Acorns Australia managing director George Lucas has announced that Acorns will be launching a superannuation function within the app.
The function, and access to the corresponding fund, Acorns Grow Australia Super, will be available in March.
Speaking to Nest Egg, Mr Lucas said the decision to establish Acorns’ superannuation function came off the back of customer feedback.
Currently, 90 per cent of these customers are under 40. Noting this, Mr Lucas rejects the characterisation of young Australians as disengaged or financially illiterate. He added that older Australians also had their own share of financial challenges.
With this in mind, he said the “popular press story” doesn’t align with the reality of younger people’s investing experiences and decisions.
Levels of literacy are the same but each generation’s experiences are different
“I would say their financial literacy standard is the same and they obviously don't have the experience, but the experience is not necessarily [the same],” Mr Lucas said.
“The financial literacy part – they're far more aware than the older generation was because they've got it [their financial information] in their hand.”
All generations have had different challenges and goals, he said. For older Australians, overseas travel was not as accessible and often unemployment rates were higher.
For younger Australians these days, they may be saving for an overseas holiday while accepting a lifetime of renting due to a difficult property market.
“Younger people are saving for a lot more goals, like maybe an overseas trip and trying to enjoy themselves [more] than the older generation just because of the way the world has changed,” Mr Lucas said.
They also tend to be more credit-savvy, he said, pointing out that younger Australians are less willing to tie themselves to a mortgage or even a credit card.
“Their goals are changing,” Mr Lucas said. “A lot of it is driven by the financial landscape and what's capable.”
Similarly, older Australians faced employment challenges when they were young, he continued.
Mr Lucas explained: “When I grew up, the unemployment rate was so high that one in five people my age wouldn't get a job.
“So they had no finances to worry about. No one was even thinking about a house [in that era] because they were wondering if they would have the money to buy the house.”
There are also exceptions to these trends, he added.
Mr Lucas’ argument follows a report from superannuation software firm Decimal, which also argued against the disengaged-Millennial stereotype.
Decimal, which works with banks, super funds and administrators to deliver advice to clients, said it had witnessed an 82 per cent increase in the engagement exhibited by clients under 35 in the last quarter.
Commenting on the findings last week, Decimal said, “We’re consistently reading about how disengaged Millennials are with their super.
“Yet, when we look into usage of Decimal’s digital advice technology among those under-35s, we see a different picture.”