“I met Mr. Sanders. He’s just a kid.” Younger people often feel at a disadvantage in the financial services business. It’s a business where silver hair implies competence. Experience has value. As a newcomer, you have advantages.
- Fewer clients means more attention. When I transitioned from production into management, I had a role in redistributing my client accounts. My manager explained giving a large client to a big producer meant they might get an average amount of attention. Giving that same client to a newer advisor means they become their best client, with all the attention that comes with that status. It’s better for the client.
- You aren’t riding off into the sunset. Statistics show the average age of experienced advisors is pretty high. Clients thinking about their own retirement might wonder how long an established advisor might be in the saddle before they retire too. This isn’t as big an issue with newer advisors.
- You know about the latest products and strategies. Continuing education is important, but it has it’s limitations. You’ve heard the story: If you had a serious disease, would you want a long time family physician or a newer doctor, just graduated from medical school who has been taught the latest procedures and breakthrough technologies? Many would want the second.
- New Money is often young money. Younger people relate well with people of a similar age. You remember the GM advertisement: “It’s not your father’s Oldsmobile.” GM retired the Olds brand afterwards. You also know the same bands, films and actors.
- You are comfortable social media. Clients want to interact on their terms. As we age, we reach a comfort level with technology. A younger person’s comfort level often includes more channels than an advisor with decades of experience.
- You are part of a team. If you feel inexperience is an issue, you can rely on the depth of experience of the team back in your office. There are likely advisors of different ages and experience levels, yet you are all included in the same group picture on the team’s website.
- You are an agent of the firm. In many cases, the client hasn’t chosen you because you are the world’s greatest stock picker. They have chosen to do business with the firm. You are the face of the firm to them, but you have the firm’s reputation and resources behind you.
- You are a relationship manager. This ties into the point about not being a stock picker. That’s a skill learned through years of experience. You will be doing financial planning, asset allocation, helping the client select managers and periodically conducting reviews. That’s the role of a relationship manager. It’s a role most clients understand. Age is not that big a factor.
Being younger or newer to the business might have it’s disadvantages, buy there are advantages too!