Don't forget about Gen X.
Financial advisors ought to be more accommodating to the often overlooked generation, says Simon Mulcahy, senior vice president and general manager of financial services for Salesforce -- and a member of Gen X himself.
"Advisors aren't keeping up with the times," Mulcahy says. "Members of Gen X are now substantial owners of wealth and in significant leadership positions, but advisors tend to treat them like baby boomers and expect Gen Xers to interact with them on the advisor's terms, not their own."
Citing Salesforce's just released report and investor survey, 2015 Wealth Management for Connected Investors -- which defines the group as being between 35 and 54 years old -- Mulcahy notes that Gen Xers have less time than baby boomers to spend with advisors, are more inclined to be self-directed and want more tech-oriented financial tools, such as mobile portfolio management or Web-based modeling.
GEN X ALIGNS WITH MILLENNIALS
In fact, according to the survey, Gen X investors tend to often be more closely aligned with their successor generation, millennials, now between the ages of 18 and 34.
For example, 89% of millennials and 83% of Gen Xers said having modern tools for financial planning was an important factor when selecting a financial advisor, compared with 71% of boomer investors responding to the survey.
Millennials and Gen Xers were far more likely to communicate with their financial advisors by email or a website than boomers.
But there's some bad news: Only a third of respondents from those two generations felt that their financial advisor has been successful at helping them achieve their investment goals, compared to nearly two-thirds of baby boomers.
What's more, while 72% of boomers said they believe their financial advisors have their best interests as their top priority," only half of millennials and Gen Xers agreed. Two-thirds of boomers said their financial advisor would recognize them if they passed them on the street, while only a third of millennials and Gen Xers thought their advisors would recognize them in passing.
As a result of these disconnects, financial advisors "face trust challenges more acutely in younger clients," the report concluded.
The report found that clients leave advisors for a variety of reasons. High fees and outdated financial modeling were the top reasons for millennials, while Gen Xers cited disagreement about advice and lack of communication. Baby boomers, on the other hand, don't leave advisors unless the advisors leave a firm, relocate or retire.
Advisors have to recognize that, while Gen X may not be "digital natives" to the same degree millennials are, they also were exposed to digital technology at a relatively young age and have "set the tone" for technology in the workplace as employees and managers, according to Mulcahy.
And being in their prime working and child-rearing years, Gen Xers are extremely busy, he adds. "Life is a casualty of the world they live in," Mulcahy says. "They don't have two hours to give advisors. They want less big-bandwidth advice and more small drips of information."
The survey also underscored the desire of Gen Xers and millennials to work more collaboratively with advisors.
The takeaway for advisors?
"Be more like a wingman, less like a butler," Mulcahy says.
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