Fee only financial planners generational trends

A fee-only financial planner’s take on generational trends

Good Life Asset Strategies have a duty to serve each client’s best interests as fee-only financial planners. Every client comes to us with a unique set of goals and an individualized timeline in which to meet those goals.

We also like to keep up with high-level trends among our client base. It’s interesting to note that many financial planning and investment trends are generational in nature.

Here are a few trends we tend to see, based strictly on client age and life experiences.

Baby Boomers

Retirees and those preparing for retirement are facing the shortest timeline in which to meet their financial goals. The Baby Boomer generation, overall, remains confident that they’ll experience their best years of life after retirement. For our high-net-worth clients, that’s generally true.

Their peers are not always so fortunate.

  • Just over half of all Baby Boomers have less than $100,000 saved for retirement and are looking to Social Security benefits to fill the income gap. Many investors in this age group have portfolios that were deeply impacted by the Great Recession, and nearly half have no retirement savings at all.
  • Just over half of this generation’s members are still making monthly mortgage payments at retirement age.
  • Debt is a big issue for Boomers. Average mortgage debt is just under $200,000; other debts include loans for education, cars, and unsecured credit card debt, totaling an average of nearly $26,000.
  • Because of this debt and a lack of savings, nearly 70 percent of Baby Boomers will continue working well past the typical retirement age of 65.
  • The pandemic caused Baby Boomer debt to surge, and also halted financial planning for more than 30 percent.

These points are worth considering for fee-only financial planners, members of this generation, and those who may need to care for them as they age.

Generation X

Since many Gen X members are now or soon will be caring for their Baby Boomer parents, the amount of debt this generation has amassed is concerning. The average individual debt from mortgages, credit cards, student loans, and personal loans already exceeds $125,000. The prospect of planning for college and caring for aging parents creates a huge mental and financial burden for Gen Xers, who are generally pessimistic about ever being financially secure or being able to enjoy retirement.

  • 20 percent of Gen X members say they don’t plan to retire, ever. 90 percent of those who do plan to retire say they’ll work longer, or even continue to work through retirement, both for the financial and social benefits.
  • 80 percent of Gen Xers have some retirement savings in a 401(k).
  • 75 percent of Gen Xers make more money than their parents did, due to the prevalence of 2-income households. Because of their debt load and a tendency to spend between 18 and 42 percent more than other generations annually, they have the lowest average wealth of all generations.

As experienced fee-only financial planners, the advisors at Good Life are well versed on the stresses faced by our Gen X clients. They remain concerned about setting goals for the future that include supporting parents and children while also planning for retirement.


The largest generation in the U.S. population, Millennials (also known as Gen Y) tend to start off with lower household income and record average student loan debt.

  • Due to the rising cost of living and a trend of delayed income-earning coupled with high debt loads, Millennial wealth makes up only about 6 percent of total net worth in the U.S., despite their members totaling more than 72 percent of the population.
  • Millennials save an average of 9.8 percent of their income. While their net worth as a generation has grown more than 230 percent in the past four years, they’re still facing a stagnant job market, record inflation, and higher housing costs.
  • Average student loan debt for each Millennial is just shy of $40,000, adding up to more than $500 billion nationally.
  • Most Millennials are not big spenders and carry lower credit card debt than their parents.
  • They don’t have a retirement savings account, and they say their debt has put a hold on future financial planning and goal-setting.

As Millennials reach their mid-life earning stride, we’re seeing more urgency as they begin seeing their retirement on the horizon. What fee-only financial planners provide is customized advice and strategies for asset and wealth management for the individual, and it’s never too late – or too early – to start saving for retirement.

Generation Z

Gen Z kids will comprise 30 percent of the workforce in the United States in just 7 years. Overall, the news for Gen Z is more promising than previous generations because of their financial skepticism. They’ve grown up experiencing some rough financial times, and it seems they’ve learned something from it.

  • Nearly 70 percent of Gen Z members have a monthly budget strategy and stick to it.
  • Just 30 percent of them have credit card debt.
  • They save about 30 percent of their income, on average.
  • Nearly 3/4 of Gen Z members say the economy, inflation, and increasing home prices make future financial planning stressful or impossible.
  • To address this income-to-expense gap, as many as 75 percent of them are engaging in the gig economy and looking for more ways to earn more money.
  • 25 percent of Gen Zers are planning to start saving for retirement this year.

Members of this Digital Generation are more apt to depend on their own financial savvy and motivation to increase their net worth, rather than reaching out to fee-only financial planners and investment advisors. Because of their confidence, Gen Z members remain optimistic about the future.

Fee-Only Financial Planners for Every Generation

While we’re keeping a cautious eye on the markets at all times, Good Life advisors have more strategies for asset and wealth management and growth than just stock market investing. We can work with each client’s goals, timeline, and risk tolerance levels to devise a personalized plan that helps ease their financial worries for the future. Set up a free consultation today to learn more.