Demystifying Gen Zs: How to meet the needs of this generation
By Audrey Heng
The financial services landscape is continually evolving, and so are the generations that shape it. Gen Z, individuals born between the mid-1990s and the early 2010s, represents a demographic cohort that possesses distinct perspectives on financial planning. Explore what holds the most significance to this target audience and learn more about the strategies employed by fellow MDRT members from Singapore to better connect with them and meet their unique financial needs.1. Financial education
Gen Zs seek a thorough understanding of insurance concepts and the significance of coverage. A study by the Oliver Wyman Forum found that substantial portion of Gen Zs experience financial anxiety, with 40% more likely to report that "money stresses me out" compared to older generations. Thus, there is a significant opportunity for advisors to provide valuable guidance in navigating the intricacies of financial planning.
Shermaine Tan, a two-year MDRT member, leverages her past experiences to help Gen Z clients better navigate their financial decisions. Particularly for university-age clients, one of the scenarios she shares for students who are self-financing, is deciding between using the Central Provident Fund (CPF) education loan or a bank loan in Singapore. She adds that “the multitude of terms can be overwhelming, making (students) feel unprepared to comprehend or undertake such decisions. Having someone who has navigated this process and can chart a path for future repayments can provide these students with greater reassurance.”
In line with that, the concept of relatability is also pivotal when it comes to Gen Z. To this generation, trust is not solely built on expertise but also on authentic connections. Financial advisors will need go beyond offering just financial advice, but also striving to become relatable figures who genuinely understand and resonate with their clients' values and interests. In fact, a survey conducted by global public opinion and data company YouGov found that Gen Zs tend to trust people who look and sound like themselves more.
Marcus Chew, a one-year MDRT member, echoes such sentiments and observes that the attention span of Gen Zs for someone they perceive as old-fashioned is often much shorter. They also appreciate advisors who can adapt to their communication style, which often includes more informal and concise language. He approaches this by positioning himself as someone to look up to and take advice from. “As a fitness enthusiast, I aim to be a role model for clients and prospects who are interested in fitness as well. For example, I go beyond financial advice to share tips that would help them on their fitness journey or serve as a pacer for clients who go running with me,” he shares.
Advisors will need to strike a balance between professionalism and relatability in their interactions, ensuring they connect with clients on a personal level while upholding the integrity of their financial expertise. Tan shares that she too leverages her personal experience with self-financing, loans and financial management at an early age to empathize with the challenges her Gen Z clients face. She states, “Being able to relate to clients who have traversed the same path of self-financing puts me at a competitive advantage because I am able to say that ‘I have been through this as well’ when I was younger.”
3. Digital savviness
Having grown up in an era dominated by the internet, Gen Zs are often regarded as digital natives. This makes technology and social media integral parts of their lives. When it comes to financial services, this translates into their preference for things such as easy access to information, quick policy issuance and efficient claims processing.
Advisors also need to actively leverage digital tools, such as Zoom for virtual meetings, ensuring that communication is not only efficient but also aligns with Gen Z's digital lifestyle. By embracing such tools, advisors can seamlessly connect with their younger clientele, offering the convenience and accessibility that Gen Zs value.
Furthermore, with social media wielding such immense influence in the lives of Gen Zs, maintaining a robust online presence is crucial. For advisors who are looking to build a stronger brand on social media, Candice Ong, a five-year MDRT member, recommends starting by posting three Instagram Stories a day. She states, “This will help you develop a habit of consistent social media posting, making it feel more natural over time.” Moreover, to craft content that aligns with your target audience's persona, Ong suggests, “[Draw inspiration from] your own experiences and consider how you can make these experiences resonate with them. Social media requires experimentation to find your unique voice over time, rather than relying on a one-size-fits-all formula. This is because your unique and authentic voice is what they seek—you cannot fabricate it.”
Adapting to the evolving financial landscape shaped by Gen Z requires a dynamic approach. By embracing digital tools, maintaining a strong online presence, and offering relevant financial guidance, advisors can meet the unique expectations of this generation. Building trust through relatability remains at the core of these strategies. In this ever-changing world, financial advisors who connect on a personal level will not only succeed but also shape the future of financial planning for Gen Z.