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I work in the professional referral business. I spend a lot of time talking to advisors and investors who are seeking financial advice.

Advisors underestimate how intimidating they are. It made sense for Boomers to browse their social circle and choose the most authoritative, established-looking advisor and to trust him implicitly (until fairly recently, it was going to be a guy about 93% of the time).

But Generation X and Millennials have a different approach to hiring a financial professional. They’re frustrated that they can’t find in-depth knowledge, much less reviews, on the advisors in their area. The regulatory environment that advisors are facing necessitates an information black out. That’s unfortunate but can’t be helped. Beyond that obstacle, people in their 30s through their mid-50s are looking for something different in an investment advisor than their parents were.

For these investors, intimidation is not an endorsement; it’s a liability. They have a different view of authority than the generations before them and they’re concerned that an air of respectability and membership in the “establishment” is indicative of a lack of candor and sincerity. They seek connection and they don’t appreciate directives.

When investors contact me, I ask them about their previous experiences with advisors. Aside from the usual complaints about a personality mismatch, the most common reasons I hear for clients leaving a practice are that they didn’t listen to me or hear me, and they used industry jargon and weren’t interested in explaining the vocabulary.