Check these guys out, not just boomers and millennials

Gen Xers need lots of financial advice but they're ignored by planners, Cerulli finds

Dec 7, 2016 @ 1:53 pm

By Liz Skinner

Generation X remains largely invisible to financial service providers, who continue reaching out to serve baby boomers and millennials, but tend to forget about the 35 million people in between.

Reseach firm Cerulli Associates said advisers mistakenly ignore Generation X, those who are now 36 to 51, because they are paying so much attention to baby boomers as they enter retirement and to millennials, whom many advisers target with digital-advice platforms.

“The real sweet spot for advice providers looking to address the next generation of wealth has been overlooked,” said Scott Smith, a director at Cerulli.

(More: Forget boomers and millennials, Gen Xers need advisers' help the most)

Generation X households control about $5.7 trillion in investible assets, an average $160,000 each, he said.

One reason the group isn't so interesting to advisers is that a large portion of its investible assets is tied up in employer-sponsored retirement plans. But the group is approaching the years that will be their most financially complex to date, as their earnings hit a peak and their expenses grow.

They'll need comprehensive planning to help them make decisions, Mr. Smith said.

(More: Learning and profiting from Generation X)

"Reviewing existing retirement plan assets can serve as a useful entry point into the discussion of comprehensive wealth management," he said.

Financial adviser Ted Jenkin couldn't agree more about the market potential of his generation. He started Oxygen Financial Inc. eight years ago to focus, in part, on serving the special needs of Gen X clients.

Many in the group are strapped for time, highly value tax management planning and are more concerned about cash flow management than they are about asset management, he said.

“They are working so hard and moving so fast that they are good at doing a P&L at their work job, but are doing a terrible job managing their personal P&L,” Mr. Jenkin said.

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