Most financial professionals today are pursuing baby boomer prospects. And for good reason.
This generation holds nearly 60% of the country’s wealth. (For comparison, the Silent Generation holds about 21%, and Generation X holds less than 15%.) The oldest boomers are turning 75 and likely retired, while the youngest at 56 aren’t sure if they’ll ever retire.
Sociologists tell us boomers aren’t a homogenous group. The second half of that generation (including the early Generation X-ers), is vastly different from the typical boomer. If you never fit in with the boomers and aren’t quite a millennial, you’re probably known as Generation Jones.
Who Are the Joneses Really?
The “Joneses” would be considered those in their early 50s to 65 years old. The label is fitting for this demographic. Because of their high population, boomers had to compete with one another throughout their lives. Younger boomers especially learned they had to compete at the highest levels if they were going to top the older ones. That competitive edge carries beyond the workplace as they fill their lives with the biggest houses, luxury cars, and destination vacations. This competition led to the phrase “Keeping up with the Joneses.”
While some would call all of this aspirational, the slang term “Jonesing” certainly applies given the craving this generation has for the perceived greater success experienced by their earlier boomer counterparts.
The American Dream for Joneses is about more than making money. It’s about reaching their highest potential. So how should a financial professional approach Generation Jones?
Let them know they have arrived. Acknowledge that their hard work and perseverance has paid off.
Then, show Generation Jones the ways their success can enhance their lives. Many have accumulated assets, but lack a complete plan that facilitates the dream.
Related: The New Normal Isn’t What You Think
Financial Planning for the Joneses
Life insurance continues to be a versatile cornerstone of financial planning strategies, offering everything from potential retirement income to policies that provide investment value. Eldercare, particularly asset-based, is essential. As is college funding for children and grandchildren.
In addition to providing for family members, Joneses want to change the world. Socially responsible investing was created to address this need. Smart advisors will help Joneses create their living legacy.
Early boomers grew up in the “can-do” era of the 1950s and early 1960s. They were full of promise and optimism – think of Kennedy’s call to put a man on the moon. Joneses, however, came of age after Vietnam and Watergate and during the Carter malaise.
They entered the workforce during a challenging economy. Consequently, the Joneses are more conservative than their predecessors. They also tend to be more cynical and have a general distrust of government than the oldest baby boomers. For this reason, Joneses typically reject an overly “salesy” pitch.
Joneses want to understand their investments and value the financial professional who can educate them and lets them participate in the planning process. They want to be wowed, but with authenticity and transparency.
How to Win a Jones Over
A Generation Jones’ life is already full, so build strong relationships with them by keeping it simple. Don’t complicate communications with them or hold extended meetings. Send agendas before the meetings and highlight important information in emails and flag relevant document pages with sticky notes.
Avoid assumptions. Don’t assume Joneses don’t care about technology. They witnessed the technology revolution, and some are even tech geeks. Don’t think they’ll retire either, because many have a side hustle or consider part-time gigs. You should be asking the right questions to uncover the Joneses’ desires and dreams. This will help you convert your leads into clients.
Lastly, be proactive about their heirs. Like previous generations, Generation Jones struggles to discuss money with their children. So, offer to invite the kids into conversations and meetings. The Joneses may not say so, but they’ll be glad you did.
When it comes to lifestyle, Generation Jones prefers to stay active and healthy.
Forever youthful, they desire experiences as much as they do luxury goods. Client events and marketing programs should make them feel special. Treat them to a tour of a winery that includes making their very own vintage wine. Host a cooking class for those wanting to improve their culinary skills. Consider a guided fishing or hunting expedition to create lasting friendships.
Study your client database to determine which events would have broad appeal, but also find unique niche experiences. Each offers enormous ROI, meaning “referrals, opportunities, and impressions” for the financial professional who provides these experiences.
Every generation has its unique characteristics. Financial professionals who are adept at working with Generation Jones will reap huge rewards. The dirty secret is that all generations want to be treated like the Joneses.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information. This is not investment, tax or legal advice and is the opinion of its authors, Surge Business Consulting.