Under-40 investors are unhappy with the financial advice they’re receiving and advisors should pay attention.

Financial advisors are concentrating too much of their resources on baby boomers and not enough on the next generation of clients, suggests a report published Thursday by Boston-based consulting firm Cerulli Associates.

Fewer than one in five under-40 investors say they feel they've gotten adequate guidance following a recent major life event, according to the recent Cerulli Edge report. Of those who started a new job over the past 12 months, for example, just 19% said they have gotten enough advice. Of those who went through a divorce, that number plunged to 1%.

Not adequately advising younger investors now, as they build their portfolios, could have long-term implications, since the effects of bad decision-making can take a decades-long toll on a potential client’s wealth. “Financial providers need to better recognize and identify when these young investors hit various life stages and provide more advice and guidance,” Cerulli analyst Roger Stamper said in a statement.

The most significant financial decisions made by households typically occur well before the age of 40, Stamper says, but they can have a lasting impact on younger investors' interactions with financial providers as they progress through various life stages.

Advisors need to adopt a longer view and find a way to connect with under-40 investors before these life events, so they can help them make the right decisions and grow into the type of client they want, Stamper adds.  Among the most successful strategies for engaging younger investors are in-person, age-specific education sessions; targeted mailings; and social media campaigns, the report indicates.

“I wouldn’t say there has to be a complete shift in mentality,” Stamper says. “But it is something advisors need to address in the near future, otherwise they stand to lose a lot of assets.”

But engaging the younger crowd takes time and effort--“It’s not an easy thing to do,” Stamper acknowledges.

Still, he says advisors should look at the advice gap as an opportunity. They need to make frequent contact with younger investors, conduct regular financial check-ups, and let them know that help is available before they buy that house or decide to change careers.

“You can’t just focus on the people with money right now,” Stamper says, noting that many under-40 investors are a product of baby boomer parents and stand to inherit much of their wealth. “You have to focus on what’s going to maintain our industry for years to come.”

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