BISA Magazine - Quarter 1, 2017 - 13

Bridging the Generation Gap
Cam Marston, founder of Generational Insights, and
author of The Gen-Savvy Financial Advisor, has studied
the generational characteristics and differences of four
generations: Matures, baby boomers, Generation X,
and millennials. In an interview with BISA Magazine,
he provides some suggestions on how financial
advisors can communicate and align with these
different generations.

Matures (born before 1946): They pre-date the baby boomers.
They're a loyal market to many advisors. They're a very patriotic
generation. They seek and have trouble finding deference-that
is, respect and being treated well. Advisors need to be aware of
the infirmities that come with age, but not draw attention to them.
For example: People with aging eyes have a hard time looking at
glossy paper in a room of florescent lights because of the glare.
They like chairs that have arms on them so they can help themselves into and lift themselves out of these chairs more easily.
Leave a space at a conference table for wheelchairs; don't move
chairs out of the way in front of them. These are little elements of
deference that make them feel valued and respected. They are
aware of their age, but they don't want you to make their age a
conversation piece.
Baby boomers (born 1946-1964): They have a "collective" or
"on-the-same-page" mentality. They want to feel part of the team
with an advisor. Many advisors, particularly younger ones, want to
draw a line at how involved they get with their clients. The boomers
have an attitude of: "We have challenges, and anyone who helps
me solve my challenges is my teammate." And that is the attitude
advisors need to take with boomers. We're on your team; we're all
a part of this; we'll get through this together. We'll make plans that
will celebrate your victory, and we'll all celebrate it. You're "all in"
with the boomer approach. It's a generation that welcomes your
participation on the family team.

If an advisor is struggling to find a
way to make a connection with clients'
children, Marston offers some advice
on how to go about it.
Engage the boomer client or couple in
a "stroll down memory lane," he says.
An advisor can say to a client, "Remember when you were in your 20s and
30s? Remember the uncertainty you felt,
the confusion you had? Remember how
you felt retirement was so far off?"
The clients will then look back at where
they started, and talk about how much
better off they are today. This gives the
advisor the opportunity to say, "What

Generation X (born 1965-1979): They're an aloof and a bit
distanced generation. They see technology as a very efficient
form of communication, and to them it's not impersonal or
inhuman. Receiving regular updates from an advisor via email or
text message is just fine. To the boomers or matures, that's too
impersonal. The Gen Xer, though, sees it as an efficient use of
communication. Gen Xers are also going to be more casual in
their relationship with an advisor. They may think of something
they want to tell an advisor, and send an email at 1:30 a.m. from
their cell phone. The email will have no capital letters and no
punctuation, and they'll think that's a fine way to communicate with
an advisor. Their thinking is: "We're friends. We're colleagues."
A senior advisor would say, "Well, maybe you should call me to
discuss these things." That Gen Xer will say: "No, I don't want to
call you, that's going to lead to a 20- or 30-minute conversation;
I'm going to email you. It will take 60 seconds at 1 a.m. and
sometime tomorrow I'll look for a reply from you." That's the best,
most convenient and efficient way to communicate with them.
Millennials (born 1980 to 2000): They want to communicate
in a manner similar to Gen X, with more text messaging and less
talk. You'll find that they are a group-oriented generation. They love
events, but they don't want to go alone. They'll come in multiples
of two or three. If you ask them to come to an event at your office
on their own, they're less likely to come. They'll engage in a group
activity much more quickly than anything individual. That's kind of a
life space they're going through right now, although they are slowly
growing out of it. A good way to approach them is to meet them
on neutral ground: "Why don't you grab two to three buddies and
let me take you to a quick lunch. It will be 40 minutes beginning
to end. Your parents have told me about you and your career. It
sounds like things are going well. I want you to be aware of what
we do and how we can help you down the road." This is not a
sales pitch; it's an informational gathering.

if we make your children feel the same
way? How can I help your children
achieve those same feelings? Why don't
you introduce them to me?"

A financial literacy
approach
Some advisors have focused on financial literacy as a way to tap into the
younger generation, Marston says. They
are holding events for adult children
who are at an age where they are
interested in buying a home and want
information on mortgage services. The

approach is to send information to
boomer clients on an event that may interest their children: A mortgage seminar or home-buying seminar. "Schedule
the events, introduction and engagements of the clients' next generation
based on the life stages that people will
go through," he says.
It's not only the clients that learn and
benefit from an all-inclusive family
strategy. BB&T's Borrello says serving clients as family is rewarding and
enriching for the advisor as well. "The
children and grandchildren aren't just
names on a legal document," he says.
"You know them." ▲

13
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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of BISA Magazine - Quarter 1, 2017

Table of Contents
BISA Magazine - Quarter 1, 2017 - Cover1
BISA Magazine - Quarter 1, 2017 - Cover2
BISA Magazine - Quarter 1, 2017 - Table of Contents
BISA Magazine - Quarter 1, 2017 - 2
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https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/bisa/2017q2
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/bisa/2017q1
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/bisa/2016q4
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/bisa/2016q3
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/bisa/2016q2
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/bisa/2016q1
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/bisa/2015q4
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/bisa/2015q3
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/bisa/2015q2
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/bisa/2015q1
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/bisa/2014q4
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/bisa/2014q3
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/bisa/2014q2
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