Last week, we launched a new series called “Gen D in Focus,” which will present the results from recent Accenture focus groups on the digital generation. Our first post, “Living in a Digital World,” examined how online and mobile technologies are changing how we interact with the world. Today, let’s take a closer look at Gen D views on the economy and financial services providers.

What has Wall Street done for me lately?

Nearly everyone has been affected by the recent financial and economic crisis in some way. The digital generation is certainly no exception, although the cohort’s diversity in terms of ages and life stages makes for a particularly interesting story.

Older members of Gen D feel depressed, anxious and betrayed by the economy—and the banks and financial services companies they see as driving it. Despite having saved and invested for retirement, their financial security is now in jeopardy.

Younger members of Gen D face massive education debt and a bleak job market. They are off to a rough start, and any inheritance they had banked on is evaporating before their eyes as older relatives and friends struggle with new financial realities.

Both groups have come to view investing as a form of gambling—where the odds are stacked against them. They recognize the need to engage the investment community to reach their financial goals, but they are deeply suspicious of Wall Street and have little trust in financial institutions. Members of Gen D feel sidelined, as though banks and investment firms are hiding behind bureaucracy and jargon to keep investors outside the “velvet rope.”

Arming themselves with information

To regain some feeling of control over the situation, Gen D is using information:

  • Learning about investment strategies and vehicles
  • Researching financial products and services online
  • Examining the behavior of their advisors and the companies they are investing in

Tune in next week when we zero in on how members of the digital generation select and interact with financial advisors.

In May 2012, Accenture launched a research project to gather insights into “Generation D” investors and advisors—Millennials, Gen-Xers and Boomers who depend increasingly on digital interactions. “Gen D in Focus” is a four-part blog series that reveals highlights from our July 2012 focus groups. These initial findings will be explored and refined further using quantitative techniques.

Learn more about the research project

Read other posts in the series:

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