X Marks the Spot

Bill McManus   |  Wed May 10 09:15:00 EDT 2017


For several years now we have listened to the constant drumbeat about the importance of reaching out to the millennial generation to maintain and grow a successful financial advisory practice. However, when we look at the immediate opportunity for advisors, we may need to focus on a different segment of the population: Gen X.

Why focus on Generation X?

1. Wealth
Millennials might outnumber them, but Gen-Xers control more of the wealth. Gen X collectively has a $5.8 trillion investable asset base, which is seven times more than millennials.1 In addition, this generation is poised to receive wealth transfers sooner than their younger counterparts. Simply put, Gen X generally has more to protect and more to work with from an advisor’s perspective.

2. Need
Millennials might initially prefer to rely on technology to manage their finances, but Gen-Xers on the other hand are more than twice as likely over millennials to be advisor-reliant.2 Think about their life and financial situations, which are becoming increasingly complex. Gen-Xers are coming into peak earning years. Their children are growing up and getting closer to college-aged, which comes with a price tag. They are closer to retirement themselves, and they may have aging parents that already or will soon need caregiving. It should, therefore, be an easier pitch to Generation X clients as to why they might need financial advisory services.


3. Accessibility
When it comes to prospecting new clients, Generation X offers some low-hanging fruit. As I mentioned above, this is the group that will likely be the recipient of the wealth transfer from higher net-worth individuals. Coming into inheritance, collecting a parent’s or grandparent’s life insurance, or becoming a loved one’s power of attorney can often be catalysts for an individual to seek out an advisor, and these are all scenarios that are presently more likely to happen to Gen-Xers before millennials. Take stock of your older clients who have adult children, and begin to establish a relationship with the children, who are likely Generation X. Not only might you land them as clients simply from their parents’ recommendation, but you can also make them aware that you are available and ready when one of the wealth transfer scenarios comes to light.

The demographic numbers would point us in the millennial direction, given that, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, their generation is the largest percentage of the U.S. population. We ourselves have shared several ideas around engaging Millennials. But there are plenty of other reasons why we should not forget about the middle child of the generations.

1 Cerulli Associates, Generation X: The Neglected Generation

2 Cerulli Associates, Generation X: The Neglected Generation


Bill McManus

Bill McManus  

Director, Strategic Markets

Bill is part of the Strategic Markets Team for Hartford Funds. In his current position, Bill is responsible for engaging and educating both financial advisors and their clients about current and emerging opportunities in the financial-services marketplace. These opportunities range from tactical strategies in areas such as retirement-income planning, investment planning, and charitable planning, to anticipating and preparing for long-term demographic and lifestyle changes.

Bill joined the organization in 2003 as an advisor consultant responsible for marketing Hartford Funds in Virginia and West Virginia. Bill earned his Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA®) designation, is FINRA Series 7 and 63 registered, and holds his life and variable insurance licenses.

Bill has been widely quoted in consumer and trade publications such as US News and World Report and Wealth Management.com. He has also appeared as a featured guest on Bloomberg Radio to discuss his views on retirement-related topics.

Originally from Smithville, New Jersey, Bill attended the University of Pennsylvania where he earned a bachelor’s degree in political science. He currently lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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