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The Lost Generation

July 15, 2011
I want to treat this blog as a forum for discussion. That’s why your comments are always encouraged, especially if you post them here for all to read and spark further conversations. I also envision others using this blog to have their say. Today, while I’m in Washington, D.C., I have turned the blog over to Elizabeth Snyder, Director of Advocacy and Public Policy for the American Fraternal Alliance, for a young(er) perspective. Take it away, Elizabeth…

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[caption id="attachment_594" align="alignright" width="113" caption="Elizabeth Snyder"][/caption] It wasn’t surprising that a guy in his early thirties wrote an article titled “The Lost Generation?” for National Underwriter. Michael Stanley did an informal survey of his friends (aged 22-31) and learned that while many were employed, married, and homeowners none of them had life insurance policies – they didn’t feel that they’d been marketed to, and agents certainly weren’t going after them. (Newsflash – a fancy Facebook page does not mean an insurance company is reaching young professionals who don’t even know why they need insurance.) It’s true that today’s younger financial services consumers may feel that life insurance isn’t something they need. The stock market is more fun, and many people have 401(K)s. But talk to a young professional about their future and you may hear a twinge of fear; many of us were starting our careers when the market crashed and hung on through layoffs and company shutdowns, if we were lucky. Our parents, friends, and neighbors lost their jobs, homes, and years of savings. All of a sudden kids who grew up in middle-class backgrounds faced the unthinkable: this could happen to us. The 25-or 30-year-old of today is different than his peers of 20 years ago. The future is uncertain, and youthful optimism has dimmed. Smart financial services providers need to go beyond a token Facebook page or Twitter account to really reach out to the young professional consumer – and recognize his or her needs. While younger consumers may not know much about life insurance, they do know that life is different in this new and unstable economy. And they want to know what they can do to protect themselves and their loved ones. Michael Stanley concluded his article by urging life insurers to market more aggressively to Gen X and Y. I couldn’t agree more. Protecting our futures is a major worry – will your agents be the ones to help younger generations, and their new families, stay secure?