Case Study – Advising Gen X and Y

This case study provides tips on how to engage with Gen X and Y clients. 2013 AFA Rising Star, Matt Hale, and his clients Jen and Glenn talk about the things that matter most to younger advice consumers.

At a glance

Submitted by: Matt Hale
Age: 27
Business name: Rising Tide
Licensee: Apogee
Clients: Jen and Glenn
Age: Both 32

In detail

After the birth of their first child, Jen and her husband Glenn knew they needed to take out insurance. The decision about who to approach for advice was an easy one, as Jen’s sister was already one of Matt’s clients.

As is common with members of Generations X and Y, Jen did her research before meeting with Matt. In Jen’s case, her research involved speaking with her sister, but for many potential Gen X and Y clients, the pre-meeting investigation will take place via the internet. Matt says the most important thing an adviser can do when meeting a prospective client is to be themselves: “People of our age are often quite forthright. They know who they work well with, and if you’re not true to yourself, they’re going to find out.”

Despite having received a stellar recommendation from her sister, Jen and Glenn were still sceptical about their first advice appointment. Jen had already entered the property market, and along with her mortgage the bank also encouraged her to take out insurance to protect the loan.

“They basically said, ‘Sign here and you’re covered’,” recalls Jen. “But I walked away thinking: ‘What on earth am I covered for? What happens if something goes wrong?’

“Part of wanting to see an adviser was a desire to become more knowledgeable about financial issues. I think that comes with being a first-time parent. I need all the information I can get, because any decision I make now also affects our son. I’m not going to sign-up for anything that I’m unsure of.”

Another consideration for Gen X and Y couples engaging a professional adviser is the challenge of finding time to book in the appointment. In Jen and Glenn’s case, their first meeting with Matt  occurred with baby Lewis in tow.

“You have to be flexible,” Matt says, of dealing with Gen X/Y clients. “Sometimes we’re conducting meetings in the morning before work, or when the children are having their afternoon kip, or after they’ve gone to bed at night. We are more than happy for clients to bring their kids into the office, but if it suits them better we’ll go to their house or catch-up via Skype.”

I don’t want to be going to a doctor that I don’t like for 50 years

Jen recalls the feelings she shared with Glenn at the end of the first meeting with Matt: “Before we’d even reached the lift, Glenn said, ‘Geez, I feel so much more comfortable with this.’ He had never been through a process like this before, and I could tell he was a little bit anxious about it. He was concerned about how much money it would cost and how much time it would take out of his working day.

“But from the start, we felt extremely comfortable. We didn’t feel awkward about not knowing enough. We weren’t pressured to answer Matt’s questions right away, and we left with a whole lot more than we thought we were going to.”

In Matt’s case, the first appointment is what he calls the ‘right fit’ meeting. “I’ve got client relationships that could be going in 50 years’ time. I don’t want to be going to a doctor that I don’t like for 50 years, so why would you go to an adviser that you feel that way about? That first meeting is about working out whether I can add value, whether I want to work with the client, and whether they look like they’re comfortable with me.”

From then on, the focus for most Gen X/Y clients is to get their financial protection in place. “When a new baby is born, it’s 18 months to 2 years of just ‘battening down the hatches’,” says Matt. “It is the time when there’s going to be the least amount of family income coming in, because of maternity leave, days off work, and a whole raft of issues that come up with a young child in the house. We don’t want people to be feeling that there’s pressure on them to do anything other than look after the family.”

Jen’s advice to other financial advisers who are dealing with clients her age is simple: believe in what you do. “If Matt didn’t believe in what he was doing, that would show through so quickly to new clients, especially those with new families, who are questioning everything that is going on in their lives. It was Matt’s integrity that got the deal across the line, and what made us feel so comfortable when we walked away.”

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