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If Anyone Needs an Advisor, It's Gen X

Insights based on The Flexible Advisor podcast

In the financial planning industry, Baby Boomers tend to dominate the landscape. Those with an eye for the long-term are trying to solve the Millennial sudoku.

Gen X — the proverbial middle child — is frequently overlooked.

Few advisors cater to Gen X, those born between 1965 and 1979/80. Yet their need for financial guidance is arguably the most urgent. Their peak earning years are proving to be the most financially demanding. They are securing and funding their children’s higher education. They are help their aging parents with health and housing challenges. They are saving for their own retirement. All while meeting current financial obligations and trying to enjoy the lifestyle they worked so hard to achieve.

A financial advisor’s objectivity, guidance and expertise can make a substantial difference for these clients.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Gen X is often overlooked, despite its urgent need for financial guidance. 

  • Spending is a critical, yet sensitive issue to address.

  • Be a resource to help clients navigate the college selection process.

Use the "B" Word

Perhaps the most immediate, and most sensitive, issue to be addressed is spending. After all, with all these demands, and all the work being done to meet them, doesn’t a person deserve some material indulgences?

“I do believe in rewarding yourself,” says Michael Labos, principal at Gen X Wealth Partners. “If you reach a meaningful goal, reward yourself on a relative basis. If you reach a key goal and you want that new toy, go and get it. But too often I see that Gen X clients don’t really budget. They live paycheck to paycheck and are in debt. I try to help clients understand the importance of living within their means and being prepared for unexpected expenses. It makes reaching their goals so much easier.”

The Joneses are a good lesson on what not to do. I think that that's a problem so many of us have. Some, certainly not all, of those Joneses may actually have the money; but those trying to keep up with them who don't have the money are putting themselves in a precarious situation. And oftentimes they don't realize how precarious until it's too late.”

“A financial advisor’s objectivity, guidance and expertise can make a substantial difference for GenX clients."   -- Michael Labos

Get Schooled on Higher Education

Another issue that can overwhelm Gen X clients is college selection and funding. Labos uses lessons learned in his own experience to help clients make sense of the process and save time and money: “My goal is to help my clients reduce their out-of-pocket expenses. For example, how they appeal to schools to reduce their expected family contribution and increase their financial aid package. I also help them determine the best school for the child and their budget. That could be reshaping what the “dream school” is. These efforts could save thousands of dollars, parents can deploy toward their retirement, and less student debt for the child.”

You can access the full discussion on The Flexible Advisor, wherever you get your podcasts.

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