THE BLOG
11/04/2013 02:31 pm ET | Updated Jan 23, 2014

The Financial Crisis Through The Eyes of the Millennials

The slackers are inheriting the earth and that may save us all.

They are not lazy or stupid, and they won't blindly buy into the same bunkum the boomers were sold. The "greed is good" mentality got us into this mess anyway. The Millennial's eyes are wide open, watchful and alert, and for a very good reason -- they know the generations preceding them were sold a bill of goods.

It's time to send the whole barge load of lies and spin to the dump. It's time to embrace the hyper-connected, fully-integrated, socially-networked, crowd-sourced, Millennial generation.

These investors are not waiting for the big financial firms to undergo a great moral awakening. They are not sitting on their hands hoping the government will pass some glorious reform making the financial system safer. Instead, Millennials are looking for the right people with whom to do business. Instead of dutifully accepting their parent's choices, they're consulting their "friends" first -- often anonymously and in great numbers.

Let's translate one of the most talked about rules of "financial reform," known as the Volcker Rule, into English: "If I am going to do something that is in my interest, but not yours, I can do it so long as I tell you I'm taking advantage of you." Instead of solving the problem, we are mired in a debate over how to tell someone their interests may not be served.

Millennials know life is not fair. They have graduated college and entered one of the bleakest job markets in history with unprecedented amounts of debt. They have lived through senseless tragedies, drone warfare, and the dull wah-wah-wah of failed diplomacy and politics. They have watched their parents' retirement dreams implode on the brink of becoming reality.

The great life lesson of this generation is that there are no guarantees. Millennials don't trust -- they just verify. They don't need the Volcker rule because they won't do business with people who have not earned their loyalty.

Ten years ago, I decided to build a company that solved these issues, rather than dancing around them. I wanted to build a company that put the client first while still making money. I wanted to be recognized as a good outfit -- not because we're nice guys (even though we are) -- but because we don't make money at our clients' expense. Today we stand at the cutting edge of this new experience and we represent the financial service model of the future.

The Millennial generation is already 86 million strong. Millennial accounts for over 20 percent of this country's consumer spending total. According to a recent Fidelity Investment "Five Years Later" study, they have responded more positively to the 2008 financial crisis than any other generational cohort, saving more early and more often than their parents. They wield enormous influence in the financial services market.

The new rules of the so-called "financial reform" can't prevent the destructive effects of a conflicted and self-interested business. Consider the warning labels on cigarette packages. They don't change the fact that when you buy cigarettes, the cigarette company makes money -- and you help yourself die sooner.

Which is why, despite the fact that most young people feel they're immortal, fewer and fewer of them are smoking than in any generation past.

They're smarter than that.