Editorial Policy

Amex Wants to Help Gen Y Get in Zync

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By Eva Norlyk Smith, Ph.D.
January 26, 2011

American Express launched an outreach initiative, called “Quarterlife Project,” to gauge 20-somethings’ attitudes about money while providing them with products and resources to help financially empower them.

The Quarterlife project kicked off with the release of a survey of Gen Y attitudes around money while providing access to a ZYNC QuarterLife Coach — life coach and author Christine Hassler, who specializes in generational issues.

According to the Quarterlife survey, most members of Gen Y are both anxious about money and unsure how to make it work for them. The survey found that 86 percent of those in their 20s described their financial situation as “stressful” and 79 percent admitted to feeling “overwhelmed.” Additionally, 57 percent confessed they were still financially dependent on their parents.

At the same time, being financially independent and informed is a top priority for Gen Y, the survey found. They just don’t know how to go about getting there. Ninety-six percent said making their own money was their top concern, and two-thirds say they wished they had access to tools and information to learn more about financial issues and money management. The survey was conducted in September 2010 by Echo Research and was based on interviews with 1,253 people aged 20 to 49.

The Zync Quarterlife project is an interesting example of relational marketing, which provides financial services and resources while advertising a product — in this case the Zync charge card. Zync is the newest addition to the Amex line of charge cards. It particularly targets younger cardholders by offering flexible rewards tailored to specific lifestyle interests common among that demographic. American Express positions Zync as a charge card designed to help cardholders manage their money, while giving them greater power to pursue interests and passions.

As part of the Zync Quarterlife project, Gen Y expert and life coach Christine Hassler will provide multimedia tips to help 20-somethings get fiscally fit at Facebook.com/zync until March; Hassler is also available for questions about Gen Y quandaries, and she will post biweekly answers on the Zync Facebook page.

“As people in their twenties — or ‘Quarterlifers’ — make the transition into successful, self-reliant adulthood, many are looking for the tools and insights to help guide them along the way, especially when it comes to managing their finances,” said Mary Hines, vice president, Zync Product Management. “That’s why we partnered with Christine Hassler and other experts to create tips and online resources to help Gen Y. We want to help them truly enjoy this time of their lives and create a solid financial foundation for the future.”

The Zync Quarterlife Project has other educational components as well. Amex has partnered with Federated Media to offer Currency, a website targeting Gen Y’ers with money advice and tips, like how to update last year’s wardrobe without breaking the bank, how to avoid roommate budget tiffs, as well as lifestyle redesign tips to reduce expenses. Currency is easily linked with social networks like Facebook, making it easy for young people to share articles and tips they find of value.