Motivating Younger Generations to Invest

 Recently I spoke with Andrea Coombes, a writer for, about retirement investing. NerdWallet provides online tools and advice to help people make better financial decisions. We were commiserating about the challenge of motivating younger clients (i.e., those in their 20s) to even start investing, much less think about retirement.

I can relate. My early notions of “investing” were influenced by images of Gordon Gekko guys in three-piece suits and Mr. Moneybags from Monopoly. It took time and a bit of maturity before I had a serious investment plan in place. I missed some years of compounded growth and that’s one mistake I like to help younger clients avoid.

The concept of investing would probably be better received by young savers if it was framed differently and expressed in a way which appeals to their lifestyle choices. While many of us baby boomers are notorious for creating a lifestyle based on stuff, we see our younger clients taking a different route, creating a lifestyle centered around experiences. Kudos for that; any reduction to the amount of stuff in this world is noble indeed. On the other hand, endless pursuit of current, fleeting experiences can be too much of a bad thing.

Let’s frame investing in a way which speaks to our younger clients. Let’s describe it as a lifestyle choice of purchasing or (even better) subscribing to a desired experience … with a dose of delayed gratification.

My advice to those born after Talking Heads broke up: Dream of the lifestyle experiences you desire – both now and in the future – and start subscribing. And to be clear, subscribing is just a hip way of saying “pay monthly.”

If you subscribe to Netflix for entertainment, Blue Apron for dinners, or Orange Theory for fitness, why not subscribe to a 401(k) plan, an IRA or an investment account? Subscriptions can be structured to bring you both immediate joy and future financial wellness. And just like the Dollar Shave Club, a small monthly outlay in pursuit of your desired experience is all it takes to find your bliss. True, putting funds in a savings or a retirement account won’t be as memorable as trekking the Himalayas but it can still be a rewarding experience to see your nest egg grow. Just don’t post photos of your statements on Instagram, however tempting that may be.

All joking aside, living in the moment and setting something aside for the future is an excellent strategy for long-term success. We know finding the right balance between the two is tough, so if you need guidance my colleagues and I at Unified Trust are here to help. We can tailor a subscription service to your specific goals and leave you wise beyond your years.

For more tips on IRA investing from NerdWallet, click on the full article here.

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