December 1, 2009
How well do you know your clients’ children?
More importantly, how well do they know you?
When you work with a top client throughout his or her life, you have an opportunity to ensure that the client’s family stays with your firm beyond the current generation. Financial legacies are often lost when wealth passes from generation to generation, so building intergenerational connections can ensure both a successful transfer of assets – and an advisory relationship that endures after your original client passes on.
"Creating connections between generations is easy and natural,” says Barbara Culver, founder of Resonate, Inc., a Cincinnati, Ohio-based consulting firm that helps advisers build intergenerational relationships. “When advisors help families flourish instead of fracture, it’s easier to plan for the gradual transition of power within a family, and assets could stay with the firm for generations."
How can you reach out and build that sustaining bridge between generations?
Teach the children. The top financial priority for 61 percent of parents with financially dependent children is helping their children become more financially savvy (see here), so providing financial education is an ideal way for you to connect with clients’ children. Especially in the wake of the recession, formerly confident do-it-yourselfers or those worried about layoffs or dwindling 401(k) accounts may be more receptive to your advice.
Peg Eddy, CFP, president of Creative Capital Management in San Diego, has offered her own Financial Literacy Primer for decades. “We use car-buying and college planning as a springboard toward getting our clients’ high school-aged children to think about money in terms of choices and consequences,” she explains. “Our clients are so grateful for the financial foundation we provide for their kids.”
Eddy’s Primer was so successful that she recently developed and launched the First Step Financial Plan, which offers practical advice to help young adults manage debt, buy homes for the first time, plan for the costs of raising a family and make investment decisions for an employer-sponsored retirement plan. “We recently hired a younger advisor, with whom the next generation can relate to more easily, to run this program,” Eddy says.
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