From Timex to Droid: How to relate to — and retain — clients' heirs

Identifying key items with different age groups can help advisers close the generation gap, Wells Fargo exec says

Jun 11, 2012 @ 2:32 pm

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Financial advisers know that when their older clients die, their heirs are likely to change financial advisers — largely because of generational differences.

Advisers can improve their retention, however, by getting a better handle on the differences between generations. Toward that, Wayne Badorf, head of intermediary sales for Wells Fargo Funds Distributor LLC, actually associates items with each generation.

Examples? Mr. Badorf calls the group born before 1945 the Timex Generation. “There is nothing fancy about the face or band, but it is still ticking,” he told attendees at Securities America Inc.'s national conference in Denver on Monday. “They were taught the value of a dollar.”

When Mr. Badorf thinks of the baby boomer generation, he thinks of a psychedelic tie-dyed T-shirt. Baby boomers are more focused on themselves than the older generation, he said, but "they believe the world is something they could shape.”

Generation X types are the smallest generation, and are characterized by their self-reliance, he said. “A lot of them were latchkey kids,” including Mr. Badorf himself. He keeps a key on a lanyard to remind him of his peers.

As for millennials: Mr. Badorf says the youngest adult generation, is all about technology. Not surprisingly, the smartphone is the item that represents them best.

One thing they like to do with their phones is rate things, he added.

“They rate everything,” he said. “Be attuned to the social media sites these millennials go to, because they will rate you, too.”

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