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How Financial Advisors Can Better Serve Millennials

Winnie Sun

Financial Advisor, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Sun Group Wealth Partners

Financial advisor Winnie Sun says that many millennials are avoiding financial advice, and the finance industry is partly to blame.

Winnie Sun, the co-founder and managing director of Sun Group Wealth Partners, received a financial education early in life. “When I was still in my late teens and early twenties, I was fortunate enough to be encouraged to meet with a financial advisor as well as an accountant,” she said. “The greatest thing about that isn’t so much the financial advice that I received, it was being exposed to the importance of saving for your retirement. There were things besides a checking account, a savings account, and those basic ways to invest. There was a way for my money to be made into something bigger.”

Start ‘em early

Sun, who now makes regular media appearances to discuss fiscal planning, says many young people miss out on that early financial education, which impairs their ability to manage finances later in life. When Sun was encouraged to start investing and watching the stock market, it wasn’t the best advice, but learning early encouraged her to seek better advice earlier than most. “It’s better to have that experience with smaller amounts of money,” she said, “so by the time you do have a better income, and you’re starting to save with your company’s 401(k), you have experience for years before having to make more important decisions.”

Financial industry at fault

Millennials who are entering a very precarious economy and job market often do not seek out professional financial advice, and Sun believes that the financial advisors are in part to blame. “The finance industry as a whole is still very antiquated and the advisor base doesn’t reflect what a lot of millennials need,” she said. “I think one of the biggest problems millennials have when is that many financial advisors are much older and don’t really speak their language.”

It is also typical, according to Sun, for financial advisors to give their attention to clients with more wealth, ignoring millennials who are just beginning to amass funds. “I just talked to a client recently, a younger millennial, and he said, ‘I talked to six financial advisors last year, and once they found out I didn’t have that much money, they treated me like I didn’t matter. I felt so small,’” Sun said. “It might take six or seven tries, but you’ll eventually find a financial advisor that will want to invest in you for the right reasons, and that will be someone who will change your financial life for the better.”

Sun Group Wealth Partners makes a point to hire young advisors who are able to communicate with millennial clients about their specific financial needs. “It’s still their money,” said Sun of her millennial clients, “so we should treat them like they’re one of our most important clients, too.”

Building a foundation

Sun says she learned fiscal responsibility from her family. “My parents have always been good in terms of saving,” she said. “Being immigrants from Taiwan in the United States, they felt that for every dollar brought in, at least 50 percent, if not more, should be saved away for their future and our future, in terms of education.”

That foundation of financial responsibility growing up is what draws many of Sun’s clients to seek her advice. “A lot of my clients are business owners or high-level executives, and many of them, like myself, didn’t come from money. A lot of them are self-made, so they feel a responsibility to the money that they’ve earned,” she said. “At the end of the day, the similarities between my clients and myself is that we do believe that we work very hard for what we’ve achieved, and we feel like we want to have a legacy. We want a better future for the people that we love.”

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