By Jonathan Bernstein, Stringer Asset Management

According to a July 2019 J.D. Power report [1], the average age of a financial advisor is 55 years old, which clearly provides an unprecedented experience advantage for their senior clients. The global consulting firm Simon-Kucher & Partners estimates the average age of a wealth management client to be 64 years old [2]. The amount of intergenerational wealth transfer varies depending on the time-frame but everyone agrees that the number is huge. Some estimates state that more than $30 trillion in financial assets are expected to pass from the Baby Boomers to their Generation X and Millennial children during the next 15 years. Successfully navigating this transition is of critical importance to clients and to the financial professionals who want to transition their practice to a younger generation.

There is nothing as personal and potentially complicated as planning for an aging client, however, the current makeup of the advisory industry may be exactly where it needs to be. There are a host of considerations and a huge premium on experienced advisors who in many cases have dealt personally with these demographic challenges. From an advisor’s perspective, there are two challenges that the industry must rise to meet. The first is that people are living longer in retirement and this huge wealth transfer is going to be more of a drip than a deluge. As Boomers age, their children will play a larger role in their care and their financial lives and not be simply generational inheritors of wealth. The second consideration is that many financial advisors are not doing what is necessary to get to know the next generation. As a result, these advisors are becoming less involved in the child-parent financial conversation. Estimates suggest that roughly two-thirds of children inheriting assets leave their parent’s financial advisor [3]. All the work financial advisors are doing to help clients plan their entire financial lives may simply end with the death of the primary client.

This is where the experience advantage can really payoff. One of the most important attributes for a financial advisor is their holistic family practice value proposition. Regardless of the generation, wealth management clients want to work with advisors that understand their priorities and can help them reach generational family goals. Getting this across to the next generation can be critical to success in the advisory space and now is a golden opportunity to do that. We believe in using the holiday season to get know people in times of warmth and celebration. As the holidays roll around, the slow period between Thanksgiving through the New Year provides the best opportunity for financial advisors to make that real emotional connection between the plan and the people who serve as motivation for their goals in the first place.

The holidays are a time when family and friends tend to congregate at the family home. Your clients get to see their children, grandchildren, and relatives who travel in from around the country. In some cases, they are cooped up for a week or more with not much else to do except enjoy family and friends. This is a great opportunity to call on your clients and offer to take them and their kids for a holiday lunch or breakfast. It is certainly not the time to pull out the financial plan but rather a chance to get to know the extended family of your best clients. After years of hearing prideful stories about the kids and grandkids, it’s about time you got to meet them.

This article was written by Jonathan Bernstein, director of sales and marketing at Stringer Asset Management, a participant in the ETF Strategist Channel.

1. “Technology, Social Media Critical to Bridging Financial Advisor Age Gap, J.D. Power Finds.” J.D. Power, 9 July 2019, https://www.jdpower.com/business/press-releases/2019-us-financial-advisor-satisfaction-study.

2. Padalka, Alex. ”How Advisors Can Lure the XY Generation.” Financial Advisor IQ, 19 November 2018, https://financialadvisoriq.com/c/2135883/252953.

3. Skinner, Liz. “The Great Wealth Transfer is Coming, Putting Advisers at Risk.” InvestmentNews, 13 July 2015, https://www.investmentnews.com/article/20150713/FEATURE/150719999/the-great-wealth-transfer-is-coming-putting-advisers-at-risk.

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