Orion Advisor Solutions’ inaugural Mind and the Market Investor Sentiment Survey reveals that half of 500 U.S. residents with an annual income of more than $150,000 are pessimistic about the country’s economic outlook, and 52 percent are pessimistic about the global economy over the next six months.
The survey does give financial advisors reason for optimism, however. Despite the dreary overall outlook of those surveyed, 82 percent of Millennial investors (n=125) have a positive frame of mind about their own financial future. The survey results also show that Millennials and investors who work with a financial advisor are generally more optimistic about their own financial future, the U.S. economy, and the U.S. financial markets than other groups.
“In a recurring quirk of human psychology, we see that investors can be pessimistic about the broader market and economy while remaining optimistic about their personal economic and investment prospects,” says Daniel Crosby, Ph.D., Chief Behavioral Officer at Orion. As the Sentiment Survey indicates, this seems especially true for Millennials, who are unbothered by a looming recession and the current political climate and eager to collaborate with advisors to increase their investments.
“The optimism among Millennials toward the economy and the stock market is not surprising given their demographically driven, longer-term time horizon than Gen X and baby boomers,” says Tim Holland, Chief Investment Officer at Orion. Financial advisors who view the recent market pullback as a buying opportunity would likely find a receptive audience for that message among existing and prospective Millennial clients.”
Holland encourages advisors to find “relevant and timely reasons to engage with Millennials, not only because they’re much more interested in working with advisors than their Gen X and Baby Boomer peers,” but because they’re also the generation most committed to saving for the future and are now America’s largest living, adult generation. Advisors should also be aware of the desire that Millennials have for ESG-aligned investments, as well as their greater propensity to consider the impact of insurance on their financial plan.
While Baby Boomers and Generation X are more pessimistic than the younger Millennials, there are still opportunities for advisors to cultivate relationships with new clients in these older generations and strengthen existing ones.
“Being proactive about reaching out in a very unsettled backdrop means you can pick up a lot of business if you really lean into their feelings of uncertainty,” says Holland. “Because of their anxiety and lack of confidence, they’re looking to advisors for help with wealth preservation and asset safety. People want to be listened to, paid attention to, and acknowledged. Meet them where they’re at, and don’t dismiss their concerns.”
Benjamin Lev is a freelancer at RIA Intel and based in New York City.