Wealth Perspectives

High net worth Millennials: Savvy with high expectations


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How well do you know your high net worth Millennial clients?

Mike Van Wyk, Capital Group’s vice president of Customer Research & Insights, shared new research on the unique generational needs of high net worth Millennials at Schwab IMPACT 2018. During his presentation, titled "Millennials to Boomers: Better high net worth planning by generation,” Van Wyk revealed data on Millennials and corresponding actions advisors might consider to serve them best.


  • Only 51% of Millennials actually think they are Millennials 
  • Two-thirds think they are unique 
  • Millennials mainly think they are unique because of their use of technology and their music 
  • Seven out of 10 Millennials think understanding investments is extremely important 

They are…       

Preparing for the future

  • 83% want to own a home 
  • 72% say it is personally important to be a parent 
  • 68% say it is personally important to be married 
  • 85% think a long-term financial plan is important 
  • 83% claim to have a budget 
  • 58% say they are conservative investors 
  • 56% claim to have a financial advisor 
  • 53% trust financial services and 70% trust financial advisors 
  • They expect 16% annual returns from now until retirement 

Millennials: Savvy but cautious

Millennial persona: Life is happening fast.

Millennials send advisors a conflicted message. Members of this generation are savvy — 85% know that having a long-term financial plan is important. But they’re also open to financial help and guidance: 70% of Millennials say they trust financial advisors and almost half say they currently consult a financial advisor.

But here’s the challenge. Millennials have very high returns expectations despite being financially conservative. Scarred by the financial crisis, Millennials are fearful about volatility but still think they can earn 16% average annual returns until retirement. Now is a crucial time for them because they are experiencing a series of life events like marriage, the birth of a child and buying a house. These events are financially and emotionally challenging and have long-term financial impact. What Millennials need is “real-life” guidance.

Millennial action plan for advisors: Be relevant.

Understand their stage in life. Millennials are undergoing a number of critical life events — ranging from home buying to the birth of their children — and they do want your help. Their trust for the financial services industry is twice as high as any other generation, and 70% of them find financial advisors to be credible and trustworthy.

Provide “real-life” guidance. While Millennials do trust financial advisors, they may not be confident that they are the type of clients that financial advisors want. Connecting with them becomes much easier when you focus on the defining life events they experience each year. This has the dual benefit of making the conversation more personal while also making it very practical.

Stay connected during future real-life events. Keep in mind that Millennials are 13 times more likely to move money during a financial life event. If you aren’t consistently present at these life events, you may find yourself losing them as clients.

Erik Morgan, Senior Partner at Freestone Capital Management


Erik Morgan, Senior Partner at Freestone Capital Management, discusses his firm’s experiences working with Millennial clients.

More in this series about HNW generations

High net worth Gen Xers: “Do-it-yourself” generation

High net worth Boomers: Settling into retirement

HNW generations: By the numbers

An at-a-glance look at data that define your clients’ generations


HNW generations: Action plan

Enhance your effectiveness as an advisor by understanding your clients’ generation


More about high net worth:

3 secrets of high net worth clients revealed

High net worth will soon look very different

Survey: What high net worth clients want


Capital Group Advisor Generational Attitudes Study, September 2018

Capital Group Investor Generational Attitudes Study, August 2018

Capital Group Wisdom of Experience Survey, December 2017

McKinsey Money in Motion Survey, 2016


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Statements attributed to an individual represent the opinions of that individual as of the date published and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Capital Group or its affiliates. This information is intended to highlight issues and should not be considered advice, an endorsement or a recommendation.