Millennials Gen Xers Asking for More Than Retirement Advice

It may make sense that clients and prospects who seek out financial advisors are, in many cases, asking for retirement advice. And a recent survey confirms that retirement advice is a consistent request. However, when the answers are divided by age groups, the same survey finds that, according to RIAs, younger clients and prospects are more often asking for guidance in areas unrelated to retirement. 

According to the 2015 Scottrade® Advisor Services RIA Study, RIAs are saying that growing assets and financing a home are millennials’ (birth years from the early 1980s to the early 2000s) top 2 asks when coming to RIAs. Out of the options given, retirement planning is the fifth most often asked-for request, behind also financing a child’s education and tax planning, respectively.

For Generation X (birth years from the early 1960s to the early 1980s), advisors say top requests include help in growing assets, financing a child’s education and tax planning.

“The path for these generations – especially for retirement – is far different than their parents and grandparents,” said Brian Stimpfl, senior vice president and head of Scottrade® Advisor Services. “For both generations, the cost of higher education soared. While they are looking toward the future, both generations are saddled with more debt than any before them – and are coming to advisors to understand how to juggle day-to-day expenses.”

A Pew Charitable Trusts study from 2014 shows that while Gen Xers have exceeded the incomes of their parents, 97 percent of them reported holding some form of student loan, medical, credit card or other debt. That compares to 82 percent of their parents. Further, among those who have debt, Gen Xers owe nearly 6 times as much as their parents did.

For millennials, the total student outstanding loan debt surpassed $1 trillion by the end of the second quarter of 2014, making it the second largest category of household debt, according to The Council of Economic Advisers’ 15 Economic Facts About Millennials Study.

While these groups are asking for more than retirement planning, many RIAs say they are not very confident about offering some of these other services to their clients.

When polled for the Scottrade® Advisor Services RIA Study, 76 percent of RIAs said they are very confident about helping clients plan for retirement. Sixty-nine percent say they are confident about helping clients grow assets. 

Sixth on the list is financing a home, with 53 percent of advisors saying they are very confident about their ability to assist their clients with that.

“It’s up to advisors to understand how they can best help these generations with their goals,” Stimpfl said. “When these clients ask an advisor what they can do for them, it’s far different for these generations than boomers and seniors, and RIAs need to be able to evolve their business to help these clients achieve their goals.”

For more information about the 2015 Scottrade® Advisor Services RIA Study, please visit the Scottrade® Advisor Services RIA Study site at (Percentages may not always add up to 100% because of rounding or the acceptance of multiple responses.)

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About the 2015 Scottrade® Advisor Services RIA Study: The 2015 Scottrade® Advisor Services RIA Study was conducted Aug. 3-18, 2015, in collaboration with Harris Poll, an independent third-party research firm not affiliated with Scottrade Financial Services, Inc., its business units or subsidiaries. The 373 Registered Investment Advisors were aged 18 and older and were employed at firms managing at least $10 million in assets under management. This online survey is not based on a probability sample, and therefore, no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, please contact

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