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When we launched MoneyLens, our jargon-free website to guide millennials like us through investing and money-saving decisions and dilemmas, we didn’t know how it would go.
There are a lot of websites in the world. In fact more than one billion domains (most no longer active) have been registered since Sir Tim Berners-Lee invented the “world wide web” in 1989. That’s before many millennials, the first generation to come of age in the new millennium, were even born.
Who were we to say another money website was needed?
I had a hunch my now team-mates, a group of young investment professionals, were on to something with the idea of a resource aimed specifically at tackling young people’s finances.
I decided to leave my job as a journalist at The Mail on Sunday and join the mission.
Less than a year after launching on May 24, MoneyLens has had more than 100,000 visitors. We’re pretty happy with that. We’re not barking up the wrong tree.
In a study by investment company Schroders (that’s our employer), 94% of millennials had said that they wanted to improve their investment knowledge compared to 85% for older generations.
We knew, as millennials ourselves, that the industry’s jargon and acronyms can be extremely off-putting. All the conversations we’ve had confirm that millennials ARE interested in managing their finances better, the problem is that they don’t know where to start.
Unfortunately along with flippant comments about millennials not caring about saving for the future, the tiresome “snowflake generation” headlines and avocado on toast jokes, it’s often said we have no money anyway.
Constantly telling us how hard up we are is hardly inspiring. In fact, encouraging the idea it’s not worth bothering is probably the most damaging thing of all.
Young people CAN make a difference to their financial futures with small amounts. Whatever your goals are, the earlier you take action, the better.
The millennial challenges we can’t ignore
Many millennials in the UK and across the pond in the US are facing financial challenges unique to their generation.
We’ve not imagined it. Figures from the Institute for Fiscal Studies revealed the financial crisis hit millennials hardest.
There’s the frightening student debts (the Bank of England is even reviewing the impact of student debt on financial stability), plummeting homeownership (down to one in four middle-income young people from two in three 20 years ago) and soaring rents (average rents in London have hit a record high of just over £2k per month).
We’re job-hopping (60% of millennials job-hopped in the last 3-10 years) and, perhaps not surprisingly, we’re starting to be called the “burnout generation” on top of being accused of not growing up.
It’s increasingly obvious that financial guidance for millennials needs to change.
When millennials make up a quarter of the world’s population – and in the US are on the cusp of outnumbering both baby boomers and generation X - the question people should really be asking is: how can we help millennials succeed? We’re not going anywhere…
The most read millennial money stories of 2018
Here are the stories that have generated the most interest. We’ve also offered some words from MoneyLens contributors below. But first, we thought it worth sharing this comment from a reader.
Nia says: “Most of the pieces I had read previously on investing were overly-complicated for people like myself who don’t have any prior knowledge of investing, or the different options available when choosing what to do with your money. MoneyLens has taught me that thinking about investing and money-saving doesn’t have to be out of reach to people who are clueless to the financial world and I’ve found the website makes these matters not only accessible but actually interesting! This website should be a must read for newbies like myself!”
Contributor Liam Hartley says: “Our generation doesn’t have it easy financially. And that’s why projects like MoneyLens are so important for young people. Understanding how to make sound financial decisions for your future is incredibly empowering and it doesn’t take long to reap in the rewards.”
Contributor Flora Munro says: “There is a huge demand for easy to digest and accessible information on investing and other money matters for millennials. We are often facing different financial challenges and decisions to our parents such as student loans and difficulty getting on the housing ladder, therefore we often need guidance. It is great to be part of MoneyLens, helping to provide this to answer those questions and offer relevant suggestions without the jargon and the usual stereotypes about millennials.”
Contributor Graham Wilson says: “With the mass of information available on the internet it is often difficult to know where to start when it comes to learning about investing, money-saving and for other useful financial tips. Many are put off by this. MoneyLens offers a solution: by explaining the basics in a clear and concise manner, it allows many to use MoneyLens as a spring-board to learn more. It is great to be part of a website that offers this insight to those keen to learn.”