It’s still early in 2023, and no doubt you’re still finalizing your firm’s business and marketing plans for the year. While you’re considering the many different strategies you can use to grow your business, you may want to think about adding two new consumer target markets, either this year or sometime in the near future.
Here are two potential target markets to think about.
The wealth of Generation Xers, or people who are age 41 to 56, went up 50% during the 2020 pandemic. They paid off debt, invested more and socked away money in their retirement accounts. Numbering around 65 million individuals in the U.S., Gen X comprises around 19% of the population. But as of June of 2021, Generation X held nearly 30% of the nation’s wealth, according to Federal Reserve data.
Equity assets owned by Gen X households totals around $10.5 trillion, according to the Fed data. That amount is 10 times that of millennials, but only about half boomers’ equity holdings. Yet Gen Xers are in their prime earning years, and their wealth is growing. Furthermore, In the next 10 to 25 years, $60 trillion is expected to transfer from baby boomers to their Gen X and millennial children, according to Cerulli Associates.
Sometimes called the “sandwich generation,” because Gen X falls between baby boomers and millennials, they are often squeezed between paying for their children’s college and taking care of their aging parents. Yet they have a lot of buying power. Data shows that 33% are in high income brackets, 63% have full-time jobs and only 4% have retired so far.
If you’d like to get Gen X into your prospect pipeline, you will find them online on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok. They are heavy mobile users, so optimizing your website and emails for mobile is critical.
Women in the United States currently control some $10 trillion in financial assets, but they will control roughly $30 trillion by 2030, according to McKinsey & Company. The year 2030 is only seven years from now. “This is a wealth transfer of such magnitude that it approaches the annual gross domestic product of the U.S.,” says one financial advisor. (The annual GPD was $23.32 trillion in 2021.)
In considering the massive changes that will occur by 2030, remember that all baby boomers will be age 65 or older by then, and, on average, women are outliving men by about five years. Women will be making more financial decisions in the future.
Women are actually making important financial decisions already. In 2022, nearly 9 in 10 women who were married or living with a partner said they were involved in spending and investing decisions, up from just 42% in 2012, according to a report from consumer research firm Hearts & Wallets. Interestingly, a new report from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College found that single women are holding steadier than married women when it comes to retirement preparedness. According to the Center, “The amount of Social Security and pension wealth, as well as financial assets like 401(k)s, that older workers – both men and women – acquired over their lifetimes has declined. But a closer look, based on marital status, shows that the erosion has mostly occurred among women who have spent more than half of their adult years married. Their fortunes have declined because they are tied to their husbands, who apparently have been hit much harder by economic headwinds, especially the Great Recession.”
Appealing to women definitely requires change in your firm and the financial services industry at large. In 2021, Cerulli Associates reported that a little over 14% of financial advisors were women. That could be a problem because according to a study by Insured Retirement Institute (IRI) in 2013, women would prefer to work with female advisors because they want advisors they can identify with and trust.
This means you may want to start recruiting female advisors to your firm, or training and growing your female employees from within.
It’s important to understand what women are interested in, and to appeal to their interests. Women are leading the field when it comes to environmental, social and corporate governance, or ESG, investing, according to an article in 2020 in Fortune magazine. From the article:
For decades a finance backwater, responsible investing—variously also called sustainable or values based or ethical—is having its moment. Fund bosses are under pressure from shareholders, clients, employees and activists to use their resources to fight climate change or address a raft of other issues, such as workplace diversity or LGBTQ rights or corporate governance on compensation.
The behemoth BlackRock Inc. announced its shift last week, when founder Larry Fink said it would redirect the roughly $7 trillion of assets the firm manages toward environmental sustainability and devoted his annual letter to sounding the warning on climate change, saying the evidence of the risk is “compelling investors to reassess core assumptions.” Because of it, Fink said, “I believe we are on the edge of a fundamental reshaping of finance.”
Women tend to be put off by aggressive sales tactics and excessive jargon. When consulting firm Kantar asked women what they were looking for in a financial advisor, it became apparent that women consider the sharing of their most private financial information to be very intimate, making them feel vulnerable. They want to work with someone they can trust and rely on. They consider the relationship with an advisor to be more of a partnership rather than just the hiring of a vendor or a service.
Women often differ from men in what they would like to get out of the partnership with an advisor. While a man might say, “How is my portfolio doing?” a woman might be more interested in attaining her financial goals, and might instead ask, “ Will I be able to pay off my house, send my kids to college, retire when I want?”