To build your practice for tomorrow, you should be tapping into the country’s growing multicultural populace today. According to December 2012 projections by the U.S. Census Bureau, minorities, now 37 percent of the population, are projected to comprise 57 percent of the population in 2060. That increased diversity encompasses more than just ethnicity and race, however. Rita Cheng, CFP, right, financial advisor with Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. in Bethesda, Md., points to multiple diversity factors that advisors need to recognize in senior clients. These factors can include adults with disabilities, immigrant elders and LGBTs (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender). There is additional diversity within each category as well. “There are many different cultural and ethnic groups, considerable diversity within each of these groups, as well as many other factors that affect each person’s identity,” Cheng noted via email. “Similarly, a person may have a bicultural or multicultural heritage.”
Why it matters
There’s a business reason for understanding these trends. A recent Wall Street Journal article reported that in 2012, upscale Latinos—defined by the cited study as those with annual incomes between $50,000 and $100,000—accounted for 29 percent, or 15 million, of the U.S. Hispanic population. That figure is expected to double by 2050, according to AHAA, a marketing organization specializing in Hispanics.
Cheng cites statistics that Asian Americans have a median household income of $67,000, 32 percent higher than the overall U.S. median. But only 18 percent of Asian Americans work with a financial advisor, creating an untapped market.
Prudential’s “LGBT Financial Experience 2012-2013 Research Study” reports that median LGBT household income is $61,500 versus $50,000 for the average American household. LGBT households supporting a child reported a median income of $71,100.
Another Prudential study, the “2013 African American Financial Experience,” found that the African-American community is a growing economic force fueled by an increasingly powerful middle class. Key findings: Approximately four in 10 surveyed have an annual household income of $75,000 or more, and nearly 25 percent earn six figures. About one-third (35 percent) of African Americans surveyed have $50,000 or more in financial assets, including savings, investments and employer-sponsored retirement accounts.
So how can you start attracting a more diverse clientele? We asked several successful advisors for their insights.
1. Understand the complexities
Ken Waltzer, MD, CFA, CFP, right, president of Kenfield Capital Strategies in West Los Angeles, Calif., estimates that 25 percent to 30 percent of his clients are in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. Advisors considering this market need knowledge in several areas, he suggests. For example, the laws affecting gay partnerships are evolving rapidly. The Defense of Marriage Act has been overturned and more states are allowing same-sex marriage. The ability to marry is causing gay clients to reexamine their status and determine if the benefits of marriage are worth the downsides. Adoption of children by same-sex couples is another area that requires expertise, and Waltzer has developed a specialty in working with couples that want to have children through surrogates. Medical issues, specifically HIV and AIDS, can arise more frequently than with non-LGBTs.