Incubating those investors who will be wealthy some day is an important role for firms of all sizes, according to a panel of experts speaking at the Invest In Women conference held by Financial Advisor magazine in Atlanta last week.

Known as "HENRYs" (high earners, not rich yet), these individuals represent the future of the financial planning industry, and firms have developed different techniques to become attractive and important to them, they said.

“We wanted to be the first in line to court the 30-year-olds and not wait until they are 50,” Stacey McKinnon, chief operating officer, chief marketing officer and wealth advisor at Morton Wealth based in Calabasas, Calif., said during the discussion, which was entitled, “Understanding and Working with NextGen Clients.”

“We are a 40-year-old firm, so many of our clients are in their 70s,” McKinnon said. “We wanted to target the 35- to 50-year-olds with $300,000, who are reimaging what wealth looks like today. They do not want to just let their money grow,” they want experiences. “We had to change our business model,” and include more of what a client wants to do now and not just how they want to save for retirement 30 years from now.”

Clients and potential clients did not want to come to the office to meet; they wanted quick financial plans and text messages combined with a personal touch that encompassed complex planning, McKinnon said. “We developed a business model where people could invest their portfolio with us in the traditional way, but also serve people who are not but ready to invest yet.” The firm charges a $1,500 quarterly fee.

“Younger people are using financial advisors more and more [but, according to surveys] 25% of people say they do not even know anyone who has a financial advisor, so there is a lot of opportunity out there,” she said.

The industry is changing, they said.

“I’m not sure our ideal client will look the same  in 10 years as she or he does now. Now, we want clients who are saving and earning. But managing a portfolio might not even be” what a client wants. The firm is open to offering a variety of services, even though some firms “might not want to dilute their services by having a nextgen offering. From a business standpoint, some firms might not be willing to ‘take the hit’ now when a client is not profitable.”

This approach contrasts to the one developed by Collective Wealth Partners, an Atlanta-based firm that targets underserved populations in the Black, Hispanic and Asian communities.

“My friends make a lot of money, but they have no financial coaching, no CPAs to tell them about financial planning,” said Kamila Elliott, co-founder and CEO of the firm. “Many of our clients are the most successful people in their families, both financially and educationally, so they are the ones other family members turn to for help. The potential clients have new wealth but they also are burdened” by family needs.

Among the firm’s ideal clients are small business owners and potential business executives, whom it serves by charging a financial planning fee or an hourly service fee. Roughly one-third of the firm’s clients are in tech, one-third are business owners, and one-third are corporations.

These are attractive clients because “we see their potential,” Elliott said. “We want to help them redefine what financial advice is.”

Firms also have to be attractive to the next generation of advisors, she said.

Collective Wealth Partners gives advisors the freedom to work from home while traveling to meet clients, which is something younger advisors want, Elliott said. “We also give the advisors the authority to refuse to take on a client if it is not a good fit,” she said.

Elliott is on the committee created by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards to review all educational standards required for CFP certification.

Both of those firms’ approaches are different from a successful model developed by the mega-firm, Aspiriant, a national RIA based in New York City.

“New theories are emerging for wealth service offerings and what those offerings should look like,” said Cammie Doder, chief marketing officer and partner at Aspiriant. “Large organizations are like oil tankers, it takes a while to change directions, but we wanted to bring family office-style offerings to more people…and younger people. As an advisor, you are no longer selling, you are having a conversation.”

Aspiriant charges a wealth planning fee and an investment management fee.