Financial Advisor helping a couple with The Great Wealth Transfer

The “great wealth transfer” is now in motion, as predicted by Boston College researchers in the 1990s. An astonishing $84 trillion in assets in the U.S. is set to be passed on to the next generation by 2045, while in Canada, CA$1 trillion will be inherited by 2026. This significant transfer of wealth brings both challenges and exciting prospects for financial advisors. (

According to Cerrulli, over $80 trillion of inherited wealth will pass to Boomers’ heirs over the next 25 years, with about 40% of the entire Boomer asset base held by high-net-worth (HNW) and ultra-high-net-worth (UHNW) households. Approximately $9 trillion of this generational wealth transfer will happen during the 2020s for Generation X, and by 2030, millennials will be five times richer than they are today. Despite being poorer than their parents were at an equivalent stage in life, millennials will end up being the richest generation ever.

Many wealthy individuals aim to smoothly pass down their wealth, but there are several challenges they face in achieving this goal. According to The Cerulli Edge—U.S. Retail Investor Edition, 1Q 2023 Issue, U.S. residents are projected to pass on more than $84 trillion by 2045. This presents a significant issue for financial service providers.

Sounds like good news for those receiving a financial windfall, right? However, one of the initial hurdles is communication between those passing on wealth and those inheriting it. Often, investors hesitate to share crucial information, even with their intended heirs. Cerulli reports that only 26% of future wealth givers feel they’ve adequately informed their heirs, with 41% feeling somewhat informed.

Here are several ways to avoid misunderstandings and ensure that your client can experience the smoothest transition possible.

The ‘Great Wealth Transfer’ Requires Continuous and Clear Communication

Effective communication and understanding the management of inheritances are vital for successful wealth transfer among affluent families.

In this case, repetition is critical. Those who are passing their wealth on to others need to have continual and well-documented conversations. Just explaining complex topics once isn’t going to cut it. Most people are going to miss the details that could make a huge difference in how they handle the inheritance. Ensuring that everyone understands all the facets of the inheritance can help prevent future legal battles.

Knowing where and how future inheritances are managed is crucial. Many bequests are either handled by financial advisors (34%) or held in trusts (31%). These choices are intentional and based on trust. Explaining these decisions to heirs can strengthen relationships and provide wise counsel for preserving family wealth across generations.

If you’re not having these conversations with your clients yet, plan on doing so. You want to build relationships with those who will inherit the wealth and also, avoid any potential disagreements among the family members.

As the financial landscape evolves, independent financial advisors are faced with the challenge of not just securing their existing client base but also establishing relationships with the next generation.

Retaining the adult children of your current clients as new clientele demands a strategic approach that combines trust-building, showcasing expertise, and targeted marketing efforts. You want to enhance your ability to retain clients’ adult children as new clients, while effectively establishing trust and demonstrating your proficiency in financial matters.

Building Trust through Education and Communication

As I’ve often said, trust is everything. It’s the foundation of any successful advisor-client relationship. When it comes to engaging the adult children of existing clients, establishing trust involves transparent communication and a commitment to education.

Providing accessible, jargon-free information about financial planning, investment strategies, and wealth management can be pivotal. Hosting educational seminars, webinars, or workshops tailored to the concerns and interests of this demographic can showcase your expertise while fostering trust.

Personalized Approach and Understanding

Review your current client’s interests and goals. When you meet with their adult children, you can steer the conversation toward these topics to gauge their commitment toward the same areas as their parents.

Recognizing the unique needs and aspirations of each individual is crucial. Approach conversations with empathy, acknowledging the differing financial goals and risk appetites of clients’ adult children. Showcasing an understanding of their concerns and goals demonstrates a personalized approach, emphasizing that you’re there to support their financial journey.

Demonstrating Expertise and Experience

Showing proof is a large part of gaining trust. Your clients’ adult children need to perceive your expertise and experience. Use case studies or success stories to illustrate how your strategies have worked effectively in real-life scenarios. Highlight your qualifications, credentials, and industry experience. It can reassure them of your capability to manage their financial affairs proficiently.

Marketing Strategies to Reach and Convert

Getting the attention of the adult children of your current clients requires a nuanced marketing strategy. You want to use a blend of digital marketing along with live events and referral programs. Here are a few ideas:

Social Media Engagement: Experiment with platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, or Instagram to share valuable insights, financial tips, and success stories. Engaging content can attract this demographic’s attention and build credibility.

Targeted Workshops or Events: Organize workshops or events specifically designed for this demographic. Address their concerns, such as student loan management, home buying, or retirement planning, to show your relevance and expertise.

Referral Programs: Encourage existing clients to refer their adult children by offering incentives. A recommendation from a trusted family member can significantly impact their decision-making. Make it a “Friend of ___” and fill in the blank with your client’s name. Anyone using that phrase will add credits to that client.

Networking and Partnerships: Collaborate with professionals catering to young adults, such as career counselors, real estate agents, micro-breweries, gaming establishments, and more. Networking within these circles can introduce your services to potential clients.

Online Presence and Accessibility: Make sure your website is user-friendly and provides clear information about services offered. Accessibility and ease of contact can encourage inquiries from this demographic. Consider using plenty of informative videos that also use entertaining elements to attract and keep attention.

By focusing on trust, expertise demonstration, and targeted marketing, you can significantly improve your ability to retain your clients’ adult children as new clients. Remember, cultivating these relationships requires patience, understanding, and a genuine commitment to their financial well-being.

The world of finance is always changing, but your ability to retain and attract new clients, specifically the adult children of existing clients, never changes. Building trust through transparent communication and education, demonstrating expertise, and implementing targeted marketing strategies are key elements in this endeavor.

The journey to retaining your clients’ adult children may be a gradual one, but with a solid foundation built on trust and expertise, you are headed in the right direction while securing the future of your practice.


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