Sophia Bera wants to make something crystal clear: She is not your father’s financial planner.

That’s Bera’s marketing tagline, and evidence of it is all over the 35-year-old’s website. There’s the personal brand on display at her company, Generation Y Planning. There’s the focus on values and meaning: “Money doesn’t have to be scary or serious all the time. Money can be about joy, security and confidence.” And there’s the way this certified financial planner operates: virtually, and on a monthly subscription basis. Bera is currently working remotely from Mexico City for a month, after spending a month each in Santiago, Chile; Lima, Peru; and Medellin, Colombia.

If Bera and other young planners push the “not your father’s planner line” heavily, it’s because it resonates with an audience that’s skeptical of traditional financial advisers and, in any case, wouldn’t get much personalized attention from most of them.

More than that, it signals that these young planners understand the competing priorities for millennial cash flow, and aren’t going to dish out condescending lectures on the importance of saving for retirement from Day 1, or tell them not to spend money on travel. 

“If you’re 65 and your closest interaction with millennials is your kids, you might not have the perspective you need to address the realities of what it’s like to have two working spouses who commute, who bear student loan debt and are trying to start a family and save for a home,” said Douglas Boneparth, the 34-year-old founder of New York City-based Bone Fide Wealth. 

The financial planning industry needs more practitioners who can connect with younger, less wealthy customers, said Bera, who has built up a book of 95 clients. For example, many of her customers are dealing with fertility issues.

“Do you think someone’s going to tell some 65-year-old [financial adviser], ‘Hey, we’re having trouble getting pregnant, can we take $20,000 out of savings?” she said. “They won’t.” Bera said that when her clients get pregnant, their first call is often to their mother, to freak out about childcare costs. Their second call is to her.

Teacher-turned-certified financial planner Ryan Frailich, of New Orleans-based Deliberate Finances, can attest to the balancing act he and his peers face. Frailich and his wife recently spent part of a weekend “discussing the balancing of her grad school cost and a second child in the next one or two years, and my retirement contributions and a home renovation to make space if and when we have that second child,” he said. (They have a 2-year-old, and have decided not to prioritize saving for college costs yet.) 

Frailich, 33, is part of the XY Planning Network, a hub for fee-only planners focused on providing financial guidance for Generation X and Generation Y clients. The site says its planners are there “to help you live your great life.” Most advisers offer services for a monthly fee that varies widely—from $75 to $400. (Bera recently raised her monthly fee to $299, and clients pay $2,500 up front.) Customers can often pay by the hour, quarter or year. They can also choose to pay on a percentage of assets under management.

It’s telling, however, that many of the thumbnail adviser biographies on the XY site don’t even mention retirement. That’s not to say the financial planners won’t work with clients to help them find a livable balance between spending and saving, both for the short- and long-term. But saying to a millennial that they need to make their golden years a priority will only show you can’t relate, said Boneparth, who isn’t a member of the network.

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