Managing wealth can be a balancing act, especially for a parent. Questions abound over how to invest the wealth, how to set up retirement and what to do with all that money after death.
This latter part is particularly tricky - parents can spend their money, they can donate their money or they can pass it on in the form of an inheritance. When this final option occurs, it leaves a significantly wealthy child with a lot of questions.
Are wealthy kids looking for different financial guidance?
According to a study from market research firm Spectrum Group, 44 percent of millionaires under the age of 45 credited inheritance as a primary wealth creation method. On a similar note, 35 percent pointed to family connections as another reason. Younger millionaires were also less likely to attribute their wealth to factors like hard work and frugality compared to their older counterparts.
Another wrinkle in the affluent next-gen investor is that some are looking to move on from the financial advisors that worked with their parents and grandparents. At the moment, there is a disconnect between the current generation of clients and future generations, with something lost in translation.
For financial advisors, the goal should be to address a key issue in wealth management: family. How can you ensure your clients' children - especially the wealthy ones - stick with you?
Help start the conversation
At the end of the day, all parents simply want to be good parents. Whether or not they leave a large inheritance behind, setting a good example and being a strong role model are key goals for most clients.
Instead of focusing on a dollar amount, parents just want to make sure their children aren't warped by the trappings of wealth. This is where a financial advisor can come into play - you have the ability to start the conversation about smart wealth management and savvy planning, and you can take an active role in your clients' families' lives to ensure future generations are responsible with their inheritances.
This brings us to the first step of next-gen client retention: the foundation. Work with your existing clients to cover the wealth transfer. Talk to them about their inheritance plans and figure out what they want for their children. If you start this conversation early, you'll have an easier time building a foundation that will help retain the children as clients.
Keep the children involved
Going above and beyond is another key step in next-gen client retention. A great way to ensure clients stick with you is to include the child in all general client-related communications. A mailing list, for example. These small gestures can go a long way toward retaining clients.
You can also extend any online services to entire families. Patti Brennan, president of Pennsylvania-based Key Financial, told Barron's that she creates personal websites for each client and, with the parent's permission, opens up that site to their children as well.
"With the parent's permission, kids can have access to the database and see what I've done, and I'm willing to do it for them," she told the media outlet. "Once you've got their data, once you've set up the dashboard, once you're sending them a quarterly report, and once you've done a financial plan, once you've done all that, you've got a client for life."
You can also work on more family-related wealth management topics, like:
- Estate planning
- Long-term care
Going above basic investment strategies and into more family-oriented elements will help you keep a family involved for years to come.
Customize your communication style
In an article for Wealth Management, Mindy Rosenthal, president of the peer-to-peer networking firm Institute for Private Investors, explained that the trick to keeping next-gen clients is to engage them on all levels.
This can be achieved in several ways:
- Family ties
- Face-to-face communication
- Educational programs
- Social wealth management
Naturally, the best place to begin is to simply ask your clients' children what interests them. In many cases, they have similar goals to their parents and they want similar guidance. Two specific questions to ask are: "What do you want to do with your wealth?" and "how do you view your wealth?" Learn about your clients and their children before working on any specific strategies.
One stereotype about millennials and younger clients is that they are tech-savvy. Sometimes, they depend solely on technology in order to communicate. However, according to Rosenthal, this isn't the case when it comes to financial planning. Instead, younger clients enjoy the face-to-face meeting as much as their parents.
Another way you can connect with multiple generations of clients is by holding educational programs. For instance, you could host a client get-together to go over general wealth-management tips and tricks. If geared toward families, you could attract many different generations at once.
Social wealth management
A hot topic today, especially among younger adults, is social consciousness and social engagement. One wealth management example is philanthropy. Many clients are also interested in specific investment strategies that relate to NGOs, non-profits and similar organizations or contributions to political campaigns. You can connect with next-gen clients by covering these strategies.
Can you make a difference?
At the end of the day, parents are asking how their wealth will impact their children. They have concerns and questions, and they will turn to their financial advisor for guidance.
It is often beneficial for all involved to maintain this client-advisor relationship into future generations. You know the parent the best, and you can help maintain their wealth with their children. If you want to retain future generations as clients, you have to first address the parent's worries. You have to be there as a resource as soon as possible.
Think about a scenario where you meet a clients' child for the first time after their parent's death. This is a poor opportunity to build a professional relationship, and any advance you make in relation could be viewed in a negative light. However, if you are involved in family financial matters for years, transitioning from one generation to the next is an easier proposition.