Realistically, most advisors shouldn’t expect to manage 100% of their clients’ assets and shouldn’t even try, says Ann Arnof Fishman, commenting on the recent Hartford study of relations between boomers and their financial advisors.
Fishman, president, Generational-Targeted Marketing Corporation, New Orleans, La., says boomers historically have resented authority figures. “So, they are not going to give you 100%.”
Building trust with boomers calls for an advisor who is less an authority figure and more a part of a team. “And the boomer should be part of the team, too,” she adds.
“You have to have the right credentials, but you don’t ever want to present yourself as the authority because baby boomers like to be hands-on and expect to be in control. And if they give suggestions, take them seriously. Boomers expect that.”
Another point to bear in mind is that, in general, boomers expect to be treated special.
“Because there are so many of them, the waves always have parted for them,” Fishman says. “When they were kids, most had stay-at-home moms. There were new schools built for them. They were the best-educated generation up to that time.”
Advisors can play up to that aspect of the boomer personality by returning their calls promptly, learning about their interests and talking about the activities they care about, Fishman advises.
Many also have a sense of entitlement, she adds.
“Baby boomers have expected from birth they are entitled to the American Dream,” Fishman says. “To them, retirement sounds more like recess. Many have high aspirations for their retirement, yet they’re also often not saving enough.”
Advisors should focus on how the products they sell enable these individuals to have the good life they want, she says.
“Show them it’s in their own best interest. Don’t do a scare job, by talking about aging and retirement, for example, and don’t use euphemisms like golden years, silver moments or prime time. You want to paint it positively in terms of a second home, say, or a trip to China. Talk about it as simply another life stage. Then follow through and get them in financial shape to lead that life.”