Financial planning has a number of well-reported demographic problems: Market willing, many advisors from the first generation of the profession are getting ready to retire in the next 10 years—37% of them, according to a Cerulli Associates report released in November. Meanwhile, younger advisors coming out of financial programs are looking for not just jobs but career paths and new ways of doing business.

Those differing attitudes between the generations have naturally begun to clash, and to outsiders it almost sounds like generational warfare, perhaps the same divide that spawned nasty phrases such as “OK, Boomer.”

Patrick Rush, the CEO of Triad Financial Advisors in Greensboro, N.C., says the younger generation doesn’t have the grind mentality of their forebears and are often looking for a work/life balance foreign to older clients.

“Existing clients don’t want their financial livelihoods resting on a 20- or 30-something who is more focused on work/life balance and in many cases, hasn’t dealt with many real-life experiences themselves, i.e. marriage, children, divorce, aging parents, etc.,” he says.

Because the older generations of planners often came from different backgrounds—accounting, brokerage, insurance, banking, etc.—they may likely have had some badly needed business development skills in their past. In other words, they knew they would have to sell, either a security, a policy or themselves. And the new crop doesn’t want to do that, Rush complains.

A day of reckoning could be coming for NextGen advisors—and the older adivsors who want to retire. “They have learned the industry in a bull market environment where firms have become much more profitable and AUMs have increased simply through market appreciation,” he says. “Therefore, they don’t yet understand that business development is necessary for the company to continue to thrive.”

Younger advisors, meanwhile, bemoan the lack of career path, especially at smaller firms. They might come on board and do an apprenticeship only to find that they are beholden to one main advisor … who doesn’t like changing his or her way of doing business or relinquishing control. This advisor then wants the younger advisor to ramp up an equity stake, perhaps as the firm grows in AUM and becomes too expensive to buy out.

Ashlee deSteiger, the founder of Gunder Wealth Management, bristles at the stereotypes about millennial advisors like herself, especially that they somehow act entitled or lazy.

“I don’t believe advisors in their 30s and 40s are able to relate to their predecessors,” she says. “There’s something to be said for being grateful for an opportunity and learning from the best, but those values don’t hold the same weight in this industry, generally speaking.”

These older advisors aren’t comfortable with changing software, they’re wedded to inefficient practices of old and move at a turtle pace when it’s time to restrategize, she says. Then at the end of the day, they have their eye on the door.

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