Attracting, delighting, and retaining loyal clients is at the heart of your practice. But how do you continually bring that vision to life?
For starters, you could capture the attention of prospects by leveraging social media. You could also host a series of webinars. Or, you could simply tap into one of the most underserved groups in America: the college-bound family.
“Really?” you ask. “What makes college planning the ideal connection with current and prospective clients?” For one thing, college planning is on the minds of countless existing and future clients, and tapping into that need could develop a sustainable client base for generations to come.
Allow us to explain more below, as we showcase the statistics behind the college crisis and discuss the various ways you can attract and retain Generation X and Y clients.
Number-Crunching The College Crisis
College planning is the modern family’s #1 financial concern, and that’s not an exaggeration. According to a Gallup poll, 73 percent of Gen X parents are “moderately or very worried” about funding college.
The cost of college is like a runaway train, and no one knows how to stop it. Universities have no intention of slowing down, as the cost of attendance continues to rise. And because college is famously billed as “the best four years of your life,” countless parents will pay whatever is asked of them simply to put a smile on their child’s face.
Yet underneath the diplomas, the dorms, and the cap and gowns is a festering financial crisis that desperately needs a solution. To better understand the problem, take a quick look at some of these jaw-dropping statistics:
- The average cost of private college is $54,880 a year. For public out-of-state colleges, it’s $43,280. As for the most expensive colleges in the U.S.? They clock in around $77,000 a year.
- In the academic year of 2019-2020, 83% of families paid for a portion of college out of their own pockets. An additional 35% of parents even liquidated their investment accounts to help cover the cost of college.
- Despite these sacrifices, parent income and savings covered just 44% of annual tuition.
- Meanwhile, the average student graduates with nearly $33,000 in loan debt, contributing to the staggering national student loan debt of over $1.7 trillion.
It’s clear this college loan crisis needs a hero. But before we reveal how you can help (and how you can attract Gen. X and Y clients), let’s take a look at the generational financial picture.
The Great Wealth Transfer (& What It Means For Advisors)
There’s a seismic shift in generational wealth coming, and it presents a significant opportunity for financial advisors.
Over the next twenty-five years, the predicted “Great Wealth Transfer” will see Gen. X parents — those born between 1965 and 1979 and currently 41 to 56 years old — inherit approximately $30 to $40 trillion from their parents.
This is a major opportunity for younger advisors looking to grow their client community over the next decade. If you can nurture meaningful relationships with your Gen. X clients, you’ll naturally bring those inherited dollars under your care.
However, recent studies identify two additional challenges for advisors with aging client bases:
- Over 80 percent of heirs fire their parents’ financial advisors
- A growing number of clients are distributing assets to fund their retirement and healthcare needs
For advisors, these problems persist at both the individual and institutional level. After all, the average age of an advisor is over 50, and less than 25 percent of advisors are under 40.
Besides, many advisors that have an aging client base are also getting older and wanting to slow down. And while they may still service their existing clients, they no longer hunt for prospective clients the way they used to.
Who can blame them? If an advisor needs to onboard two additional clients for every one client who passes away, it will be practically impossible to grow.
Ultimately, the inevitable “Great Wealth Transfer” creates a tremendous opportunity for younger advisors to not only reach the next generation of investors, but to help them prepare for their upcoming college investment.
Adapting To Market Demand
Now that we have a clearer view of the college crisis, let’s explore the ways you can match market demand:
1) Facilitate A Multi-Generational Conversation
Adapt to the needs of future generations by having honest, meaningful conversations with them. As an advisor, you already excel at this, but with the college crisis and the “Great Wealth Transfer” in view, you need a compelling, tactful, and genuine reason to meet your clients’ kids (and their grandkids).
Nearly every family we meet has a quiet expectation that “Grandma and Grandpa will help pay for college,” but they rarely know what that actually looks like. When your clients realize they hold more assumptions than answers, they’ll understand how important it is to have an honest conversation.
That will be the time to formally take the guesswork out of college planning and to unite the generations for a family discussion.
2) Leverage Technology to Emphasize Outcomes
College is a major investment, and it needs to be treated like one. When you speak with your clients and their kids, encourage them to consider questions they’ve likely never asked:
- What do you expect your child to earn their first year after graduating?
- What about after five years? Ten?
- How much debt is too much for an undergraduate degree?
- How much do you plan to pay per month in student loans debt?
At College Aid Pro™, our tools are built to answer these questions in a matter of minutes. With our “Outcomes” feature, you can show families the expected monthly loan payments and the statistically-proven salaries of graduates on a one, five, and ten-year basis.
It’s the most efficient way to remind college-bound families that they’re making an investment, and that they should expect to receive a sizable return on it.
3) Utilize The College Money Report™
While facilitating these multi-generational conversations, you can also use the College Money Report™ to generate leads and add value for your clients without lifting a finger.
Here’s how it works: our state-of-the-art lead acquisition tool plugs directly into your website. Prospective clients will provide a few high-level pieces of information on their top schools, their grossing earnings, and their household size.
We will then take that information, craft a custom report, and send it straight to their email. When prospects download the College Money Report™, they’ll receive answers to key questions including:
- How much do colleges think we can afford?
- Do we qualify for grants and scholarships?
- How much will we have to pay out of pocket?
Meanwhile, you’ll collect their contact information and have the ability to set up marketing nurture campaigns or reach out to them directly. It’s the perfect way to provide truly informative “freemium” content while attracting college-bound clients.
The Bottom Line
While adaptability is crucial for success, financial planning depends on the ability to cultivate and foster relationships. Being honest, genuine, and insightful is the most reliable way to nurture your clients.
At College Aid Pro™, we realize how easy it can be to get overwhelmed by the ever-evolving financial world — particularly when it comes to college planning. That’s why we created software that does the hard work for you, so you can deliver expert college funding advice with confidence and ease.
Find out how College Aid Pro™ can revolutionize your practice by booking a free demo with us today.