By Jonathan Bernstein, CIMA, Stringer Asset Management

According to research conducted by Cerrulli Associates in 2014, the average age of a financial advisor is 50.9 years old and 43% are 55 or older. That is certainly an interesting statistic and it may provide some insight into why the industry has not replaced itself with the next generation of financial advisors. What may be even more interesting is that a PriceMetrix Inc. report in 2015 found the average client age is 62, and that average age will reach 70 in a few years if advisers do not start incorporating more young clients into the mix.

SKATE TO WHERE THE PUCK IS GOING

With seasoned advisors and clients, we know that wealth will eventually be transitioned to the next generation. The estimates of intergenerational wealth transfer vary depending on the time frame, but everyone agrees that the number is huge. We have seen some estimates that during the next 15 years, more than $25 trillion in financial assets will pass from the Baby Boomers to their Generation X and Millennial children. Navigating this transition is critical to the continued success of financial professionals, and the first step is to get to know those people that will inherit the assets.

With each holiday season, we hear many advisors say that business gets slow from Thanksgiving through the New Year. However, this period is often the best opportunity an advisor will have all year to meet the children and families of their clients. It’s a chance to make that emotional connection between the plan and the people who served as motivation for the plan in the first place. If that is not reason enough, consider that there is a very important business reason to make the effort as well.

THEN GATHER AT THE TABLE

We have found many advisors are simply not doing what is necessary to get to know the next generation. Some estimates suggest as many as 98% of children inheriting assets leave their parent’s financial advisor. All the work advisors are doing to help clients plan their entire financial lives may simply end with the death of the primary client. Many primary clients do not want that and neither do their advisors, however, when there is no relationship with the kids, that is what happens more often than not. Advisors will be greatly served by using the holiday season as a way to get know people in times of warmth and celebration.

Family and friends tend to congregate at the family home during this time of year. Clients get to see their children and grandchildren, and relatives come in from out of town. This is a great opportunity for advisors to call on their clients and offer to take them and their kids for a holiday lunch. After years of hearing stories about the kids and grandkids, it’s about time we get to meet them.

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