I recently had the opportunity to spend some time with Jason Dorsey, chief strategy officer for The Center of Generational Kinetics. Known as the Gen Y Guy, Jason is an acclaimed keynote speaker, generational researcher and best-selling author. Over the next few weeks, I'll be sharing insights learned from Jason in a three-part blog series where we include actionable retirement savings recommendations for a variety of audiences. This is part two of our Retirement Tips from the Gen Y Guy series. Click here for part one.
My visit with Jason followed on the heels of some extensive research I was involved in, to gain a better understanding of millennials' financial habits. In addition, we also investigated the role (or lack thereof) a financial advisor plays in helping millennials plan and save. The results? As varied as their personalities.
The case for targeting millennials is solid. Standing at a whopping 80 million-strong, the number of millennials in the U.S. is on par with the number of Baby Boomers (roughly 76 million.) That being said, they are likely to outspend Boomers in the year 2017. Couple that with the fact that many Boomers are starting to transfer their wealth (often to millennials), and you'll see that the need for financial advisors who truly understand millennials' money habits and preferences has never been greater. If you aren't well-positioned for this change, you'll miss out on reaching an audience with the greatest lifetime value a financial advisor can attract today.
Given the broad set of needs and beliefs among this large demographic, I asked Jason, "How can financial advisors better court and serve millennials?" Below are three ways to reach this diverse audience, according to Jason:
- Change Your Mindset. There is a myth that all millennials are broke. Sure, most are just beginning to stand on their own two feet, but you might be surprised to know that nearly 25% of today's U.S. millionaires are millennials. This is a huge generation with people on all kinds of paths ranging from the Zuckerbergs, LeBrons and Cashmores of the world, to grocery store managers and freelance writers. Recognizing that millennials can be great, long-term clients is a key first step in reaching this demographic and gaining their trust.
- Take Advantage of Proximity to Events. One of the easiest ways to begin engaging with millennials is to attend or participate in millennial-focused events. Things like "40 Under 40" awards, entrepreneur socials and young professional networking activities are perfect examples. I also find that meeting social media "connectors" within your area can open many doors.
- Adapt Your Communication Style. Millennials are always connected. They are conditioned to text, Skype and go to YouTube for information. Things they don't respond as well to? Voicemails. Impersonal letters. Wood paneled offices flaunting your trophies and collection of leather-bound books. (That is, unless you're Ron Burgundy.) Your best bet? Just ask. Ask your potential client how they would prefer to be communicated with and you'll immediately know what works.
Watch Jason sharing more millennial insights at JasonDorsey.com