In 2019, I stepped into a classroom to teach finance, expecting discussions about interest rates and budgets. To my surprise, however, the underlying narrative was different.
More than three quarters of students weren't there for textbook definitions; they wanted to secure a future where money didn't dictate their happiness.
Considering a staggering 82% of Generation Z and 81% of Millennials report financial stress, according to CreditWise, it's clear that the narrative in financial education needs to evolve. How can credit unions bridge this gap?
"Save now to enjoy later" is a mantra often taught in personal finance. But what if "later" feels too distant for the younger generation?
I want to create memories now, travel while I’m young, and have the energy to explore new places. These experiences yield lifelong "returns" in the form of cherished memories, just like dividends from investments, a concept I derived from Bill Perkins' “Die With Zero.”
A study by Intuit supports this sentiment, revealing that three out of four young people prioritize present life quality over hoarding for the distant future. So, for credit unions, the conversation should be about finding a balance between saving and experiencing life.
It's inspiring to see Gen Z and Millennials hustling, but at what cost? The desire to achieve can sometimes overshadow the importance of well-being.
And the consequence? Burnout. A troubling 44% of Gen Z and 43% of Millennials have left their organizations due to it, according to Deloitte [PDF].
This generation values mental health, with 82% emphasizing the need for mental health days. Also, more than three fourths prefer working in a hybrid or remote setting, showing the value they place on flexibility and balance.
The takeaway? They're eager to carve out their success stories, but not at the expense of their mental health.
While teaching, I felt the need to teach this to my students. This is what led to the creation of Cashy, an app-based life simulation game.
While its primary aim was to make financial education more engaging, another realization influenced its design: Why can't financial decisions also cater to happiness?
In Cashy, players need to grow their money while also remaining happy. For example, working overtime will increase your assets but decrease your happiness.
This mirrors real life, where financial choices interplay with mental well-being. Many credit unions have also adopted Cashy, recognizing its potential to resonate with younger members.
It's time to move beyond traditional financial products and genuinely understand Gen Z's and Millennials' aspirations and concerns.
Bring well-being into the discussion and engage with Gen Z and Millennials on a deeper level than other financial institutions. This is how you connect with them to attract new lifelong members.
MART VAINU is CEO and co-founder at Cashy.