Some planners, especially those with established practices, may not think it's worth it to cultivate Generation Y clients because they are young. But, a new white paper suggests, that the ramp-up years may be the perfect time to build a new Gen Y clientele.

"The statistics speak for themselves," the paper's authors write. "Many Gen Yers are now entering their 30s, the life-stage when investing usually begins (i.e., 3.7 million Americans are turning 30 in 2012 alone). They're starting their so-called 'wealth accumulation phase,' when income rises faster, outliers - such as entrepreneurs - can generate substantial wealth ."

The paper is co-published by Wells Fargo affiliate First Clearing Correspondent Services and Jason Dorsey, chief strategy officer of the Austin-based Center for Generational Kinetics, which studies generational trends. The authors offer five reasons why planners should cultivate Gen Y clients:

  1. Long-term value. Gen Y has the greatest overall lifetime value of any generation in the financial services marketplace today, simply because of its members' youth. As a result, they have the longest investing future. Professionals who attract Gen Yers will keep them for decades.
  2. 2. Ripe for picking. The authors found that many Gen Yers do not yet have financial planners because they are unsure of whom to trust, because they still feel too young to have one and because they're not always sure they have enough money to begin investing.
  3. 3. Predisposed to independence. The authors also report that Gen Yers they interviewed told them they don't think bigger - as in large banks - is better. Watching once-respected banks fail or get bailed out had a sobering impact on Gen Y, who may be predisposed to work with new and smaller planning firms.
  4. 4. Great referrals. Once a planner gains a Gen Yer's trust, he or she is likely to recommend the planner to friends, colleagues and family members. "In fact, this generation won't just make a personal introduction to one person," according to the authors, "they'll tell all their 6,784 friends on Facebook.
  5. 5. Easier communication. The kind of communication that Gen Yers want from a planner is easier, faster and cheaper to deliver than most planners think, the authors claim. They say that Gen Yers want to be taken seriously and not looked down on for their youth, to have visual illustrations of investment options and to receive ongoing updates through their preferred digital and social network communication channels.

The authors recommend that planners seek out those Gen Yers who have made the first leap into adulthood by securing jobs in the "real world."
"The first step we recommend," they write, "is to attract those who have investible income today and prepare for those who are following close behind them." 

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