On Millennials (By a Millennial)

by Maxwell Schmitz A large Disability Insurance carrier recently commissioned a study done by graduate students at Georgia State University. The study was comprised of a survey about general financial preparedness, and then was followed by a series of questions (and answers) about disability income insurance. Participants ranged between the age of 18 and 34, and their responses have fueled some interesting conclusions that are turning heads in the disability income world. 1) Financial Freak-Out Most Millennials in this survey feel intense financial pressure. 60% reported Significant, High, or Extreme financial stress. It's commonly reported that younger people are stuck in a bind among massive student loans and insurmountable home prices and basic living expenses in many parts of the country. The participants in this study were not exempt from these real-world problems. Many participants have an up-close view of what a disability looks like. 48% reported knowing someone whose health prevented them from going to work or school for longer than 30 days. We in this field understand the ubiquity of a disability. It turns out that many young people can easily see the financial struggles that are faced by their family and friends when left unprotected. 2) Knowledge is Power Following the disability insurance portion of the survey, the participants were asked about their views on having an income protection plan. An astonishing 96% said they would recommend disability insurance to their friends and family. 55% said they were Likely or Most Likely to buy disability insurance themselves. 42% were still Undecided. Less than 7% were uninterested. 3) #Feedback When asked about some general recommendations for how to sell and market disability insurance, they volunteered the following: Focus on mental health. Younger people are acutely aware of the mental health epidemic in our nation--anxiety, post-traumatic stress, bipolar disorder, suicidal ideation, or depression. These are everyday illnesses that have a huge impact on their friends and family, so don't be afraid to lay it on the table. Invincibility is a real belief, so identify the short-term risk. Millennials admitted to a feeling of invincibility. That means they are not interested in protecting themselves from an illness that could be thirty years away. They want their immediate needs protected. Take a walk in their shoes and identify the most basic essentials that they can't live without. Discount products need to be available. Discounts were extremely popular among Millennials. They want to see affordable options. Because if you're not showing a more affordable alternative, they'll take it upon themselves to find one--and they'll remain unprotected until they do have a solution. Find them in their natural habitat: social media. Facebook is still an engaging platform for many Millennials. Snapchat offers an immersive advertisement experience when the right techniques are used. And Instagram was the most commonly used social media tool of them all. 4) The Bottom Line The largest impediment to Millennials' purchase of DI? It's not the price, the product, or the lack of need. It comes down to awareness. Only two-thirds of participants reported knowing something about disability insurance. And by the looks of the rest of their answers to some of the survey questions, it turns out most had only heard the term and didn't know much else. That means we have a wide open opportunity to bring this subject to light without any prior misconceptions. As an advisor, you reserve the privilege of introducing your Millennial clients to DI and you have a completely clean slate to work from. We're here to help you get started!