Being a multigenerational advisor has become a hot topic these days in the insurance and financial services industries. We spoke with Stephen DeCesare, CFP®, and founder and president of DeCesare Retirement Specialists, to get his thoughts on what it means to be an effective multigenerational advisor. Following are highlights from that conversation.
How do you define “multigenerational advisor”?
As the name implies, I define multigenerational advisor as financial professional that works with more than one generation of a family, meaning, grandparent to parent, parent to child, and in some instances, grandparent to grandchild.
I find that working in the retirement space yields great opportunity to specialize in this niche. More times than not, different generations are included in the various parts of a financial plan. When you are advising older clients, they more than likely have children or grandchildren that need to be informed and involved in the critical financial decisions relating to their long-term care needs and estate plan.
How has being a multigenerational advisor grown your business?
I am a second-generation financial planner and have been fortunate to have had worked with my mother and her clients. Multigenerational clients became a significant part of my business primarily because of my mother’s aging client base. When I came onboard, many of her clients needed assistance with their long-term care planning and transfer of estate. I worked closely with client’s families throughout the process and more times than not, their appreciation for the work we did for their family members earned their trust and eventually they too became clients. This also changed the dynamic of the business, we shifted in helping those in their 70’s and 80’s to a much younger demographic of 40- and 50-year olds with children.
In working with different generations, you might talk to people ranging from their 20s to their 90s. In doing so, how does your message change?
I think the broader message always comes down to the individuals’ financial needs. However, when working with 70- to 80-years old we concentrate on current income, legacy, estate and medical needs. Their primary concern is to not burden their children. They want to be able to take care of themselves financially and physically.
When our clients are in the 40- to 50-year old range, we tend to focus our planning efforts on retirement income and long-term care planning. For younger generations our priority is to assist them with establishing the foundation for a sound financial plan that focuses on building wealth, balancing a budget to support their growing family, life and disability insurance, and saving for retirement.
Do you use different marketing or forms of communication (I.e. Face to face vs. mobile phone) in talking to them?
We find that our older clients prefer a personal touch, meaning home visits and discussing their financial plan over coffee and tea at their kitchen table. They tend to favor mail over email, although we still send both, and they appreciate more frequent contact by phone.
In contrast, our younger client generations like to communicate via email and are very responsive. They tend not to require as many meetings throughout the year, and although, it’s not my particular favorite method to communicate, they are very comfortable communicating via text message.
How much do the products and planning change, say, from a grandparent who’s a client to their child or grandchild? Do you have an example of such a family you can discuss anecdotally?
Products and planning strategies change significantly from generation to generation. When it comes to asset management, clients of different generations could have similar holdings, but the allocation will differ based on their penchant for risk and timeline to retirement.
Additionally, some products may be only appropriate for certain generations and used differently depending on their stage in life. Someone in their 70’s may not qualify for long-term care insurance or it may simply be prohibitively expensive and a different solution is needed. Whereas someone in their 50’s may want to consider long-term care insurance as it’s affordable and they can qualify. They may also want to consider life insurance as a possible estate planning tool to supplement income or replenish assets for the surviving spouse.
In contrast, someone in their 30’s with a family may require life insurance to protect their finances in case of an untimely death and disability insurance as an income replacement option in case of a disabling event.