Millennial Money Survey with Kelly Lannan

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The team at Fidelity has always had a special place in my heart. For those of you who may not know, when we opened our first small Gym location and had a shoe string budget, Fidelity actually sponsored the gym opening because they loved how we help women and young people, and really all people, manage their finances better. So I’m excited to welcome back to the show Kelly Lannan, Director of Young Investors at Fidelity, to talk about their recent Millennial Money Survey and what themes she sees from her travels and talks with young people about money.

What Are We Drinking?

Kelly — Aquafina water bottle (refilled)

Shannon — Black Cherry Schweppes and club soda

Podcast Notes

  • Kelly never imagined herself in financial services. She thought she had to like math and be good at math to work in the industry.
  • Kelly was a double major in history and political science in college and was also one credit away from being a music minor. 
  • After graduation, she had an epiphany. She needed money to have fun, so Kelly went into the restaurant industry for a few years.
  • It was when Kelly went to grad school to get her MBA, that she started considering a career in financial services. It was mostly because of the students she met while she was in her MBA program. It opened her eyes to the opportunities available.
  • Kelly has been in her current role at Fidelity for three years. It was powerful to her to be able to help people. She was previously on this podcast in October 2016.
  • There are a lot of things in the financial services you learn on the job. Everyone should work in the restaurant industry at some point in their career. 
  • Kelly does a lot of college campus tours. College students are now Gen Z. About half of the students she interacts with are interested. The other half are there because they want extra credit or because they were dragged there by a friend.
  • She can get students excited by using personal stories. It’s about letting this age group know that, at the end of the day, everything you want to in life, you need money to do so, it is something everyone can relate to.
  • The Gym doesn’t partner with colleges or go to college campuses, because it doesn’t really hit home, until you are making financial decisions that impact your life. There is a college program at the Gym, but there are only a handful of people in it – typically those with a side hustle or working.
  • When it comes to working, many in Gen Z are actively pursuing the gig economy, where they may not have access to benefits, such as retirement. YouTube is their biggest form of social media. They will need to look for opportunities to save for retirement.
  •  The Gym has a significant Millennial population. 
  • This is the third Millennial Money study, and Fidelity focused on Millennials ages 22 through 37 throughout the country. The study found that Millennials do care about their health and happiness, but they are very mindful about their future financial security. It was found that 66% of Millennials said saving for their future was just as gratifying as living in the moment today.
  • Shannon sees this with her Millennial clients, where they want to be prepared for their future.
  • The survey showed that priorities included: paying essential living expenses, having an emergency fund, and saving for retirement.
  • Beyond financial health, young adults really emphasized their mental and physical health. About 25% said their mental health (therapy and counseling) was an essential expense. Compared to Gen X and Boomers, this is a much larger expense.
  • Gym trainers see many clients list sacred cows as gym memberships and therapists/life coaches.
  • The survey found that over 60% said social media had a negative effect on their financial well-being. Over 20% said FOMO, fear of missing out, was the number one thing that was driving them to splurge. It’s not just keeping up with friends, but celebrities.
  • FOMO is a bigger issue than YOLO (you only live once).
  • Our phones make it so easy to spend money! Put some parameters in place to make you pause. 
  • Top four tips from Fidelity: (1) set boundaries around spending. Social media does not show the full picture; (2) Set goals and a plan to achieve them; (3) Mindful spending. Make sure you are spending on things you really care about; (4) Never hesitate to ask for help.
  • Turn FOMO into JOMO – the JOY of missing out. #JOMO
  • What are your sacred cows? What two to three expenses would you protect? You cannot have a herd of them. The biggest problem clients have is knowing where their money is going. It is so easy to spend. 
  • Most people are not managing their money well, so drop the shame and learn from people who are managing it well. Ask around and keep looking for what works for you. 
  • Fidelity created mymoney website to clear out the jargon and help Millennials find what they are looking for. 
  • Fidelity recently introduced the Zero Funds that eliminates all account minimums, all fees, and allows you to open an account with no money. Fidelity is also eliminating the expense ratio in their index funds and giving it back to customers. This is unique in the industry.
  • Investing gives your money more potential to grow. These Zero Funds remove some barriers. Fidelity lowered the minimum on their robo-advisor, Fidelity Go, from $5,000 to $10 to open and fund an account.
  • A common theme of Millennials is a fear of investing, because they watched their parents lose money in 2008 and 2009. The only way to keep up with inflation is by investing it. 
  • Millennials are living their best life, but they care about their future. They are saving and investing. 

Takeaway: My biggest takeaway is the word of warning around the concept of FOMO. At the Financial Gym, we are frequently talking about JOMO or the Joy of Missing Out. We all have to make choices in our life when it comes to money, and missing out on something at present isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It frequently means that you’re giving yourself the opportunity to experience an even greater joy down the road.

Random Three Questions

  1. What is your most used emoji?
  2. If a movie was made about your life, what would the genre be and who would play you?
  3. What was your least favorite food as a child and do you still hate it?

Connect with Fidelity

Website: fidelity.com/stack

If you’d like a little help managing your FOMO, my financial trainers are
the ultimate BFF, best financial friend, to help you with that. I want to let you know that if you’ve ever thought about joining the Gym, you really need to consider signing up before the end of the year. A little insider tip for all of you listeners is that our rates are going up January 1, but if you sign up for before the end of 2018, you can lock in our rates now. You don’t have to start your membership until January 2019, but you need to sign up before the end of this year. So head over to, or send friends to, financialgym.com to lock in your low rates today.

And until next time, take care!!

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