How financial advisors can help Gen Xers prepare for retirement

How financial advisors can help Gen Xers prepare for retirement


It should come as no surprise that Baby Boomers are one of the largest generations alive today, and they’re beginning to close in on retirement. With roughly 10,000 Baby Boomers turning 65 every day [1], financial advisors may want to turn their attention to the next generation that will reach retirement readiness: Generation X.

Gen Xers were born anywhere between 1965 and 1978, and they’re known for their self-reliance and healthy sense of cynicism. With debt from student loans and credit cards, combined with losing nearly half of their net worth during the Great Recession, this generation has had to make up a lot of ground when it comes to building the savings base needed for retirement. And that’s where you come in.

Best ways to work with Gen X clients as a financial advisor

While Gen Xers may have a general “do-it-yourself” attitude, there are plenty of ways you can add value as a financial advisor when it comes to planning and preparing for the generation’s upcoming retirement.

· Help them create a written plan

According to the Aegon Center for Longevity and Retirement, workers with a written retirement strategy are significantly more likely to turn their good intentions into actions, yet the same study reports that just a measly 14 percent of workers have such a plan in place [2].

Financial advisors have the unique ability to put a halt to this trend. Conduct meaningful conversations with Gen Xers about their retirement goals and help them come up with a strategy to achieve those goals. Set savings milestones and celebrate accordingly when those milestones are met. Taking the time to help Gen Xers create a written strategy for their retirement will allow them to monitor their progress along the way—while making the larger goal of funding retirement feel less overwhelming.

· Be clear with the cost

Advisors can meet the needs of Generation X clients by providing clear plan pricing. Remember that healthy cynicism we told you about earlier? Having taken a hard hit financially from the recession, Gen Xers value transparency when it comes to their money and their investments. Help them understand what types of fees are associated with their retirement plan and give them the all-in cost—this may help reduce their investment concerns in the long run.

· Be social

Gen Xers were the first generation to truly become tech-savvy online. While “You’ve got mail!” may have been where they started, the generation has stayed on pace with the advancing use of technology. In today’s world, that means turning to the web when looking for new products or services.

Our brains may immediately target Millennials—or the even-younger Gen Zers—when we think about social media and the need to be constantly connected, but Gen Xers aren’t so different after all. In fact, a recent study conducted by Nielsen revealed that Gen Xers are actually the most connected generation to date [3].

What does this mean for financial advisors? It means that you can connect with perspective clients in more non-traditional ways than ever before. As investors are leveraging new sources—in addition to traditional sources for investment advice—it will be important for you to build your own social presence and brand. A recent study reported that 50 percent of financial advisors have successfully used social media to convert prospects into clients [3], making the benefit of using social platforms clear. Expand on your social media presence, and you just may find that you have an easier time staying connected with perspective clients, demonstrating your knowledge base, and growing your business all at the same time.

Generation X is on deck when it comes retirement, as the youngest Baby Boomers are starting to cross the threshold into their golden years. With a lot of ground to make up due to debt and the recession, financial advisors have plenty of opportunities to help Gen Xers prepare for their financial future and own their retirement readiness.