As the financial planning profession continues to grow, it also continues to struggle to reach and effectively serve Gen X and Gen Y, as most planners tend to focus their businesses on baby boomers – no great surprise, given that baby boomers both control the most wealth in the country, and that most financial planners themselves are baby boomers and simply find it comfortable to serve their peers.
Nonetheless, the reality is that it’s actually quite possible to build business models that can effectively serve at least a fairly wide swath of Gen X and Gen Y, whether on an AUM basis by serving the “emerging affluent” clients that larger RIAs reject, an ongoing retainer basis to provide as-needed guidance in an ongoing planning relationship for the cost of a gym membership and cable TV, or even using a more “traditional” comprehensive financial planning business model that simply combines a modest level of assets-under-management with implementing the basic life and disability insurance which those in their 20s, 30s, and 40s will need anyway.
Ultimately, the true challenge of building a successful firm to serve Gen X/Y clients is not really about the business model, per se, which can easily produce a healthy personal income at a reasonable 100-150 clients, but instead how to grow and get to that number of clients in the first place. In other words, while designing the right business model helps, in the long run the real problem serving Gen X and Gen Y is a marketing problem. However, given how underserved the younger generations are right now, simply differentiating yourself by establishing a niche practice focused on Gen X and Gen Y clients may itself be an effective marketing cornerstone for growing a successful business to serve them!