Typically, financial advisers seek out the wealthy. But some financial planners welcome younger, less affluent clients in their early 20s or even their late teens.
These young go-getters may not bring in millions of dollars in assets to manage, but their desire to build wealth and avoid money mistakes leads them to pay for an adviser’s expertise.
Some advisers design a service package geared to attract young earners. For example, they may discount their fees and focus on helping college graduates launch their careers, negotiate salary, and make prudent, farsighted financial decisions.
Young people who watched parents mishandle their finances are often the most receptive to enlisting an adviser’s help. They may want a financial planner’s input on best practices to save, spend and invest.
Chris Diodato, a certified financial planner in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., recently added two clients, a 19-year-old and a 21-year-old.
“They brought me in to make sure they’re getting off to a good start as an adult,” he said. “They’re overwhelmed and hired me because the news is constantly reminding young folks that they are not getting ahead. They need someone to help teach them ‘adulting.’”
The 19-year-old, a college student, wanted an adviser to coach him on investing and mentor him on entrepreneurship. He has limited savings — less than $2,000 — but aims to graduate college a year early and launch his own business.
“For now, we’re working on building up his emergency fund,” Diodato said. “He’s super-grateful. He said he called six or seven other advisers and they all said no.”
A fee-only adviser, Diodato is charging the student $62.50 a month — 50% off his standard fee — for the first year. He hopes to establish a long-term professional relationship that will pay off for both of them.
The 21-year-old, by contrast, already has struck gold as a successful gig worker. She found Diodato through word-of-mouth and seeks to invest wisely.
“We got her set up with QuickBooks Self-Employed,” Diodato said. “She has all this cash coming in and she doesn’t know how to manage it.”
In rare cases, advisers accept young clients with substantial assets. The challenge is guiding these budding titans to accumulate, not squander, their newfound wealth.
Danny Michael, a certified financial planner in San Diego, Calif., took on a new client three years ago — a 20-year-old earning more than $700,000 a year as a professional video game player. He had already saved roughly $500,000.
“He wanted to work with a financial professional to ensure that he was making good decisions as a high-income earner at such an early age,” Michael said. “When he came to me, he was buying individual stocks. I don’t think he was very confident in his investment strategy.”
Over the past three years, he has helped his client purchase real estate, mitigate tax liabilities and set up a diversified investment plan.
“I really enjoy working with him as I know that my recommendations today have a massive impact on his financial well-being given all the time he has for his money to work for him,” Michael said.
Advisers who serve the young crowd tend to accommodate these clients’ preferred communication style. Instead of phone calls or emails, they may rely on texting or video messaging apps.
Education shapes the adviser’s role. And that can take time and ongoing effort.
“A challenge is you have to take things slowly and be patient with them,” Diodato said. “You can’t assume what they know, so you have to define your terms.”