Credit Union Geek

Marketing, Strategy, and The Force by Joe Winn

Tag: gen y (page 1 of 2)

What Would Your Members Say?

Originally published on CUInsight.com

Imagine a room filled with your members. All of them. Ones who have made your credit union their primary financial institution and those who hardly know you exist. Offer each a blank index card.

A third grade teacher in Denver did this exercise with her students. What was asked of them? To write down what they wished their teacher knew about their lives. They could add their name or leave it anonymous. Surprising truths flowed. One explained how homework was challenging because they didn’t have pencils at home. Another lamented delays in getting their mom’s signature on school forms because they didn’t see her often. It was a moving exercise, and offered valuable, if heartbreaking, advice to the teacher.

Before getting back to the credit union talk, let’s make it clear: Teachers like her are doing important work and should be recognized/compensated as such.

Do you see how this exercise could be of value for your credit union? If you handed out index cards to all your members, what would be written?

When I’m teaching martial arts classes, I often ask a student what someone will do if they use a certain move. “I don’t know,” is a fair answer. How can you be sure of their reaction? Well, you do that technique, and see their response!

What will your members wish you knew? Well, you ask! We read articles daily about how to connect with Millenials (Gen Y). Like everyone else, they want a say. They want a deliberate effort to engage, not a new promotion or product. Connect and learn. What if it became an industry effort? Say, using social media under the hashtag #OurMembersWish. Now that’s @asmarterchoice I can support.

There’s a fantastic TED Talk describing one way to get into a mission, rather than product, centric, mode of thinking with a process called Golden Circle. You’ll recognize it in use with companies like Apple and Harley Davidson, in people like Elon Musk, as well as every non-profit you know.

The index cards? Yeah, they’re in that supply closet, just down the hall. Grab a bunch.

Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/garylerude/2815430150/

5 Ways to Better Budget for Tuesdays

You’ve read a whole lot of “5 Ways to” posts around the web. And I’m sure they were all helpful. But this is the last one you need, for finance, at least. Yep, I’ve figured it out. The ultimate congregation of brainpower, diligent research, and sheer brawn comes together in this list. Not only will my readers become instantly wealthy, they’ll meet the person of their dreams and join together to purchase that island they’ve always wanted. Because they followed these five tips.

Oh, you want to see them? Sure, you could scroll down and skip all this amazing writing, but then you’d miss out on exclusive reveals of industry statistics and trends. (Disclaimer: This post will contain no exclusive reveals of industry statistics or trends. But who reads disclaimers?) Hey, did you know that people who spend money they don’t have find themselves in rough situations? Yes, I spent 20 years living in the Everglades in order to bring you that information. Let me tell you, the mosquitoes are bad, but, they pay their debts.

During that time, I was also investigating the idea of generational gaps in financial literacy. Turns out, Filene Research was doing the same thing, and likely with much better controls than mine (alligators represented Boomers, escaped pythons slithered in for Gen X, and ospreys flew by for Millenials). While all I learned was that alligators sometimes get eaten by pythons (unsuccessfully) and ospreys respond to your call (also, they have really sharp talons), Filene generated a useful study. Their results told us about how poorly various groups (separated by age, sex, ethnicity, and economic class) understand basic financial concepts. But who wants to hear what we’re bad at? You know what we rock in? Spending. A-mer-ic-a! A-mer-ic-a!

The average American household carries $7,400 in credit card debt. Counting only the ones who have debt of any kind, that average rises to $15,863. Mmm, interest payments. I’ll give you a hint: That costs a lot more than just the debt.

So, you’ve stuck with me this long, and I do appreciate it. But that’s only because you know this is the last of the 5 Ways lists you’ll ever need. And now it’s almost over. What will you do with all your newfound time after this post is complete? Learn to play an instrument? Speak another language? The possibilities are endless. Except for poorly managing your finances, because we have that fixed.

What are my ultimate 5 Ways to Better Budget for Tuesdays? (You have my permission to use it for Thursdays also, but absolutely not Wednesdays!)

  1. Spend less money.
  2. Make more money.
  3. Save more money.
  4. If you owe someone money, pay it back.
  5. If you can avoid owing someone money, do that.

Go ahead, share them, far and wide. Credit me, or don’t. It’s the information that matters.

You’re welcome, America.

Rationale behind this post: The discussion on why financial literacy is so bad in the United States can be traced to a lack of education in traditional schooling. Not a surprise. However, later in life, people are faced with countless advice sources, from articles to newscasts, to “5 Steps” posts similar to this. Some of these offer productive advice (which can be simplified into the previous list), but many create more problems than they solve. I wanted to poke fun at the near obsessive sharing of these types of lists with a tongue-in-cheek discussion. The funny part? If you’re reading this, you are among a privileged few. Those who never got this far must be thinking, “Gosh, that CU Geek is a real jerk!” Must be fun to get distracted so quickly.

Living In Airplane Mode

“No, it was 1963, I’m sure of it!” “It’s 1964, really.” “Oh just Google it.” “Hmm, it says here 196…WHAT IS THAT?!”

Pointing out the monster on the wing is way better than being proven wrong by the omniscient Google. It wasn’t always this simple to drop a knowledge bomb, though.

How quickly we forget. In 2007, Apple ushered in the modern smartphone era. Before the iPhone, we either had “smart” phones or Blackberry’s. Neither category was particularly good at browsing the Internet. No Siri or Cortana in those days, either. Unless it was essential, you waited to research when back at a computer. But the web still had hold.

Let’s go back even further, before the Internet, like, the 80s. Big hair, boomboxes, leg warmers, neon clothing…got it? If you didn’t know something, you asked another person. Or, crazy as it sounds today, drove to the library. Society operated without all the answers at our fingertips and Def Leppard had no idea how much reverb they used.

Last month, I met a group of friends in Peru to hike the Inca Trail. 5 days, 4 nights of grueling steps, towering mountains, and no wi-fi. We used our phones solely as cameras and flashlights. Roughing it, I know. The separation from our always-on culture began on the flight to Lima. “Please switch all cellular phones to airplane mode.” My phone remained in this state until landing again in Florida. Have you seen roaming charges?

A number of times during our trek, a question was posed. Nothing too substantial, just, “hey, what song has the line?” or “how long is that other trail?” Yet we couldn’t look it up! Being disconnected caught us all off-guard. And it was wonderful.

When instant answers are available, conversations falter. With no reason to think, debate, or discuss, you move on to the next topic. No depth, no connection. Call me old-fashioned, but I enjoy a chat wherein we don’t have every fact at our immediate disposal. Imagine a debate about sports stats…done with a Siri request. Sure, now we all know, but where was the fun, the light-hearted arguments, the silly bets, and the social bonds?

Lifestyle guidance sites sometimes recommend disconnect periods, full separation from technology, to get back with yourself. Whether it’s an hour a day or a week per year, the effect is the same; active thought coupled with in-person communication.

It’s tempting to want every new technology for your members, and I’m not suggesting abandoning any of these efforts. Millennials and other generations alike seek the simplicity of modern conveniences. However, once you have these things, everyone is the same. Whether you’re a $5B national credit union, a $25M community charter, or a bank with America in its name, the experience is similar. If your member turns on Airplane Mode, do you stand out?

Image credit: https://support.apple.com/en-us/ht204234

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