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Portfolio > Portfolio Construction

4 Ways Advisors Can Reach Millennial DIY Investors

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Fifty-three percent of millennials in a new survey said they managed their own investments and intended to continue doing so, YCharts, a financial data and investment research platform, reported Thursday.

Forty-one percent of these do-it-yourselfers had a self-directed brokerage account, while just 11% had an advisor-directed one. Nearly one-third said they used investing apps or robo-advisors.

Only 30% of millennials in the survey who did not use an advisor said they were likely to do so in the future.

“The business model of many of today’s financial advisors is under attack,” Sean Brown, chief executive and president at YCharts, said in a statement. “With the $30 trillion wealth transfer underway and financial advisors being asked to justify their fees, it’s critical to understand the needs of the millennial generation.”

YCharts conducted an online survey in the third quarter among 600 American participants, 478 of whom were millennials.

The survey results appeared to give the lie to the notion that millennials are financially irresponsible.

The data showed that 44% saved more than 15% of their pretax income, while 53% were saving at least 12%.

Thirty-one percent of millennial respondents said they were somewhat or very nervous about whether they were saving enough, but even the top savers had misapprehensions about how quickly their savings level would lead them to seven-figure wealth.

Sixty-five percent said they expected to reach that level of wealth by age 45 or sooner.

Those aspirations notwithstanding, 37% of millennials in the study reported having between $25,000 and $100,000 in savings and investments, while 24% had more than $100,000.

YCharts said in the statement that given this shortfall from expectations, some financial guidance, goal-setting and a realistic strategy to reach those goals could go a long way for millennials and their portfolios.

New Value Proposition

YCharts noted that financial advisors may be surprised by the survey results showing that millennials either are not aware of the value of a financial advisor, or simply do not think traditional wealth management is worthwhile.

“Our data indicates that millennials are ambitious, aggressive savers, and with the current market conditions, financial advisors have a limited opportunity to demonstrate their value proposition,” Brown said.

YCharts offered advice on how advisors can better cater to millennial needs.

1. Give them a wake-up call. Considering that younger millennials in particular may be somewhat short sighted, make the advisor’s value more tangible by bringing planning for major life events to the forefront of your value proposition.

Representing large expenses visually or showing how drawing on savings affects future portfolio value may be especially effective in tempering their overly optimistic goals.

2. Play to the DIYers. Engage millennials early and often as they enjoy on-demand access to information. This may require more of a time commitment, like devoting a sleeve of a portfolio to a client’s discretion or allowing clients to do some research and pick their own investments.

Another option: Rather than giving them your conclusion, email them a daily update on their portfolio, or even an article that is relevant to their holdings and ask for their thoughts.

3. Be resourceful and accessible. In an age when information on any topic is a Google click away, increase your perceived value by ensuring you are the one with answers to millennials’ questions. Consider implementing an education component to your practice by developing a blog or another form of digital communication that serves millennials as a resource for questions about personal finance, investing and saving.

4. Know their “why.” Understanding why millennials save is the first step in engaging them. Show these investors that you recognize their priorities. Communicating on their preferred channels can be more successful than quarterly lunches and research binders. Technology enables quick, effective touchpoints that can lead to stronger relationships over time.

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