With baby boomers retiring every day, it shouldn’t be a surprise that millennials are taking over the workplace. According to Pew Research Center data, in 2015, 53.5 million workers were millennials, easily surpassing the 44.6 million boomer workers.
In the insurance and financial industries, though that demographic shift seems to be happening at a slower rate, there is an elite group of millennials that are already leaving their mark. Alexa Meyer is one of them. As a financial advisor with Pacific Capital Resource Group, Alexa was drawn to this career because of her dual interest in people and numbers. Her skill with both has led her to a impressive early accomplishments — and also has given her some big ideas about what’s ahead for the industry. Here, she shares her thoughts on achievement, challenge, and serving different demographics.
LHP: Why did you choose a career in insurance or financial services?
AM: I’ve always been a people person. I’ve always been a numbers person. There aren’t many careers where these two components go hand in hand.
I loved that financial services gave me the ability to develop a practice in my own way and with my own personality showing through. I also sought an industry where I can have it all — the family life I always envisioned and a career that made an impact on the world.
LHP: Describe what you do.
AM: I help empower families and business owners to make educated financial decisions for themselves and their future. My approach with my clients is to ensure that we are collaborating in the decision making process; I am the informant, educator, and advisor; they are not being told what to do. We form long-lasting, trusted relationships through this collaboration process as we continue to build their plan through the years.
LHP: Share an achievement you are especially proud of.
AM: I was extremely honored to have earned the Bronze award for Penn Mutual’s Career Builder of the Year. I really pushed myself that year beyond what I thought was possible and I’m so grateful I had the opportunity to make an impact on so many families that year.
LHP: What is the biggest challenge that you see in the industry?
AM: I see a lack of understanding in what kind of value we can impart. With so much media around robo-advisors and DIY solutions, it may look like we are heading toward obsolescence in the marketplace. However, as our clients know, a financial advisor’s value doesn’t necessarily always come in the form of high returns, but in the intangibles: hand-holding clients through complex strategies, having the tough conversations regarding risk management that they might otherwise not address or even think about, educating the client on options they may have never realized they had. This component of the relationship is often more valuable to our clients than the reduced fees they could get elsewhere by doing things on their own. This is what we need to focus on marketing in the future: the relationship.
LHP: What is the biggest opportunity that you see in the industry?
AM: Women — that doesn’t necessarily mean only working with single women or women as the primary breadwinner, but making sure you are connecting with the woman in the family in an important way. Women tend to enjoy working with professionals more than men. They are often more receptive to advice and therefore end up implementing planning faster.
Long-term, women also refer more clients than men typically do. Many women have been left out of the financial planning process in the past, as it is traditionally an aspect of the household that men handle. By making them an equal partner at the table and getting everyone on the same page, the whole planning process moves a lot smoother.
LHP: What do you think millennials are looking for in an advisor? How can advisors best serve this market?
AM: Millennials are looking for information and education catered specifically to their situation. Young professionals are taught to research, to use their networks, and to use the internet as a sounding board for major decisions in life.
Despite this, most people realize that all the ready-made financial advice available to them on the web might not be as fine-tuned as they need it to be for practical and highly personal decision-making. This is where we can be of value. By demystifying the world of finance and taking an educational, unbiased approach to our client meetings, millennials see the value in working with professionals.
LHP: What is the No. 1 piece of advice you would give to a young person looking to enter this industry?
AM: Begin with the end in mind! Create systems that you know you can sustain or reformat as your practice grows.