To say our world is increasingly digital would be an understatement. Today, roughly nine in ten American adults regularly use the internet, according to Pew Research Center data. Among adults that are from 18 to 49 years old, internet usage is almost universal, with over 97 percent regularly going online to do everything from sending email, using social media and reading the news to making travel arrangements, buying products and banking.
When Alan Moore and Michael Kitces founded XY Planning Network in 2014, they assumed that the millions of young people who make up Generations X and Y would also like to connect with financial advisors digitally. It was a smart assumption to make, and the pair’s company is now flourishing.
Bringing Financial Planning to a Younger Generation
“We saw a need in the marketplace,” Moore recently told RewardExpert. “Young people—Gen X and Gen Y—wanted access to real financial planning, but most fee-only fiduciary advisors were working with folks who were already wealthy, not those who were still earning their wealth. It was a business model problem, and we started XY Planning Network as a way to bring financial planning to a generation that was hungry for financial advice but didn’t have access to it.”
Fast-forward four years and the company’s network has grown to 630 advisory firms focused on working with Generation X and Y clients and their challenges.
“Typically, clients come to us in transition,” Moore continued. “They are graduating college or graduating a residency. They may be starting a business or getting married. Something is happening in their life that has pushed them to talk to someone about money.”
Moore added that because of the company’s peer-to-peer service model, the advisors within its network tend to be younger (the median age is 37 years) than the average age in the industry (which is 57 years). “Financial advising is an older profession,” he said. “Our group tends to be younger than the average, but they still have the experience to really be able to do a great job.”
Specialized Fee-Only Certified Financial Planners
Each advisor within XY Planning Network has a niche market—such as freelancers, physicians, female tech executives or government employees—in which they specialize.
“Folks can really find an advisor who is an expert in their situation,” Moore explained. “For example, if you go to your parents’ advisors, they probably don’t have experience working with clients who have things like student loans because retirees don’t have student loans. Because our advisors are specialist in these situations, you can find one who will give you good, competent advice.”
Every advisor working with XY Planning Network is also a Certified Financial Planner (CFP), fee-only (no commissions or referral fees) and has signed a fiduciary oath.
“As an industry, only 15 percent or so of advisors are able and willing to sign a fiduciary oath,” Moore said. “Our advisors have to sign an oath in order to join XY Planning Network. This means they have certified that they will always act in their clients’ best interests.”
There are no investment minimums, and the network’s advisors also meet with clients in whatever way is most convenient, whether over mobile phone and internet or at an office.
“Advisors who work with younger clients need to meet them where they are,” Moore said. “When working with retirees, it’s easy for them to come to an office. But even if a younger client lives in the same town as you do, they may not want to deal with traffic, parking, getting a babysitter and whatnot. With all of our advisors able to work virtually, it really opens up the network so that you can find the best advisor for you and not be stuck with whoever happens to be closest.”
To learn more about XY Planning Network and explore their roster of fee-only fiduciary CFPs, visit xyplanningnetwork.com.