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What are some of the key drivers of change that we need to be aware of? Let's look at the big ones:

■ Demographic Shifts – The nation's baby boomer population – those 65 and older – will grow to a whopping 83.7 million by 2050, nearly double the number in 2012, according to the U.S. Census.[1]

Women's Wealth – As women outlive men, they will control 70 percent of the $41 trillion in intergenerational wealth that is expected to transfer over the next 40 years, says Boston College's Center on Wealth Philanthropy. In 2013, women represented nearly 40 percent of the high-net-worth segment. These are significant trends, yet many financial advisory companies have not really planned for it in a meaningful way. Heads up, advisors: Recently widowed women frequently change wealth managers after their husbands die.

■ Mobile Devices – Forrester's highlights these trends: In America, 50 percent of online adults who use a mobile phone use their devices to check sports, weather, or news at least weekly, 45 percent access social networks on their phones at least weekly, and 22 percent research physical products for purchase.[2]

■ Use of Social Media – Pew Internet recently reported that 73 percent of online adults now use social networking sites; 42 percent use multiple sites. And seniors continue to deepen their online engagement, with 59 percent now using the Internet, a 6 percent increase in a year,[3] although many still lag younger consumers in their adoption of technology. Facebook remains the dominant social media network with 1.3 billion users, although some surveys show slipping usage among younger people.

Niche Investing: Impact Investing – As technology has enabled specialization, buzz has been growing about impact investing opportunities for mainstream investors, investing that provides both a financial return and measurable social or environmental impacts. According to U.S. Trust's 2013 Insights on Wealth and Worth, about half of affluent women are interested in environmentally or socially responsible investments, compared to only about one-third of men.[4] See Figure 5.1.

  • [1] U.S. Census Bureau, cb14-84.html, June 3, 2014.
  • [2] Pew Social Media Update 2013, update-2013/, June 3, 2014.
  • [3] Pew Research, “Adults and Technology Use,” older-adults-and-technology-use/, June 5, 2014.
  • [4] “U.S. Trust 2013 Insights on Wealth δC Worth,” application/pdf/GWMOL/UST-Fact-Sheet-Insights-on-Wealth-and-Worth-2013.pdf, June 5, 2014.
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