People in their 20s are generally considered atypical clients for financial planners. They are at the beginning of their professional careers, having accumulated little assets, contributed little to their 401(k)s and are at least 40 years from retirement.
But the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards hopes to bridge the gap between advisors and the younger generation.
The first part of the organization’s new initiative called “Lifelong Financial Strategies,” will focus on helping Generation Y (or specifically people between the ages 18-25) establish intelligent financial habits and avoid some of the pitfalls the older generations have faced. The topics covered as part of the program include “Fight the Urge to Splurge,” “Understand the New Rules,” “Do the Car Math,” “Keep Score,” and “Commit Now to Good Credit Habits.”
Not surprisingly, the CFP Board is utilizing social media to get its message out to the Gen Y consumers. Presentations will be available on the board’s website and the consumer advocate page on Facebook. In addition, videos will be uploaded to YouTube and other social media sites. Eleanor Blayney, the consumer advocate for the CFP Board, will also give lessons on an audio podcast.
“We should be talking to young people,” Blayney said. “Financial planning is often thought as something that people do a couple of decades before they retire when they actually have money. But the reality is that the typical client has children and they have their own concerns about young people.”
Blayney said that one of the challenges in reaching young people is that most are not really turning to professionals in any aspect of their lives. They aren’t visiting doctors, don’t have lawyers and certainly aren’t utilizing financial planners. But many have negative net worth because of student loans or credit card debt and could use a good savings road map.
“Young people today are carrying an unprecedented amount of credit card debt,” Blayney said. “We should be talking to them about what is good debt and what is bad debt and how to maintain good credit. We want them to avoid some of the problems that many people in their 30s, 40s and 50s have faced by being over extended.”
The Lifelong Financial Strategies initiative coincides with the CFP Board’s ongoing 25th anniversary commemoration. The program will focus on the challenges facing consumers at different stages of their lives.
Paul Menchaca writes for Financial Planning.