Solving the Millennial, Gen X, and Baby Boomer Generational Puzzle

generationsWith all the talk of Millennials, it's easy for credit unions to lose focus on Generation X and Baby Boomers. Yet, doing so would be at your own peril. Even though Millennials are the largest generation in history, Boomers still hold the keys to the kingdom—where cash is king. According to the Federal Reserve, they have a reported average net worth of $1,066,000 and a median net worth of $224,000.

However, the future clearly lies in the hands of Millennials and Generation X—with an expected $30 trillion transition of wealth to these generations over the next decade. Because all of these things are true, it's imperative for credit unions to meet each generation where they are. Let's put the pieces together to learn how credit unions can solve this often puzzling puzzle.

A new way to court Millennials

While the digital banking preferences of Millennials are well documented, new research explores the unparalleled value this generation places on word-of-mouth referrals. In fact, 75% of consumers between the ages of 18 and 26 choose their main banking institution based on referrals. With this in mind, credit unions should leverage their valued relationships with older members to efficiently woo their younger relatives. Whether it's establishing a formal referral program or encouraging your team to have conversations, Baby Boomers and Generation X could be the key that unlocks access to younger Millennials.

Boomers like tech and human touch

Contrary to popular belief, Baby Boomers aren't intimidated by technology and are adopting it at a rapid pace. For instance, only 25% had smartphones in 2011, but the rate of adoption jumped to 68% in 2019. While they are becoming more connected by the day, Baby Boomers still value the power of the human touch. At the same time, Baby Boomers are extremely loyal with 58% of them never having switched financial institutions.

Armed with this information, credit unions can launch loyalty programs designed to deepen the relationship and increase product purchases among this generation. As a bonus, credit unions can also leverage social media as a way to connect and create genuine engagements with Baby Boomers because 82% of people over the age of 50 have at least one social media account.

Meeting Generation X in the middle

As the Jan Brady of generations, Gen Xers are sandwiched and often overlooked. However, Gen Xers are entering the sweet spot of their earning years. Specifically, they will double their overall share of wealth in the U.S. to 31% by 2030 based on research from Deloitte University Press. To put this into perspective, the financial assets of Gen Xers will almost be two times that of Millennials. In addition, highly independent and entrepreneurial Generation Xers own 46% of small businesses. Offering easy-to-use self-service business management tools can be an excellent way to cater to this demographic.

On the other hand, 47% of Generation Xers care for young children and aging parents simultaneously, so they may place a high value on personal guidance and financial planning. However, they want it seamless and on their own terms. While 86.5% of Gen X use mobile banking apps for a range of tasks, this cohort values cross-channel, digital tools that allow frictionless financial management.

Meet each generation where they want to be met with FLEX

In the end, credit unions must acknowledge the specific interests of younger generations while continuing to meet the needs of older cohorts. Fortunately, FLEX provides a comprehensive suite of technology, including an integrated marketing services system designed to facilitate cross-generation and cross-product marketing in a smart, yet simple way to deliver customized, targeted mailings to members and more. Take a minute and download our Member Services eGuide--it will give you a look at how you can give your members a seamless experience across all channels.

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