December 8, 2016
By Bob Shullman
Being wealthy or becoming rich is perceived as a luxury by many Americans, based on the research we have been doing for many years among affluent and wealthy consumers who also happen to enjoy luxuries.
However, millennials – now the United States’ largest generation and imminently the future consumers of luxury products and services – are now encountering financial issues and challenges that the Gen-Xers and baby boomers never encountered when they were young adults.
Once millennials find a good, well-paying job – which is a major challenge for many – most start their careers with large student loans that the previous generations never had to pay off.
At the same time, many are working at organizations that have been showing less loyalty to their employees in recent years and that generally do not offer pensions except for 401ks to which the millennials must fund them, partially or in full.
In addition, they foresee a Social Security system they question will be of much assistance to them when they retire, and the likelihood of materially longer lifespans that they will need to fund if they wish to live the good lives to which they aspire.
Those challenges have very recently led to a notable media launch by Dow Jones. It is called Barron’s Next, a currently free news Web site that has been designed to help millennials understand today’s complex financial world including how to think about investing, how to manage their student debt, as well as deciding whether to buy or rent where they live among other topics.
Based on the surveys we have been executing for years, Barron’s is not what the vast majority of millennials typically read. Why?
Barron's current readers, according to its Web site are “…the people with whom the providers of mutual funds and ETFs, private bankers, insurers, financial advisors, accountants, attorneys, and retailers of fine luxury goods most want to do business. They read Barron’s Penta for insights into the issues that most concern them—wealth preservation and growth, estate transfers, investment options, risk analysis and tax planning. Plus, Penta explores lifestyle topics such as elegant travel, purchasing an heirloom watch, owning a private jet, collecting top wines, effective philanthropy and more.”
Rather than reorient their weekly magazine that has been published for about a hundred years to be inclusive of the millennial generation, Barron’s has very recently launched a digital-only version named Barron’s Next.
The title offers quick reads, videos and a stock index that it envisions will provide these younger adults with a quick and easy way to comprehend the economy and to consider becoming investors who will continue to read the more mature Barron’s publication as they mature.
Quickly taking stock
Barron’s Next plans to publish five to six stock-specific stories each day, most only 200 words in length to deal with the millennial generation’s need for very quick-reads, as well as a daily video reacting to market movements, plus a number of personal finance stories.
While the topics covered on Barron’s Next and Barron’s will be the same, the form of Barron’s Next’s content will not be the in-depth analyses and stories typically included in a Saturday issue of Barron’s, whose stories many time exceed 2,500 words.
WHAT WE believe Barron’s Next is offering to those millennials, who are already fortunate to be wealthy or aspire to become wealthy, is to start reading their millennial publication as a way to grow into the current Barron’s offerings and brand over time.
Bob Shullman is founder/CEO of The Shullman Research Center, Greenwich, CT. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.