Most millennials want to build a strong financial foundation. In my experience, millennials are eager for practical insurance and financial advice. They are typically pretty conservative and like to have a good cash cushion. They are slow to invest in the stock market and appreciate education (and doing some research of their own). They want a good financial footing to avoid the pitfalls they’ve seen older adults go through. They are also interested in developing a relationship with an advisor. Trust is important to them.

Start with millennial children of existing clients. At my practice, we offer a complimentary service to help them review new employer benefits packages, including explaining the benefits of investing in their employer’s 401k plan. If they need assistance with budgeting, we also offer to do an analysis for a reasonable, flat fee. Often, the parent will cover the fee as a birthday or holiday gift. We have this as an agenda item at client reviews and have made calls to make existing clients aware that this is available.

Leveraging the current client base by inviting retiree or pre-retiree clients to introduce you to the next generation is a great first step to accessing the millennial market. The best gift these clients can give their children is confidence about their financial futures. It provides more secure financial futures, both for clients who are planning for retirement and do not want boomerang children to threaten their plans, and for their millennial children who are still gaining their financial footing. The vast majority of schools simply do not equip graduates with financial literacy.

I am also in the process of hiring a younger planner. For Gen X and older advisors, it often makes sense to hire a younger planner who will bring insights and fresh perspectives on working with millennial clients. While the basic tenants of your financial planning model will stay the same no matter what type of clients you serve, millennials may respond more readily to someone close to their own age who can speak their language more effortlessly and communicate with them using the tools that they prefer.

Technology is extremely important. Millennials grew up with it and expect it. They want to use apps to access their banking, investments, etc., and are interested in communication through video conferencing and other less traditional methods. Being available after typical business hours also becomes important. As my practice moves down this path, we’ll explore staggered hours for client service after 5 p.m.

Bringing in millennial clients requires open-mindedness to new thought processes and ways of communicating, but is worth the commitment when executed properly.

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