The research seems to suggest that they are quite different to their parents in terms of financial behaviour and that represents a challenge for Financial Planners.
A survey of 1,000 millennials by JM Finn released this week focused on this demographic segment’s woeful understanding of the risks they face from inheritance tax bills and perhaps explains why the HMRC’s ‘take’ from IHT is going up and up.
The survey found that 6 our 10 millennials have ‘no clue’ about their financial plans when it comes to IHT. Given that we are constantly told a wall of inheritance money is heading in the direction of millennials this is both a risk and a looming problem.
Many are seemingly clueless about the whacking IHT bills they could face once they inherit their parents’ or grandparents’ estates.
Now, as some will know, I’m a bit sceptical about labels such as millennials and baby boomers and the rest. It might be convenient to use these shorthand terms for marketeers but I don’t buy the idea that people in each cohort behave the same.
There will be many millennials who have a much better idea about their finances than many give them credit for. This is the generation for whom online banking and investing, often via apps, is the norm. They are comfortable with video communication with someone else and they are the best educated generation in history. These are not people living in the dark ages.
Yet JM Finn’s survey suggests that only 2.6% of millennials surveyed have any sort of access to a financial adviser or wealth manager. This I can understand because Financial Planners and wealth managers are expensive and you don’t want to engage them unless you really need them. That’s not my view but it will be the view, I suspect, of many millennials.
What is slightly more worrying is that just over half (51%) of those surveyed had no plans to seek financial advice once they received their inheritance. This is daft.
I can understand someone coming into a modest inheritance not bothering with financial advice but with property and other assets involved, good financial advice will pay for itself, especially on estates in the hundreds of thousands or millions. It’s just common sense.
There is great potential here for Financial Planners but I suspect most are not yet targeting this group. This is a shame and needs to change.
Millennials need Financial Planners just as much as Financial Planners need millennials.
Kevin O’Donnell is editor of Financial Planning Today and a financial journalist with 30 years experience. This topical comment on the Financial Planning news appears most weeks.