Much has been said about investing early in life to build wealth over the long term. In contrast to previous generations, however, a growing number of Millennials are making less than their parents did when they were the same age. They also have less net worth and significantly more student debt, which could threaten their ability to achieve their financial goals.1 It’s no wonder that many are worried about their futures.
Establishing a solid financial plan amid significant economic and global upheaval while watching markets ebb and flow in response may only add to Millennial skepticism and make them wary of investing. These feelings of skepticism may also seep into their attitudes toward financial advisors. It begs the question:
What attributes and tools do financial advisors need to reach and build relationships with young investors?
Becoming a trusted resource to this investment-wary group isn’t going to happen overnight. As is true with all clients, communication is key to earning your place as a financial guide — and it starts with empathy.
Convincing Millennials of your expertise by delineating your degrees and designations may likely work against you; a sales pitch and hard sell probably won’t resonate with a Millennial’s approach to investing. Instead, frame the conversation in a way that demonstrates you are focused on their financial future, that you understand the goals and challenges they face, and are willing to partner with them to achieve desired outcomes.
Entering the world of investing can be confusing enough with its myriad options and intricacies. Refrain from adding to it with complex industry jargon and extensive, mind-numbing actuarial data. Industry terms that are second nature to you might be confusing and off-putting to young investors. Opting for straight talk about financial products and services and market performance may be just the trust-builder Millennials are looking for.
Young investors may tend to take a hybrid approach to investing. There will inevitably be some who prioritize face-to-face meetings. Not surprisingly, however, younger, tech-savvy investors may prefer online financial tools to aid in planning and may be lured by do-it-yourself platforms and robo-advisors. Recent market volatility may have caused some DIY investors to reconsider their self-taught investment prowess.
Leveraging an ideal combination of personal attention with an online presence may spur action among younger investors who don’t currently engage with a financial professional. Those who seek assistance from a local financial professional to help manage their finances are likely to conduct online searches. Will they find you? Providing online tools and resources may demonstrate your relevance and help you engage.
Don’t assume that access to online financial tools is enough, however. Younger generations are more likely to check their smartphones and engage on social media to form connections. Connectivity is important to young investors, and they expect their advisors to engage beyond traditional means. Are you active on social platforms?
Some advisors thumb their noses at social media for business purposes, but it’s worth considering for those who want to reach younger investors. Granted, you likely won’t rise to become the next big influencer or media sensation with thousands of followers, but even a small presence while sharing level-headed investment tips and sound principles may help you earn a following and, more importantly, trust. Without engaging in the ways Millennials prefer, you could be unwittingly dissuading young investors from working with you.
For the most part, financial planning is on Millennials’ radar, but the process and roles the advisor plays are shifting with the next generation. Remain relevant and responsive to young investors, and understand more about investor fears with our online resource, Overcome Your Fears About the Future.
SOURCES1GAO.gov, MILLENNIAL GENERATION: Information on the Economic Status of Millennial Households Compared to Previous Generations, Dec. 18, 2019