The situation

One of your wealthy clients referred her daughter to you.

She’s 27, works in media relations, and just bought her first condo. She’s ambitious and plans to climb the corporate ladder—she’s had two promotions in two years, and should crack six figures within the year. Her busy career and social life keep her smartphone glued to her hand.

She wants to discuss her goals and investment options. How do you communicate with her?

Try the following:

Ask

What will it take for you to become financially healthy?

Not

Do you have any money?

Ask

What steps can we put in place to prevent financial aches and pains?

Not

How much debt do you have?

Ask

How do you see us working together?

Not

Do you want me to create a savings plan for you?

Ask

How can I be a resource for you to learn more?

Not

Which financial issues do you understand the least?

When speaking to a Gen Y, focus on how financially healthy, not how wealthy, she is. She’s in the beginning stages of her career and likely worried about how to stretch her dollars. The goal is to make challenging issues, like reducing the debt she left university with, simple while creating a roadmap that leads to a solution. And shift her mindset so she makes positive money management choices. Say, for example, she purchased a flashy car on a short-term, low interest loan. That’s led to high monthly payments that are manageable, but spurred some neglect of her student loans, which have a higher interest rate.

Read: Is Gen Y worth the effort?

You need to explain how this decision worked against her long-term goals, but start the conversation by finding out her motive for the big purchase. Perhaps the car was a reward for a job well done.

Then reframe the conversation. Ask if it really feels like it’s an accomplishment if she bought the car on credit. Explain that true reward is knowing she’ll be secure in the future. This will help her to realize paying down debt needs to happen first. During your first meeting, you need to gather enough information to create a snapshot of her assets and liabilities.

Conversation starter

What are your
career goals?

Gen Ys are always plugged-in, so follow up via email. Send all the information she requested—the amount of detail depends on if she wants comparison charts or just the bottom line—and include links for websites she can check out if she wants to learn more. And, when she responds, be ready to reply quickly. Gen Y doesn’t do slow.

Read: Gen Y: Your future clients

Fun facts about Gen Y

  • Born between 1980 and 2000
  • Represents more than 9 million Canadians
  • 59% own smartphones
  • 1 in 5 have posted a video of themselves online
  • 9 in 10 have a Facebook account
  • 39% rank owning a home at the top of the priority list

Source: Abacus Data Insider, www.canadianmillennials.ca

Rosemary Smyth is a Victoria-based coach with Rosemary Smyth & Associates and author of 101 Success Tips and Strategies for Financial Advisors.

Originally published in Advisor's Edge

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