The younger investors "are the ones that are very much in play, if their investments are not turning out as they like,'' Waitman said.
Fund companies and financial advisors also need to find ways to communicate with their future investors through social media, such as Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. While that is not necessarily a surprise, the numbers are fairly stark. In households where the head is aged 55 or under, 29% look to investment professionals for guidance. But 27% look to peers.
That almost flips the traditional model. For households where the head is 65 or older, 61% look to pros for guidance and only 3% look to peers. Similarly, 26% of individuals under 55 have contributed in some fashion to an investment blog, according to the Cisco study. But only 7% or fewer of individuals over 55 have.
"This is in its infancy,'' said Waitman. "But we already see that social networking activity relative to their investing lives is important'' to the younger investors who will make up the bulk of assets held by the mutual fund industry 25 years from now.