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What Financial Planners Should Know About Millennial and Gen Z Clients

young couple at financial planning consultation
Photo credit: ty/Adobe Stock

According to the Brookings Institute, more than half of Americans were Millennials or younger as of July 2020. While the term “Millennial” has been synonymous with “young adult” throughout much of the past decade, it’s a descriptor for those born between 1981 and 1996. Many of these Millennials, who now range from 26 to 41 in age, are entering new life stages as they advance in their careers, save for retirement and plan for their own children’s financial futures. The oldest members of “Gen Z,” ages 18 to 25, are also beginning to earn full-time wages and are projected to comprise nearly one-third, or 30%, of the workforce by 2030.

Although many financial planners have years of experience working with these generations’ parents and grandparents, some are still working to familiarize themselves with Millennial and Gen Z clients who are just beginning their financial journeys. The circumstances, priorities and perspective-defining events for Millennials and Gen Z clients often differ from those of Boomers and Gen X. Financial planners must understand these differences to provide these younger clients with high-quality, relevant advice.


Financial planners who recognize the importance of connecting with Millennial and Gen Z clients today better position themselves for future success. Some wealth management firms are already changing to attract younger clients who increasingly prioritize diversity and technology when choosing financial planners. In a recent Wall Street Journal article, Merrill Lynch describes how it diversified its advisor force and improved its technology. They report that people under 45 make up 20% of new clients this year, up from 10% five years earlier.

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