasingly important as many millennials struggle with large amounts of debt, accrued through both study and through poor spending habits. Teaching basic financial literacy will help you to reduce debt, increase savings, and give many individuals the tools to begin planning to buy their own home or to pay off student debt. It also gives you a platform with which to connect to millennials and begin to build trusting relationships.

Creating financial literacy programs in a way that is appealing, engaging, and informative to millennials is the most important step because the program is where you will connect.

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Looking for even more insights about the largest generation on the planet? Download the webinar to hear from our experts on Gen Z.