But it did get me thinking about spending habits of the younger generation – myself included. Fed up of the bad press we seem to get about our outlook on the world, I hastily sat down at my laptop and Googled the topic…
A study launched by former Conservative minister David Willetts has said that millennials spend three times more of their income on housing than their grandparents, stating “the generation currently aged 18-36 are typically spending over a third of their post-tax income on rent or about 12% on mortgages.” Since the financial crisis, asset prices have made strong gains, but average wages have actually lost value in real terms. This coupled with the rising cost of living, means young people are likely to be a very different type of client to what we may be used to.
It’s clear that the emergence of young clients and the shape of their wealth is quite different from the Baby Boomers and Generation X. But Noel Butwell, head of distribution - UK, at Standard Life believes that “intergenerational financial planning is a key driver that is shaping advice businesses.”
I have spoken to several colleagues and peers, and many told me that the only reason young people were involved in Financial Planning was because of their parents. But could this change in the future?
Trends do appear to be changing, but this will inevitably take time. The question my friends still ask me most often is: “Where should I put my money if I want to buy a house in the area I grew up?” (Answer: I don’t have a crystal ball, sorry!). However, with the emergence of auto-enrolment, more of my friends are asking me questions about the future and what they should be doing to plan for retirement.
Often individuals don’t tend to think about retirement until they are in their 40s, because when you’re in your 20s or 30s, retirement can seem a long way off. Whilst I am wary of making sweeping generalisations, it remains alarming the amount of younger people who often think that the State pension, alongside their employer auto-enrolment pension scheme, will provide them with the same standard of living as they enjoy now. However, whilst some may appreciate the need to save early on, interest may be muted as the level of disposable income is minimal due to rising housing costs and the general cost of living, as well as more immediate pressures such as student loan repayments.
Not only are spending habits of the younger generations changing, but so is their penchant for everything tech. It is often the case that younger people show a preference for being able to view their wealth on an app and with the development of more sophisticated technology this is only set to continue.
I’ve read many articles lately citing “the biggest wealth transfer in history” and it is expected that £215bn of investable wealth in the UK will be passed onto the next generation in the coming years. It will be interesting to see how the landscape of Financial Planning develops over time. There is a clear need for Financial Planners to react and adapt.
As client needs change and technology develops, so must Financial Planning. The research mentioned above, and many other studies, highlight the importance of attracting new talent and younger faces into the industry as part of a diversified workforce. This is key to the future of Financial Planning. Investing in talent now, will help businesses tackle the ever-changing landscape of Financial Planning and enable them to continually grow with it.
The Personal Finance Society’s Education Champions initiative is a response to the recognition that there is a need for young adults to be better prepared for the practicalities of independent adult life. But it is more than that, it is an opportunity for Financial Planners to go into schools and tell young people what financial planning is all about and explain the role of a Financial Planner – raising a much-needed awareness of the industry.
With all of these initiatives we are starting to see a change, with many financial planning businesses recognising the importance of investing in new talent and are hiring school leavers and/or graduates into apprenticeships and structured development plans – a really positive sign – and exciting time - for our industry.
Chloe Moran is a Senior Paraplanner at 1825