The dream of just living, of not having to join in the rat race as it throngs towards the CBDs of our towns and cities, is rapturous.
Of course that’s not exactly a new idea, in fact, it sounds rather like retirement.
But for the internet generation, commanding the gig economy and taking advantage of remote working scenarios, high salaries and in-demand skills, it’s not an unrealistic dream.
The freedom to work in a way that allows for mid-career years off, for dramatic career changes and precise family planning, are the spirited demands of those fast making up the largest portion of Australia’s working population.
As Millennials shake off their ‘emotionally stunted’ and ‘digitally dependent’ stereotypes, their evolving lifestyles may prove lucrative for financial planners who have strategies to encompass their new wide ranging demands.
This offers financial planners a new wave of clientele, who are not averse to hard work and diligent saving plans, despite their media cliches, but only as long as their goals are understood.
Prepare for mini-retirements
Jobs are seen somewhat like “projects”.
Young people are more likely to move from job to job within two or three year time frames and prefer to contribute for the roll out of one product or the execution of a particular strategy, rather than commit for the long term to a business.
And rather than see it as disloyalty, this has emerged as a stable trend, as shown in research conducted by Gallup in 2018.
“I’ve been hired as a project manager for three years to oversee the construction of a new office tower,” says Jemma Myers, a 29-year-old engineer for a boutique construction firm in Melbourne’s east.
“I’ll work as hard as I can for those three years, save my money and then hopefully take a year or two off and travel, live in India and get my yoga teaching certificate.”
For financial planners, this working pattern will mean income time frames will be shorter and possibly less frequent over the decades.
This is not dissimilar to those working in the resources industry, where project frequency often dictates earning potential in regional Australia, so introducing strategies that smooth over working gaps may be beneficial here.
Depending on the industry of clients, financial planners may also need to take into consideration vesting options and employee stock ownership plans for those who pick up work in the burgeoning technology industries.
Prepare for side hustles
There’s work, and then there are side hustles.
Side hustles are the colloquial term for making extra money outside a full-time job, and often allow people to pursue a hobby or passion.
For the internet generation, the simplicity of setting up a business, whether it be an e-commerce trader or global freelancer, mean it’s culturally acceptable to have several lines of work at once.
Financial planners who can help young people establish good record keeping practices and develop clear ways to avoid mixing business and personal account expenses will find eager clientele looking to capitalise on their side hustles.
Often young people establish side hustles so they can reach a financial goal quicker, so ensuring superannuation and saving strategies are in place will likely help them develop a long-term relationship with a financial planner.
Prepare for perpetual upskilling
You only get paid for what you know.
Millennials are acutely aware of how technology is revolutionising the labour market and as such see upskilling as a necessary competitive advantage.
According to Deloitte’s 2018 Millennial Survey, 40 per cent of respondents suggested businesses were responsible for furthering their education, however a large portion are taking things into their own hands.
“Getting my masters has been top of my list for a few years,” says Douglass George, a 32-year-old policy adviser.
“So I’ve been putting away money each month so I can afford to study full-time in another country and still live. I’ll need a lot of money to do it, but I do think it will make a considerable difference to my earning power in the future. I see it as an investment in my career.”
Financial planners who are able to develop strategies and assist with portfolio construction that adhere to a short term time frame, while also pressing the importance of maintaining a regular superannuation contribution will be in demand.
Prepare for deliberate single parenting
More millennial women are considering raising children alone, rather than with a partner, more than ever before.
Research in 2016 by the Pew Institute, found Millennials for the first time surpassed all other generations in number of household heads who were single parents.
“I’m not avoiding finding a partner, but with the amount of traveling I do for work means it’s difficult to maintain a relationship,” says Tash Sorensen, a 29-year-old international news photographer, who is based in New York City but plans to return to Australia soon.
“I’ve always figured when I’d like to have a baby, I can do it by myself. There are lots of ways to do it now, I’m sure I can make it work.”
Professional planners who have clients from the internet generation will likely need to ensure those planning for single parenthood have considered their personal insurance arrangements as well as a clear outline of how much they need to be earning to support raising a child independently.
Despite difficult stereotypes hovering over Millennials in the mainstream media, financial planners who hope to tap into their growing wealth will need to come to terms with their lifestyle choices and develop ways they can achieve their goals in a world of rapidly evolving technologies and globalisation.
Jessica Sier is head of content at Spaceship, a fintech startup based in Sydney.