The Millennial and Gen X Financial Journey

2 men and a women looking over a paper

The financial services industry is a deeply customer focused one. In the past less personalized practices were used, but now, financial companies look to gain a deeper understanding of their customers’ journey by understanding the life stages and emotional touch points they may make with their finances and financial provider. While many consumers choose to stay with the financial providers that their parents chose for them, certain life events do come into play that can lead consumers to look at or reach out to other financial options. Understanding how consumers feel during these life stages, particularly when it comes to planning and learning about their options, is important to the strategy financial services teams take.

Additionally, financial service providers are now incorporating more advertising tactics, incentives, and educational content in order to encourage customers to look at other options. However, with the rise of online banking and increased autonomy in managing finances online, it’s less clear what tactics and channels work best with what consumers and when. As a result, this research looked to understand the financial customer journey among the rising generations and the opportunities financial providers have to reach them at these critical moments.

The Research

Our research sought to determine what communication tactics and channels financial providers could use to develop the right marketing strategy based on the customer journey. We used the following objectives to guide our research:

  1. Understand how consumers feel about and use their current financial provider(s) and why
  2. Determine what makes consumers switch or look at other financial options, specific to the advertising and communication techniques financial providers use

The Results

Financial consumers are very loyal to their current providers and feel satisfied with using them for a variety of financial accounts.

images of qualitative video responses

The majority of consumers are looking to utilize their financial provider to help pay off debts as they work towards more saving in the future, particularly Millennials. Most have a checking and savings account, but many also have a variety of credit and investment accounts. And through video responses, both Millennials and Gen Xers showed positive sentiments towards their current financial providers.

More than anything, financial providers should focus on providing existing and potential customers with streamlined processes and great customer service.

When it comes to the location and mobile services specifically, financial providers must be prepared to offer a quick and convenient solution. Customer service is also a key reason consumers stay with or leave their providers.

IRG Respondent

I used to bank with a different provider, but their rates and customer service didn’t compare to that of the local credit unions.


Opportunities for financial providers to capture new consumers in their communications lies in the ability to promote an easy transition, customer service, and minimal fees.

Most consumers mention how loyal they are to their current financial provider and that in order for them to leave them, the provider would have to make some kind of mistake. Additionally, switching seems like a highly frustrating process, so unless it could be an easy transition and provide an added benefit to them, it’s unlikely many would consider switching.

IRG Respondent

I dislike having to spend a lot of time at the bank and most times opening and closing a bank account requires that. There should be a better way to make the process more concise, perhaps making some forms to fill online to at least get the process started.


How consumers feel about their current financial provider—in their own words via video responses. Download the full report to understand what messaging and communication channels would be best to communicate financial offers to existing or potential customers. You’ll see the differences between Millennials and Gen Xers when it comes the financial journey; you’ll also learn

  • Current frustrations consumers have with their financial providers
  • The impact of email, direct mail, TV, and web advertising channels have when it comes to financial communications
  • The most influential factors in a consumer’s decision to choose a new provider and how financial providers can improve their communications based on those factors
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