Ryan Best, left, with father, John Best, says apps such as Venmo and Paypal are essentially "checking accounts that allow me to interface with other people."

‘Points are fun’

A conversation with a millennial on personal finance.

September 22, 2021

Ryan Best, marketing manager at Best Innovation Group (BIG), provided attendees of the 2021 CUNA Operations & Member Experience Council and CUNA Technology Council Virtual Conference with first-hand insights into how millennials view personal finance from both day-to-day and long-term perspectives.

BIG CEO John Best interviewed his son, who is 25 and recently married, during a general session on Tuesday. 

Ryan holds his primary checking account with Ent Credit Union in Colorado Springs, Colo. Both Ryan and John admit this is largely the result of John’s influence as a credit executive and advocate. 

Most of Ryan’s friends bank at larger institutions such as Wells Fargo, Chase, and USAA. While he tells friends about the benefits of credit union membership, but communicating that rates are better at cooperative financial institutions is a tough sell due to  a gap in financial education among his acquaintances.

“A lot of them wouldn’t even understand the rates they have on their loans and credit cards,” Ryan  says. “They certainly have the ability to understand, but we’re hit with so many messages on a daily basis. When everything’s important, how do you disseminate what’s really important and what’s not?”

That’s a significant change from the pre-digital age, notes John Best. “For our generation a good rate was a point of pride.”

What’s easy and attractive are points associated with credit cards, Ryan says. ”Points are fun.”

Ryan says he uses Venmo and PayPal for 90% of the transactions he makes each day.

He uses Venmo to pay rent, exchange money with friends and family, and pay bills. 

Ryan Best describes Venmo as “a checking account that allows me to interact with other people.”

‘We’re hit with so many messages on a daily basis.’
Ryan Best

Venmo is the person-to-person money transfer app that’s captured much of the market. Apple, Zelle, and other competitors were “late to the game,” says Ryan. “Venmo filled that gap.”

When Venmo rolled out a debit card, Ryan  acquired one right away.

As for acquiring wealth, Ryan’s next move is buying a home. “That’s a big step in building your financial wealth.”

But he believes his current prospects for obtaining wealth are “pretty grim,” mainly because of high rent and debt.

To learn more about obtaining a mortgage the two Bests did a YouTube search for “how mortgages work.” However, none of the videos in the search results were developed by financial institutions.

“Financial institutions don’t invest in that space,” Ryan says. “Financial institutions are most interested in three-hour seminars.” 

Ryan says he prefers 8- to 10-minute videos, skimming through the “fluff,” such as introductions, and viewing the primary content.

He also invests in cryptocurrency, although he doesn’t completely understand it. “I view it more as gambling.” 

Overall, with so many digital options, Ryan says his allegiance to Ent is based mainly on geography. “I like the local aspect, and it would be a big hassle to switch accounts,” he says.

This article is part of Tech21, CUNA News’ special focus on innovations and developments in technology. Search for the hashtag #Tech21 to follow the conversation on Twitter.