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Guest blog – What are financial services to a teenager?

 

A view from the world of financial services as Old Mutual Wealth Intern Bertie Cook, 20, puts forward his theories to why some teenagers are today so disengaged with something they will definitely be engaged with, tomorrow.

bank boxedMoney? Dough? Coin? Dosh? Moolah? Teenagers might know the 50 words for money but most don’t have a clue what financial services are and what they offer. Why should they?

Not many teenagers I know are aware of the importance of the financial services industry, yet come later life our finances dictate what we can and can’t do. I am rapidly approaching my 21st birthday and still a little unsure if I even get the gist of financial services. Yet I find myself as an intern working in the industry. However, I am a little daunted by the fact that not every teenager will get an opportunity to get to grips with the world of financial services at first hand.

So….why is the average youth so unaware of what financial services have to offer?

In my opinion, it boils down to how we consume news and other media. Financial services are not geared towards the younger generations, it does not talk to them and if it did, it’s in a language few would understand. Financial news contains elaborate data and eloquent phrases yet complex language that acts as a barrier. Trying to understand what’s being said is the hardest part, let alone retaining the information. Teens need short, sharp and easily digestible information. Not a £13.50 weekly subscription to the FT or a two page long article on mortgages in Money Management.

tax

What next? How can you get young adults captivated in news based on the financial services industry?

The way MyBnk brings money and enterprise to life is a case in point. I think that information and news regarding the industry has to become more accessible and relevant to younger generations. Regardless of access to financial education, teenagers are in serious danger of going into adulthood blind to the basic ins and outs of the financial services industry and the important role it plays in their lives. We need to communicate in their eco-system, apps, interactive web pages and social media – not by bombarding young people with sales and products, but providing information and clarity about the world of finance.

Surely someone in the industry must see the sustainability argument. The likelihood is our generation will not have a clue what to do with their money and make bad choices. I think it would be a safe bet to say that the majority of teenagers would go straight to the internet. Technology is our strong point; it’s what young people have faith in. Yet many companies that operate in financial services don’t have a massive online presence. A recent survey by the IAB revealed that 24% of the top spending 50 finance brands in the UK are yet to develop a mobile strategy.

I understand that from a business point of view teenagers are not where the money is at, but it is where the future lies! Investing time and knowledge into youngsters, in time, will pay off BIG.

Bertie CookBertie Cook is now studying Business Management as an Erasmus student at La Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, from Cardiff University. 

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