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According to Young Investors, Progress Toward Goals Matters Most

May 22, 2024

Younger and older investors are likely to have different preferences in music, movies, and fashion. How about investments? And if so, what does it mean for financial advisors serving different generations?

Dimensional Fund Advisors regularly conducts a Global Advisor Study and a Global Investor Study, collecting survey data from advisors and advisors’ clients (the investors) to help advisors better understand their businesses and the industry at large. A review of the Global Advisor Study from 2015 to 2019 identified an aging client base as one of the most meaningful challenges and strongest detractors from growth for a financial advisory firm.

Naturally, many advisors may therefore be seeking to win over and retain more younger clients. For many firms, the focus on younger clients will kick in as they seek to engage the future beneficiaries of their older clients or seek to create opportunities for their younger advisors. Understanding how younger investors view investing and the value they place on planning can support this effort. But what differentiates younger clients from older?

A recent examination of results from the Global Investor Study reveals that younger investors tend to care most about seeing progress toward their goals, whereas older investors are more interested in absolute return. We classify “younger investors” as those younger than 40 and “older investors” as those older than 60. Middle-age investors fall in between.

From 2017 to 2019 and from 2021 to 2023, the Investor Study collected 38,976 responses to the question “When I look at the performance of my investments, what is it most helpful to see?” Exhibit 1 shows the percentage of each age group that selected “progress toward my goals” as the first choice.

Of young investors, 33% selected “progress toward my goals,” compared with 26% of middle-age investors and just 18% of older investors. To put it another way, young investors were almost twice as likely to prioritize progress toward their goals as older investors. The most frequently selected first choice by older investors was “percentage return over a given period.”

The results are consistent when survey respondents were asked how they primarily measure the value they have received from their advisor. Of the 87,173 responses collected from 2016 through 2023, 31% of young investors selected “progress toward my goals,” whereas just 13% of older investors selected that response. In this case, young investors are more than twice as likely to measure the value of their advisor based on progress toward their goals. For older investors, the first-choice measure of the value of advice is sense of security/peace of mind (selected as the first choice by 39% of older investors). Like with tastes in pop culture and clothes, the generations can differ.

Data from the Investor Study also reveal that younger investors tend to have a high tolerance for drawdowns. When asked, “At what level of negative returns would you call your advisor to make a significant change to your investments?” responses indicate that if the market drops by up to 15%, only 14% of young investors will call their advisor, while 21% of older investors will do that. The difference remains similar if the market were to drop 30%.

The emphasis on goals-based investing and a willingness to accept drawdowns creates an opportunity for advisors to better serve their younger clientele through targeting equity premiums while maintaining a broadly diversified portfolio. Research by Dimensional shows that taking advantage of reliable equity premiums can improve retirement outcomes.4 The research compares a hypothetical plain total market portfolio with a hypothetical integrated core portfolio that emphasizes the size, value, and profitability premiums. Efficiently targeting these premiums can reduce the likelihood of running out of money in retirement and can lead to larger bequests.

The results also highlight the value of holistic wealth management. Goals-based models, for example, are another tool available to help investors build solutions focused on financial goals rather than just short-term investment returns.

It turns out music, movies, and fashion aren’t the only things dividing generations. When advisors understand the distinct preferences of younger clients, they can refine their service models and engage planning technology that helps drive discussion around goals and financial well-being. Specifically, recognizing and adjusting to younger investors’ focus on progress toward goals may make it easier for advisors to win over the next generation of clients.

For personalized investment planning services, reach out to Omni360 to navigate your financial future with confidence. Their team of experts is ready to assist you in crafting a strategy that aligns with your financial goals. Let Omni360 help you maximize your investment potential today.

Source: Dimensional Fund Advisors LP is an investment advisor registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission.Investment products: • Not FDIC Insured • Not Bank Guaranteed • May Lose ValueDimensional Fund Advisors does not have any bank affiliates.



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can be of assistance.

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Recent Posts
How Financial Frictions Hinder Innovations

A recent study co-authored by Wharton’s Thomas Winberry reveals that financially constrained firms face a ...

The post How Financial Frictions Hinder Innovations first appeared on Integrated Tax Planning, Legal Planning & Financial Planning.

See more
5 Budgeting Myths That Stop People from Saving

Budgeting is crucial for managing your money well. However, many people avoid it because they ...

The post 5 Budgeting Myths That Stop People from Saving first appeared on Integrated Tax Planning, Legal Planning & Financial Planning.

See more