HENRYs Are Worried About Their Money
How Banks Benefit from Educating High-Earning Clients
The current economic conditions have many Americans feeling a financial squeeze, including high-earning people who lead a generally comfortable day-to-day life. Between rapid inflation and declining financial literacy, wealthy clients and HENRYs — high earners, not yet rich — are feeling insecure about whether their finances will take them as far as they’d hoped.
According to the federal reserve, total U.S. household debt rose to a record $15.84 trillion in the first quarter of 2022, and home prices increased 18.7% between the first quarters of 2021 and 2022.
All this while financial literacy in the U.S. is rapidly declining among young professionals who are entering the workforce at higher salaries than their predecessors.
Surveys show that those with the highest household income (more than $100,000 per year) have reported the largest drop in feeling financially secure since tracking began in 2015. And the data keep stacking up:
- A 2020 study noted that 18% of high earners (those who make $100,000+ per year) live paycheck to paycheck
- 25% of U.S. adults say they do not think they could handle a major or unexpected expense
- 17% of households making $100,000 or more said they would struggle to cover a surprise of just $400
Perhaps the saddest statistic is that the percentage of high-income adults who say the way they’re managing their money allows them to enjoy life fell from 52% in May of 2022 to just 44% by June. Despite their hard work, the American Dream is slipping out of reach for even these high-earning professionals.
Financial institutions are in a unique position to help customers of all income levels get more security for their buck by providing quick, accessible education and tools to build money literacy and well-being.
Build well-being with financial education
As measured by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, financial well-being is when a person can meet their current and future financial obligations, feels secure in their financial future, and can make free choices about their life.
The goal of financial education is to help people achieve and maintain financial well-being. Researchers have found a significant correlation between total net wealth and financial literacy. Education, especially education about money, is a strong predictor of future wealth. People who are exposed to financial literacy programs have improved rates of savings, lower levels of debt and increased rate of asset accumulation — all positive changes that also benefit the financial institution.
Banks and brands that build and implement financial literacy programs for high-earning customers stand to benefit, and these efforts should be nuanced and focused on the client’s particular needs, respectful of their time and delivered at their current financial literacy level.
The first step is to gather and analyze data to learn how these clients manage their money now and the pain points that keep them from success. First-party data can help identify customers who have trouble maintaining a balance, often bounce checks, make late payments, and live paycheck-to-paycheck.
For young high earners, your institution should consider building a rewards program to add even more benefits of completing financial literacy programs and taking action to create well-being. Clients of all ages appreciate mobile technology that allows them to access their finances and courses at the time and place of their choosing.
Brands that successfully develop and deploy targeted financial education programs for high-earning customers stand to benefit from improved loyalty, retention and brand recognition in the long term.
Build partnerships to bolster financial security
To achieve these results, financial literacy programs should build trust and mindshare, particularly among younger high earners. Help them navigate the complexity of investing in the digital world to build wealth for flexible daily living and retirement.
At the same time, build your institution’s reputation for education and customer service through active outreach and community partnerships. Consider starting early by reaching out to schools and community colleges to partner on introductory lessons for students.
Literacy-building initiatives will benefit high-income clients, and the rest of your customer base, too. Customers with greater financial literacy make better decisions, default less often and accumulate more savings and investments.
When planning your financial literacy programs, focus on providing easy access to quality information about managing savings and emergency fund accounts and training on how and why loans work.
Use these channels to remind customers of all income levels of the perils of living on credit and the benefits of saving and investing. Customers who understand how to get more enjoyment out of life will be happier, wealthier and willing to deposit with financial institutions they can trust.
Not sure where to start building a digital-forward financial education program? Nymbus can help. Request a demo today.