How to Focus Your Practice on Millenials

Beverly Flaxington Beverly Flaxington is a practice management consultant. She answers questions from advisors facing human resource issues. To submit yours, email us here.

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I receive a lot of questions about marketing to the next generation and working with millennials. For this week’s column, I sought input from a successful financial advisor and CFP® who is a millennial and focuses on them in his own business. Read on for some millennial advice from Eric Roberge, founder of Beyond Your Hammock.

The financial planning industry has finally realized that baby boomers are individuals born in similar years who don’t all fit a single category; now, it’s time to do the same with millennials. From afar, millennials do look like a young, inexperienced group of future clients, an eventual target market. But upon further examination, you’ll find a diverse and committed cohort looking for advice from someone who understands their unique situation.

Dear Readers,

We’ve stood on the mountain tops and peered down into the millennial forest. From that distance, it’s no surprise that everyone looks the same. But my personal experience launching an RIA that focuses specifically on this demographic (loosely defined as those born between 1982 and 2000) tells a different story.

Hiking down a mountain changes the view of the forest. You eventually see it for what it is: a massive amount of individual trees of all types, shapes and sizes. Working with millennials is the same. A generation of 83.1 million people is certainly not a niche (US Census Bureau). In fact, that is 10% larger than baby boomers.

Specialization is Key

Specializing in the next generation of clients opens up an entirely new paradigm, one that is bubbling over with opportunity.

When I first launched my RIA in 2013, my pitch was that I worked with young professionals to help them use their money as a tool to live a life they love. Although this is still my ultimate goal, I learned a few things and narrowed my scope as my business grew.

The first lesson I learned is that not all young professionals need detailed budgeting help or have overwhelming student loan issues. A good amount of them actually have healthy cash flows and are ready to take their financial lives seriously. And this is where the ability to find a niche within the millennial generation becomes important.

There are many 28- to 35-year-olds who work in high-tech that make six figures. Those who are lucky enough to have escaped college debt-free with an understanding of how to spend responsibly are basically growth stocks for a financial planning firm.