Run a Google search for “Millennials and investing” and you’ll find enough literature to keep you reading for hours (maybe even days!). There is no shortage of data available from surveys, studies, and the like, all attempting to depict trends on investing behavior and perceptions of Millennials. Why does this generation merit your attention as a financial advisor? Well, according to data published by Goldman Sachs, “The Millennial generation is the largest in US history and as they reach their prime working and spending years, their impact on the economy is going to be huge.” On the other hand, a survey from found that only 1-in-3 Millennials invest in the stock market (compared to about half of the population of Gen X’ers and Baby Boomers). The fact that this large population is also largely under-invested ultimately equates to opportunity for advisors today. There’s only one problem: Millennials don’t trust investment advisors.

Who are Millennials?

Before we discuss some potential solutions to this problem and ways you can better appeal to this population, let’s first get an idea of “who” Millennials are. There are tons of resources available that help define this generation. Some of our favorites include – Goldman Sach’s “Data Story: Millennials”, this report from “Millennial Marketing”, and for those interested in even more in-depth research topics regarding Millennials, you can visit Pew Research Center’s dedicated “Millennial” topic page. Below are the points we found to be of particular interest:

  • There is some debate about the exact definition of age ranges for those categorized into the Millennial population, but generally speaking, it includes those born between 1980 and 2000. That means the oldest Millennials are nearing the end of their 30’s, while the youngest Millennials are still getting used to having their driver’s licenses.
  • They account for 25% of the US population (approximately 92 million people), making it the largest generation in the country’s history.
  • Having grown up in a time of rapid change and innovation, Millennials have known an “always-on” digital world. They send a median of 50 texts per day, and have the highest number of Facebook friends (an average of 250).
  • Millennials value brands that enhance their lives, and are more likely to make purchases that support a cause, even if that means paying a premium.
  • They have been slower to marry, move out on their own, and make large purchases such as cars and houses, than generations before them.
  • Approximately 1-in-4 Millennials are parents.
  • 50% of the Millennial population consider themselves politically unaffiliated

Millennials and Investing:

Back in 2011, Barron’s published an article titled “How to Keep the Kids” with points that remain very relevant today, especially as it pertains to the Millennial population and their investing tendencies (or lack thereof). Below is an excerpt from the article:

A mere 2% of children keep the money they’ve inherited with their parents’ financial advisor, according to a PriceWaterhouseCoopers Global Private Banking/Wealth Management survey. Similarly, only 45% of wives keep their assets with the same financial advisor after the husband dies. The reason for this high attrition is simple: The advisor has no relationship with the client’s family. “If your first introduction to the kids is: ‘I’m sorry for your loss, my name is Phil,’ that doesn’t work,” Krawcheck says.

To add insult to injury, an estimated $30 trillion in assets is expected to be passed from the Baby Boomer generation to Millennials in the coming years (source: So how can you best go about “keeping the kids?” Well, as is the case with any prospective client, the key to winning their business (and trust) is to first understand where they are and where they want to be, financially. Using the data that is available about Millennials’ investing habits and sentiment, can help narrow your prospecting strategy. Of course, not every client or prospect that walks through your door between the age of 20 and 37 can automatically be categorized within these generational stereotypes, but we hope the thoughts below serve as a good starting point.

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