From generation to generation: reflections on 25 years of success for our clients

When we founded the firm back in 1997, our goal was straightforward: to be one of the preeminent retirement income planning practices in the Toronto area. As a result of demographics and the previous decade’s high interest rates, most of our clients were retired or approaching retirement. And much of what we recommended to them were retirement income funds issued by life insurance companies with 10 or 12 percent guaranteed returns.

Our clients were very happy and so were we. But we realized early on that, with many of these folks in their 60s, 70s and 80s, the firm’s future growth depended on building relationships with their younger family members. Luckily for us, many of our clients’ children were in their 30s and 40s and starting to get serious about financial, insurance and retirement planning.

Gen Zers: striving to build deeper investment relationships

Fast forward nearly three decades and a growing number of our clients are now the grandchildren and even great-grandchildren of those first clients who put their trust in us. Many of our newest clients, so-called Millennials and Gen Zers, approached us thanks to word of mouth from their parents and grandparents. Some simply felt something was missing in their experience with robo-advisors and exclusively online investing. And still others saw some of their friends make nasty mistakes over the last decade — in pot stocks, crypto and other frothy investments. They not only wanted to learn, they realized they had to get smart about their investment planning if they were ever to have a hope of owning a home, living a lifestyle similar to the generations that came before them and, down the road, retiring worry free.

They’re not a group of investors a lot of financial advisors pay attention to. Many figure young people these days are primarily focused on saving for a house, which likely means no investable proceeds for years. Our multi-generational and relationship-centric approach leads us to a different conclusion because we understand that, while a Gen Z grandchild may not have $100,000 down payment for a first home, their parents and grandparents certainly may. We believe we have a valuable role to play in offering guidance amongst the generations.

Championing up-and-coming advisors

What’s more, the firm’s original founders aren’t getting any younger (!). So, while we enjoy talking to people in their 20s and 30s and teaching them the basics of investing through one-on-one chats and online tutorials, we’re also keenly aware that younger folks naturally gravitate and seek relationships with people around their own age and lifestyle. That’s why we continue to grow the firm, welcoming some of the most incredible up-and-coming advisors in the industry. And, finally we also realize that while young investors want something more substantial than online investing, technology is non-negotiable to them. They rightfully expect us to deliver on that front too, with the sophisticated dashboards and apps to help them understand and keep track of their investments and plans.

A worry free future for all our clients

So, where does a multi-generational approach like ours go from here? Interestingly, it’s not just with younger investors that we’re seeing the demand for our services and expertise grow. Medical science has made remarkable breakthroughs over the last 25 years and many of our clients who planned to live into their 70s or 80s are now asking us to recalibrate their plans for a life into their 90s and beyond. One thing we know for sure: whichever end of the age spectrum needs our support, our proven Worry Free Retirement Experience will continue to provide many generations, present and future, with the peace of mind they’re looking for.