Don’t Forget Generation X

Generation XMillions of baby boomers are headed into retirement, or are already there, so it makes sense that advisors are interested in this demographic. It also follows that advisors are interested in Generation Y. After all, these young people are starting their careers – and their retirement plans. They’re opening their first bank accounts, buying their first cars, getting their first credit cards, and maybe even buying their first homes.

But what about members of Generation X, who were born between 1965 and 1981?

Given the general disinterest in Generation X by financial advisors, you might think GenX is the “lost generation.” But that’s only part of the problem. Only 37% of GenXers have consulted a financial advisor, yet they are facing complex financial issues such as consumer debt, college loans, down payments for homes/home repairs, retirement savings, life insurance, and other investments. So it’s of some concern that GenXers aren’t seeking the advice of advisors.

We conducted an informal survey on social media and asked our GenX peers why they haven’t consulted an advisor. We were given one of three reasons. Two were somewhat predictable: (1) They worry about the costs to work with a financial advisor, and (2) there is the impression that advisors are “product pushers” and not interested in the overall financial guidance of their clients (that’s a whole different topic altogether). But it was the third reason that was perhaps the most unexpected: “I don’t want someone the same age as my parents telling me what to do with my money.”

Let’s think about that for a second. GenXers didn’t grow up with technology per se, but they’ve had access to the Internet for one-third to one-half of their lives. They’ve become accustomed to doing their own research and making their own decisions. After all, this is the latch-key generation. They grew up in homes where both parents worked and they’ve been taking care of themselves since grade school. They don’t like to be told what to do, regardless of whom it’s coming from. They don’t want to be solicited to or be “sold” on a product. But they DO need guidance! A recent study by the Insured Retirement Institute titled “Retirement Readiness of Generation X” unraveled some disturbing findings:

  • Only one-third of GenXers are “extremely or very confident” of having enough money to live comfortably during retirement, cover their medical expenses in retirement, and pay for the cost of their children’s higher education.
  • Just 41% of GenXers have tried to determine how much money they will ultimately need to save for retirement. Among those who have saved, about half have accumulated less than $100,000.
  • Overall, many GenXers have felt the “sting of the recession”: 15% made early withdrawals from their 401(k) plans, 23% stopped contributing to their retirement accounts, and 22% stopped contributing to college savings plans.

For a generation who thinks they have it all figured out, you can see that they have a need for sound professional guidance. This is an opportunity for you as an independent financial advisor. What can you do to reach this group of 70 million Americans? As you can tell, this demographic doesn’t necessarily want you to show them a bunch of pamphlets on stocks, bonds, mutual funds, etc. that may help them become wealthy. They want to know how best to maximize the money they earn each month, how much to put toward debts, how much to put in savings, and how much to invest. They need education from you on how they can get their money to work harder for them!

For more information on Summit Brokerage Services, visit or contact us at (800) 354-5528.

This blog used with permission from Emerald Marketing Concepts.

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