The holiday season offers one of the most special times of year to engage with clients and prospects about what is most important to them: their families.

Take note this year of how often your clients’ holiday cards feature their children as the focal point. Children — particularly those still living at home — play a key role in the determining the values, priorities and mindset of their parents.

In fact, wealthy investors with young children share a number of key characteristics, needs and values that set them apart from childless clients and even empty nesters:

  • Their assets are growing fast. While affluent investors with younger children may often be younger (and less wealthy) than the rest of your clients, they are much more likely to be on a faster wealth accumulation trajectory. 
  • Their financial focus is personal and immediate. Unlike other peers groups, their main goals are to build their personal wealth and plan for their children’s education — two goals that are intimately related. 
  • They expect to be successful — and act to fulfill their expectations. They a more likely than their childless or empty-nest peers to expect that they will do well financially. In practice, you’ll find they take on more risk in their investment portfolios and are more likely to describe themselves as “high risk” investors.


Yet despite their focus and expectations of success, wealthy individuals with young children are in fact materially less optimistic than their peers in a few key areas. They are more pessimistic about both the stock market and the composition of their own portfolios -- even though they hold more stock -- as well as their ability to get credit.

They are more inclined to worry about the toll that health care costs will take on their assets, and more likely to fear that they might one day become a burden on their children.

These concerns might explain why affluent clients with children at home are also more likely than their childless peers to continue working -- no matter how much wealth they might accumulate.

Advisors should also consider the possibility, however, that these clients may be willing themselves into a riskier portfolio position than they might actually be comfortable with -- assuming that time is on their side.


With this added awareness and sensitivity, advisors can help to better align their clients’ investment strategies and risk tolerance with their financial, retirement and education goals.

So as you enjoy this special time of year, take a moment to consider your clients with younger children. The new year might be a good time to engage them in deeper conversations about their children to ensure that their plan is tuned to support both their aspirations and concerns.

Stacey Haefele is president and CEO of HNW, an enterprise relationship marketing and software firm to the wealth management and financial services industry.

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