May 6, 2013

TDAI’s Healy: Engage in Demographic Stereotypes at Your Peril

Conventional wisdom about single women, Gen Y doesn’t hold up, she tells FPA Retreat

“You can’t say you simply market to women,” Kate Healy told attendees of FPA Retreat 2013 in Palm Springs, Calif., on Sunday. “They aren’t monolithic. Do you market to single women? Married women? By 2030, two-thirds of the nation’s wealth will be in the hands of women, so you’d better figure it out.”

To illustrate her point, Healy, TD Ameritrade Institutional’s managing director of institutional marketing, said that stereotypes for single career women—that they are focused only on themselves—don’t hold up.

“A large segment of this cohort is actually caring for another family member, as well as themselves,” Healy said.

This slaying of stereotypes, and the business danger they present for those that engage in them, was one theme of her presentation, tilted “Marketing in an Era of Change.”

“The same can be said of Generation Y,” she continued. “The stereotype is that they don’t show up to work on time, are always on their mobile device and are waiting for you to promote them. There’s actually 78 million baby boomers and 76 million Gen Ys. That’s a big generation, and most of them look like your baby boomer clients did 20 years ago.”

Not only will they inherit $18 trillion from their parents, but they’re not standing still; they’ll grow their own wealth (along with Gen X) from $2 trillion to $28 trillion in the next eight years, she argued.

“People think of Gen Y as college kids, but the demographic actually tops at age 35. They’re married with kids.”

She noted that 86% of Gen Y does not want their parent’s financial advisors, but 64% still rely on friends, relatives and loved ones for their financial advice.

“The key is to start thinking about how you will attract them now. What will your practice look like? Will they be able to reach you electronically? Do you fear social media?”

Two of the top five advisor headwinds according to this year's TD Ameritrade Institutional RIA Sentiment Survey are an aging client base and a generational wealth transfer to non-clients, so it’s not an issue of whether advisors will need to engage Gen Y, but when, Healy said.

“Full 56% of Gen X/Y have an annual income of more than $150,000 and 37% have an annual income higher than $500,000,” she said.

She concluded by noting that in addition to Gen Y clients, the assembled audience had to think about attracting Gen Y advisors as well.

“They will want to know that you are tech savvy, that you are well-versed with social media and that there is a path for advancement. And don’t be afraid of giving them the flexibility they want—they’ll actually be more productive and more loyal.”

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Read Middle-Age White Guys Need Not Apply: AIG’s Advisor Group Diversifies Recruitment on AdvisorOne.

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