Having trouble connecting with Millennials?

August 1, 2016 by Matt Marcum

About the author:

Matt Marcum

Sales trainer

Matt is a 2009 graduate of the University of Michigan and has worked in multiple roles at Advicent. He loves talking about financial planning and the value it brings both to advisors and to their clients. When not discussing FinTech trends with advisors, he enjoys spending his time outdoors with his wife and their dog.

Maybe it is time to rethink what a financial plan means to a younger client.

I recently traveled to Colorado to attend a conference for financial planners. Among the conference attendees were many fee-only financial advisors. The topics that came up were predictable yet extremely relevant: the Department of Labor (DOL) ruling and how to attract younger clients, specifically Millennials.

The latter of the two topics really struck a chord with me because there seems to be little thought being put into the wants and needs of Millennials. Most of the conversations seemed to be about how to connect with and appeal to the younger generation in a world where many advisors are noticeably uncomfortable with their social media accounts.

What dawned on me was how many in attendance were missing the boat when talking about an entire generation. Financial advisors, especially those who put an emphasis on financial planning, are very smart people that have a lot to offer Millennials. However, these advisors need to start asking the right questions, starting with “What is a financial plan for a Millennial client?”

Advisors need to start stepping outside of their comfort zone that seems to start and end with retirement planning. For Millennial clients, retirement needs or even the idea of retirement in general starts and ends with maximizing their employer match with their 401(k).

Instead, advisors need to focus on more tangible goals that will be arriving in the next five to 10 years. By offering a cash flow based approach to budgeting, advisors can start having conversations with younger clients around early life events like buying a home, paying off student loan debt, and starting a family.

How could a financial advisor be beneficial to Millennials?

Having recently purchased my first home, I was struck by how little I knew about mortgages and 30 years’ worth of principle and interest payments. It was the perfect void for an advisor to fill by helping me not only understand my mortgage options, but also to understand how paying bi-weekly versus monthly could cut years off of mortgage payments. On top of that, what if I took that additional payment and put it towards a Roth IRA or towards a 529 plan for my child? How much could that grow to?

Being able to have impactful conversations is nothing new to advisors for their older clients. It is time to get comfortable with having those conversations and rethinking what a financial plan is, especially for the Millennial generation.

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