Advisors should target Gen Xers as their own demographic, apart from baby boomers and Gen Yers, according to a study by Weber Shandwick released Friday.

Those people born between 1965 and 1980 are starting to think about retirement planning and are concerned about health-care costs, says Weber Shandwick, a public relations firm based in New York City. The study, Leveraging the Gen X Retirement Market: From Overlooked to Opportunity, is based on an online panel discussion conducted by Weber Shandwick.

The study shows that, while Gen Xers are thinking about their long-term financial needs, few companies are addressing the generation’s most troubling financial planning concerns.

“We were surprised by the level of concern that Gen Xers have around their health -- both today and over the long term -- and although they express significant anxiety around how they will cover their future health needs, their retirement planning seems disconnected from this concern,” says Barb Iverson, president of Weber Shandwick’s North American Financial Services practice. “They feel they could and should be doing more for their retirement, and this offers the financial services industry a substantial opportunity to help this generation prioritize and focus their planning on areas that worry them the most.”
Weber Shandwick has several suggestions for advisors to court this demographic. First, consider Gen X its own target segment, distinct from baby boomers and millennials (Gen Y) and acknowledge Gen X as a viable but at-risk financial services target.

Guide Gen Xers to consider health-care costs as part of their retirement planning and make it easy for Gen Xers to sort through investment options. Advisors also can ensure that education programs are accessible to this generation, Weber Shandwick says.

“After being dealt a large blow from the 2008 financial crisis and dealing with the implications of health-care reform, Gen Xers know they must be more proactive in their retirement and long-term health-care planning to become confident about their financial futures,” Iverson says.

“But the financial services industry can’t merely reboot its messages aimed at baby boomers to engage this generation,” she explains. “It’s essential that companies recognize the unique experiences and life stage that Gen Xers are currently facing, as well as their distinct concerns around their health-care costs in retirement, and encourage them to think of health and wealth as two sides of the same coin.”