Why is it so difficult to find younger customers? Or maybe it’s all about finding a way to get there early?
In this latest interview, Helen Thomas, Certified Financial Planner and winner of the Insurance Institute of Liverpool’s Young Director of the Year award, tells FTAdviser about the issues young people face when it comes to their finances.
It also explains how to overcome any age gap between these young clients and the advisors.
FTAadviser: We recently reported that 6% of financial advisors are under 30 years old. Have you experienced this age disparity? What do you think can be done to help young people enter the profession?
Helen Thomas: It doesn’t surprise me that only 6% of advisors are under 30, you only have to look at the conference attendees to see that there is a shortage of young people in the profession.
I have found that the emphasis is on “experience”, but there is a lack of training available for young people who wish to become advisers in small and medium enterprises.
Instead, many young people go through technical exams and administrative and para-planning roles without the necessary customer-facing experiences.
FTA: When working with younger clients, how do you incorporate their age when giving financial advice?
excl. tax: Financial planning is all about helping people achieve their goals, a 25 year old will have very different needs and priorities than someone aged 55 or 75.
Because younger clients have different goals and very different timelines for things like retirement and estate planning, we need to look at the counseling process differently.
For example, while a cash flow model is a very useful tool for people who are retired or nearing retirement, it is less useful for someone in their mid-twenties, looking at the next 70 years, so rather, we see it as an “early warning system”. .
Likewise, making retirement contributions at age 25 is more about immediate income tax savings than the amount of tax-free money you might have at age 58 or the IHT saving at age 74.
It’s really about looking at what you can do now that will help you in the future, without affecting your short-term goals too much.
FTA: How receptive are your young clients to financial planning? How do you bridge the gap to make financial planning appealing to them?
excl. tax: Generally speaking, younger clients are as receptive as older clients to financial planning. The main difference I found is that the preferred style and method of communication is different.
For example, younger customers will generally respond to emails best when they have time off from work/family, usually on weekends or later at night.
To engage young customers, we provide free financial education articles early on and build on financial literacy by providing topical information, blogs and news articles.