It’s often said that if customers speak, the market will listen. Well, when it comes to financial planning, millennials have spoken, and they’ve made it clear the planning and advisement services of generations past will not suffice.
And true to form, the market has responded. After years of shunning or altogether shutting out clients in their 20s and 30s, or at best, attempting to force-feed them the same services as their parents, the finance industry is in the midst of an about-face, as a host of new and innovative financial planning networks designed specifically for the younger generation are making waves in the marketplace.
It’s that last point that matters most. Millennials don’t want just any financial planning services. They want services designed specifically for them. So, what exactly does financial planning designed specifically for millennials look like? In keeping with the millennial spirit, there are no official guidelines, but when you build a shortlist of the best financial planning networks for millennials (we’ll do just that momentarily), you notice they generally revolve around a few core principles. For the most part, they’re all:
- Millennials seem impervious to sales pitches and are highly cognizant of hidden costs. They want to know exactly how much they’re paying and what they’re getting in return. This means fee-based financial services are a must.
- Inclusive and flexible. The best planning networks for millennials welcome clients regardless of how much they have to invest or where they’re investing it from. In other words, no required minimum deposits, and no geographic restrictions.
- Education oriented. Millennials aren’t interested in being told what to do. They want financial advisers to be more like coaches — or better still, partners.
- Digital and social. Suit-and-tie meetings behind the closed doors of a stuffy office are not for millennials. Millennials want to socialize, interact, and share ideas where they feel most comfortable — online and on their smartphones.
In some form or another, the best financial planning networks for millennials connect in ways traditional approaches never could.
Here are three standouts:
Society of Grownups
If you want proof that millennials have caught the eye of the finance industry, look no further than the Society of Grownups, an independent subsidiary of insurance company MassMutual (although you’d hardly be able to tell — they don’t sell any of their products). Heavily focused on providing educational content that’s practical, social, and engaging, Society of Grownups offers a host of classes and events designed to help young adults identify and achieve their financial goals. Everything from spending to investing to paying down debt is covered across a variety of classes, happy hours, group chats, and supper clubs. The organization is based in Brookline, Mass., but does offer free online classes for nonlocals looking to get in on the experience. For those who want to take the next step beyond just education, Society of Grownups has a team of fee-based financial planners. Clients can choose between high-level checkups that cost $20 per appointment (the first one is free), or full financial planning appointments that run $100 per session.
XY Planning Network
The XY Planning Network is a network of fee-only financial advisers who focus specifically on Gen X and Gen Y clients. There are no minimums required to get started as a client, and advisers in the XY Planning Network are not permitted to accept commissions, referral fees, or kickbacks. In other words, no high-pressure sales pitches or hidden agendas. Just practical financial advice doled out at a flat monthly rate. The organization itself is based in North Carolina, but they offer virtual services that enable any client to connect with any adviser regardless of where they reside.
Garrett Planning Network
A national network featuring hundreds of financial planners, the Garrett Planning Network checks many key boxes for millennials. All members of the Garrett Planning Network charge for their services by the hour on a fee-only basis. They do not accept commissions, and clients pay only for the time spent working with their adviser. Just as important for millennials, advisers in the Garrett Planning Network require no income or investment account minimums for their hourly services.
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