There are approximately 15.5 million affluent millennials in the United States alone.
With both the imminent growth of their own assets and the expected generational transfer of more than $59 trillion in personal wealth to millennials, affluent millennials may be on the cusp of holding exceptional power over the finance industry.
A new report from LinkedIn, the 2015 United States Affluent Millennial Research Study released on Thursday, examines what affluent millennials are looking for in financial services institutions.
The report, which focuses on data gathered in April 2015 from a subset of 1,507 millennial and Gen X individuals from across the United States, defines an “affluent millennial” as someone born between the years 1981 and 1997 with at least $100,000 in investable assets, excluding real estate.
What’s noteworthy is that 87% of the affluent millennials consider financial advisors important – despite that half of affluent millennials consider themselves “soloists” when making financial decisions. As a soloist, they perform their own research, make their own decisions and execute their own trades.
“Although affluent millennials define themselves as soloists, they don’t want to navigate these waters alone,” said Menaka Thillaimpalam, head of North America Financial Services Marketing at LinkedIn, during a phone interview with ThinkAdvisor. She added, “Affluent millennials are looking for financial advisors to provide them with a guided independent expert advice to help them make smart decisions.”
In fact, 37% of affluent millennials in the study called financial advisors a “must-have”; compared to 27% of affluent Gen Xers.
So, this begs the question: What do affluent millennials want in an advisor?
The report establishes five ways that advisors can build a long-term relationship with affluent millennials.
“Financial institutions should really recognize that there is a shift happening with this affluent millennial generation,” Thillaimpalam told ThinkAdvisor. “And if they can provide them with the right content and communication, provide them with a solution, they can continue to fill the long-term relationship with the affluent millennial for generations to come.”
1. Utilize social networks to provide personalized content
Affluent millennials want a financial services provider with a strong social media presence.
The study found that affluent millennials, more than any other generation, are turning to their social networks for guidance and advice on their finances. In fact, 39% of the affluent millennials surveyed (compared to 24% of affluent Gen Xers) consider social networks a “must-have.”
While previous generations may have seen financial matters as private and would never consider discussing them with their peers, nine in 10 Affluent Millennials use social networks to seek opinions and comments regarding financial markets and events.
The affluent millennial will look at what content is available from the financial services provider via social networks, and they’ll also look to see if it is possible to communicate with the company through social media.
There’s a big opportunity for financial firms to leverage the social networks affluent millennials are scouring for relevant content to deliver the personally relevant content these millennials seek.
2. Provide expert advice to establish trust and enable independence
“Financial advisors should earn trust and build relationships with affluent millennials by delivering a balance of expert advice and encouraging the independence that these affluent millennials crave,” Thillaimpalam said.
According to the report, affluent millennials are looking for financial advisors that act more as consultants than as account managers.
3. Establish loyalty early
The study found that half of the affluent millennials surveyed say they are “very loyal” and plan to do more business with their chosen financial services providers.
In fact, when looking for a potential financial services provider, affluent millennials will look at organizations they have an existing or previous relationship with first – as well as organizations their family members use or recommend.
4. Build relationships with emerging affluent millennials
The study found that only one in four emerging affluent millennials has a nonretirement brokerage account.
An emerging affluent millennial is considered a millennial who has investable assets of $25,000 to $100,000.
“It’s prudent for financial services providers to build relationships with emerging affluent millennials now to earn the long-term loyalty as their wealth grows and they become mature affluent millennials,” Thillaimpalam said.
5. Retirement planning
While the majority of affluent millennials have retirement accounts, the study found that one in three still does not.
“It’s important for financial advisors to establish relationships with affluent millennials now and become a trusted advisor to help them cast a vision to execute a plan for their retirement,” Thillaimpalam said.
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