GenX Seeking Financial Advice

January 23, 2003 ( - Nearly two-thirds of Generation X professionals currently use or plan to use a financial planner.

Forty percent of the younger segment of the population, approximately 50 million Americans born between 1967 and 1981, are most likely to be working with an investment professional, with 33% expecting to work with one in the future, according to the second annual GenX Survey conducted by the MainStay division of New York Life Investment Management LLC.

The study found this quest for knowledge is largely fueled by a desire for security (81%), followed by 79% looking for stability and 79% seeking control.   Additionally, with recent market fluctuations, only 60% of today’s GenXers, feel confident enough to manage their own investments, down from 73% in 2001. The older the respondents became, between 30 and 34, the lower the percentage of confidence with only 57% of the elder GenXers showing the willingness to go it alone.

Advice Sought

When asked what financial advice they sought, GenX investors said they are looking for:

  • 62% – retirement planning
  • 57% – financial education
  • 46% – tax planning

Surprisingly, the young tech-friendly generation overwhelming preferred to receive financial advice in more intimate settings.   Forty-four percent identified face-to-face meetings as the preferred channel of communication with a financial planner, followed by 28% choosing e-mail consultations, and 25% desiring telephone discussions.

The MainStay GenX survey, completed in May 2002 polled 530 consumers ages 23 to 35 on their investment attitudes, behaviors, objectives and priorities. Respondents were US residents with investable assets of $50,000 or more.

Financial Trend

The most recent survey findings are in line with earlier reports that showed GenXers are savers, with more than two-thirds (69%) expecting to retire with more assets than their parents.  And a comparable 70% have savings outside their retirement fund (See  GenXers Financially Focused ).This confidence resounds when compared to the current economic environment.   If out of work GenXers told pollsters they should be able to make it for nearly a year. Most responding that their money situation is very or somewhat secure.

But the confidence in their money situation does not mean this segment is any less concerned about future spending.   Fresh out of college themselves, nearly nine in 10 GenXers now worry about how to pay for college for their children and nearly half report they’re saving more for higher education than their parents did. (See  NYLIM Survey Shows Gen X College Savings Focus).