Gen X & Y – breaking down the barriers to professional advice

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Baby Boomers are the ‘bread and butter’ business of many financial advice professionals, but the advice industry could do well to focus efforts on the younger segment of the population. The approximate net wealth of Gen X and Y is $1.4 trillion, according to ING DIRECT research by Rice Warner, and it’s predicted this cohort will be the recipient of $2.4 trillion in inheritance in the future.  

The opportunity for advisers here is huge. ING DIRECT research discovered that 75% of these generations want help with financial planning, and there is a trend towards delegating financial decision making and a preference for face to face advice – particularly at the beginning of the relationship. Less than 5% of Gen X and Y have a dedicated financial planner, and the majority (55 % of Gen X and 42% of Gen Y) have never used one.

However, while the majority recognise the value of professional advice, there are a few sticking points when it comes to actually obtaining it. Lack of knowledge, economic uncertainty, time constraints and perceptions of cost all play a part – so how can you address these issues?

Informative web content


Around 16% say they don’t know where to start and only 16% feel they are qualified to make financial decisions. So this generation is calling out for information that will help them become more knowledgeable about their financial affairs. Use your website as a platform to host informative content that will make it easier for people to understand what’s important and influence their decision making.

Tailored cost-effective solutions

One in ten of Gen X and Gen Y say they don’t understand the financial advice process and over a quarter think fees for financial advice are too high. So offering a range of options to suit every budget, and articulating the role of financial advice is key to bridging the gap.  

Develop an advice service model to suit their different engagement needs. For example, some may prefer a collaborative approach, and save money by doing some of the work themselves. Others may prefer to delegate everything. There’s no one size fits all approach or pricing structure. Consider what you can offer to fit in with different budgetary constraints and show value for money.

Simple DIY tools

While there is no clear demand for robo-advice from Gen X and Y, many say they would consider online tools as a way to supplement professional financial advice.  However, over half expect automated advice tools to be free.

Consider investing in these as a ‘value add’ and help build credibility as a trusted adviser between advice sessions, or allow users to approach you for validation rather than the full suite of advice for a more cost-effective solution.  

While the younger cohort is in the minority when it comes to seeking financial advice, their interest in taking control of their finances is on the increase. If you can adapt your business model to cater to the needs of Gen X and Y, you could open yourself up to a $3.8 trillion opportunity.

Mark Woolnough, ING DIRECT Head of Third Party Distribution

Gen X & Y – breaking down the barriers to professional advice
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