In a research survey conducted by Zippia, it is estimated that nearly 61% of finance professionals are over 40 years old. And with the minority 39% being younger, current employers are rushing to remedy imminent low participation in the financial workforce.
The financial services industry has often grappled with an image problem among younger generations, who perceive it as overly traditional and dry. Yet, a career as a financial advisor can be rewarding, fulfilling, and intellectually stimulating. So, how can we encourage younger generations—especially Gen Z and millennials—to explore this career path? Let’s dive in.
Rethinking Finance Education
Firstly, it’s essential to make finance more accessible in education. Incorporating finance modules into curriculums early on can spark interest and break down misconceptions. As Annamaria Lusardi, Director of the Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center (GFLEC), says, “Financial literacy is like a language; the earlier you learn, the more proficient you will become.”
An article by Wealth Management presents astonishing statistics stating that only 16.4% of US students have requirements to take a finance course and over three-quarters of millennials lack even the basic understanding and knowledge of finance. The misrepresentation and apprehension towards the finance industry lies in the issue that the younger generation lacks the exposure for them to have a true view on it. Increasing financial literacy within academic institutions would inherently manifest increased participation and boost in the field of finance.
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Harnessing the Power of Technology
Growing up as digital natives, younger generations have a natural affinity for technology. The future of financial advising must capitalize on this inclination. By leveraging the power of fintech, the industry can create a dynamic and modern image that appeals to the tech-savvy younger generation.
One encouraging metric is that 75% of millennials are reported to be using fintech platforms for their personal finance management, according to a survey by Citi. Therein lies the opportunity to show how a career in financial advising can be a pathway into this dynamic intersection of finance and technology.
With the emerging and rapid integration of technology in finance, employers to understand that acquiring a new generation would not only remedy that concerning shortfall of younger talent but present a way for companies to acclimate and succeed in the everchanging digital environment.
Ethical Investing and Social Responsibility
Ethical investing is no longer a niche interest—it’s fast becoming the norm. A 2020 report from Morgan Stanley found that 95% of millennials are interested in sustainable investing. Financial advisors who are versed in ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) considerations have a unique advantage.
According to Senior Advisor Dr. Zhang in an article by Forbes Advisor, many clients are concerned about many environmental and social problems. By enforcing ESG values, companies are sure to capture and create prospective employees of the younger generation who will find the appeal in making a difference for clients who have the same priorities as themselves.
Therefore, positioning financial advising as a career that can contribute positively to society and the environment can be highly appealing. As Jessica Matthews, Head of Sustainable Investing at J.P. Morgan, notes, “Financial advising is not just about the numbers; it’s about making a positive impact.”
Showcasing the Entrepreneurial Spirit
Being a financial advisor offers the flexibility to start your practice, set your hours, and create your business strategies. This aspect of the job needs to be highlighted more to attract entrepreneurial spirits.
Take young financial advisor Katie Jacobson as the embodiment of the young entrepreneurial spirit in the world of finance. As one of the only females to become a board CFP™ Professional under 30 in the US, she has been trailblazing her way through the financial industry serving clients the past 5 years at Northwestern Mutual. Having tangible testimonies from people like Katie ultimately serves as inspiration and encouragement for the youth – removing reluctance and realizing their potential to participate in this space.
It’s worth noting that, according to a recent Deloitte survey, over 70% of millennials hope to be their own bosses someday. Presenting financial advising as a pathway to this goal can increase its attractiveness as a career choice.
Mentorship and Success Stories
The power of a good mentor can’t be underestimated. Pairing young people with successful, relatable financial advisors can inspire and demonstrate the diverse range of people working in the industry. Nationwide Retirement Institute conducted research that upholds the popular notion that “If I can’t see diverse executives in roles at every level of the corporate ladder, it can be difficult to realistically see myself advancing”. It is the mentorship that poses as the solution to facilitate career exploration and development for future job candidates.
Additionally, sharing success stories can highlight the many ways a career as a financial advisor can be rewarding. Miami Life’s SVP of premium finance and advanced sales, Clarence Knox, for example, has given testimony proving the viability of mentorship in which he reveals and attributes his current position in the financial services industry to the mentors he’s had throughout his journey starting from his time in university.
To quote Peter Mallouk, President of Creative Planning, one of the top independent wealth management firms in the U.S., “It’s a career where you’re always learning, always growing. And most importantly, you’re helping people secure their futures. It’s a profoundly satisfying profession.”
Inclusion and Diversity
Finally, demonstrating commitment to diversity and inclusion can significantly enhance the appeal of the financial advising profession. It’s important to show that financial advising is a career for everyone, regardless of their background, gender, or ethnicity.
The financial sector has a long way to go in this regard, but strides are being made. According to a 2021 report by Oliver Wyman, the representation of women in financial services has increased from 16% to 20% in leadership roles over the past five years, which is a promising trend. Statistics like these show the correlation between valuing and prioritizing different perspectives and representation for minorities and a positive impact on attracting and retaining employees.
In conclusion, to attract younger generations to financial advising, we must showcase the dynamism, impact, and entrepreneurial potential inherent in this profession. We need to leverage technology, prioritize education, and promote a culture of inclusivity and social responsibility. As we do so, we will build a future for financial advising that is as diverse and dynamic as the generations to come.
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