Marin Community Foundation
X or Why?

Four Tips To Working With Gen X’ers

Originally published by Wealth Management [link] on February 14, 2014

Generation X is classically defined at people born between the years 1965 and 1979. Pretty much those clients in their early 30’s to their late 40’s. When the first Gen X’er turns the age of 50, I promise you that many of the large big box financial services firms will begin to adjust their marketing campaigns as Generation X becomes more of a prime ‘client’ for their firms. Having spent the past six years creating firm in large part dedicated to Generation X, there are important items to pay attention to if you really want to win over these clients. This group is beginning to hit its peak stages of earning income and I can promise you that after seeing over 2,000 cases, this is by no stretch of the imagination a group that you should idly sit by and watch them be handled by your competition. Here are four tips that I can give you to help your business with Generation X. 

TIP #1- It’s exit planning, not retirement planning - Whoever thought that the corporate ladder a Gen X’er worked so hard to get to the top of would end up being their worst nightmare? Many clients in their late 30’s to late 40’s are not as worried about retirement as they are figuring out an exit plan from the job they have grown to hate and move into something that they love. They would even consider doing a SEPP to begin income streams and allow a bridge to help them open up a new business or a consulting gig. Having other knowledge like using their 401(k) as potential funding for starting up their business is additional information that you will want to know in the future. Most of all, discuss work optional and exit planning versus retirement.

TIP #2- Bundle sets of services - For most of the Gen X’ers, going their own financial plan and asset management isn’t a competency issue . . . it’s a capacity issue. TIME is the number one most important commodity. As family life, work life, and technology have stretched their time to the max, having a disconnected advisory relationship makes it more arduous for Generation X to do their financial plan. Whether or not your firm offers it, having the ability to bring in CPA’s, attorney, and property & casualty professionals so the busy Gen X’er doesn’t have to ride around town will make you increasingly valuable to this group.

TIP #3- Life coach versus financial coach - Many of the Generation X clients you will bring aboard into your practice need much more than a wealth manager or a financial planner.   Being skilled in understanding how to read job offers, benefits booklets, and overall business knowledge will be rewarded even more than being able to construct an asset allocation.  You will want to brush up on understanding business entities, general day to day financial decision issues, and helping to plan for their parents’ long term care.

TIP #4 Marketing needs to be done through experiences - Since this group is so busy, don’t bother trying to do a dinner at Ray’s Killer Creek steakhouse with a wholesaler. They can see right through this type of marketing even if you get them in the seats. Try going to a website like Living Social ( and looking at the experiences that you can recreate for prospecting or client appreciation events. Had you considered a glassblowing night? An iron chef night? How about sake tasting and sushi rolling? They will bring friends with them and you won’t have to sell them. Just make it fun.