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The Generations Project

The largest intergenerational wealth transfer in history is underway. Are high-net-worth individuals, families, and financial advisors prepared? Our landmark study with research firm CoreData, which captures insight from high-net-worth Millennials to members of the Silent Generation, found striking disconnects and opportunities across a broad range of wealth management areas.

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Financial Advisors Risk Falling Short of Client Expectations

Wealthy investors seek many qualities in their advisors, above all, investment performance, but do advisors get it?

Top Advisor Qualities
  • Millennial Investors Rank Performance

    #1

  • VS
    VS
  • Advisors Think Millennial Investors Rank Performance

    #6

Ranked out of 18

Top Advisor Qualities Each Generation Seeks

Clients are looking for many qualities, especially good performance.

Younger Millennials

(22-30)

  1. Understands my financial goals
  2. Advisor's professional experience
  3. Good investment performance/good communication

Older Millennials

(31-37)

  1. Good investment performance
  2. Understands my financial goals/competitive fees and commission
  3. Advisor’s professional experience

Gen X

(38-53)

  1. Good investment performance
  2. Good communication
  3. Understands my financial goals

Baby Boomers

(54-72)

  1. Understands my financial goals
  2. Good investment performance
  3. Good communication

Silent Generation

(73-90)

  1. Good investment performance/understands my financial goals
  2. Good communication
  3. Advisor’s professional qualifications

Wealthy Investors Compartmentalize Financial Conversations

Investors discuss finances with a network of mentors and confidants that shifts by generation.

Primary Topics Investors Discuss with Their Networks
  • Spouse
  • Inner Family
  • Non-Family
  • Sustainable investment strategies with financial advisor, robo advisor
  • Tax planning with a third party*
  • Investment strategies with financial advisor, friends
  • Inheritance/estate planning financial goals with a third party*
  • Long-term goals with friends, robo advisors
  • Preserving family values with siblings, children
  • Long-term goals with siblings, children
  • Inheritance/estate planning with parents
  • Investment strategies with parents
  • Investment strategies with spouse/partner
  • Inheritance/estate planning with spouse/partner

*Third party- Lawyer, accountant

How Different Generations Discuss Finances

Younger investors may need education on the true value of an advisor.

Younger Millennials

(22-30)

  1. Less likely to discuss investment strategies with an advisor
  2. Most likely (of all respondents) to discuss personal finance with their personal networks
  3. Report more family money conflicts

Older Millennials

(31-37)

  1. Less likely to discuss investment strategies with an advisor
  2. More likely to discuss personal finances with their personal networks
  3. Report more family money conflicts

Gen X

(38-53)

  1. Like to discuss investment strategies, tax planning with spouse
  2. Discuss investment strategies with friends or robo advisor
  3. Prefer to engage a third party about giving

Baby Boomers

(54-72)

  1. Are more likely to discuss long-term financial goals with an advisor
  2. Seek conversations with grandchildren about family cohesion
  3. Prefer to say their family has no money conflicts

Silent Generation

(73-90)

  1. Are likely to have current conversations with an advisor
  2. Have fewer conversations about investments with spouses
  3. Are more comfortable talking about money with their kids

Advisors and Wealthy Investors Disagree About Money Conflicts

Our findings show that advisors must bridge some gaps in their understanding of where families clash over money.

Do Wealthy Families Argue About Money?
  • 94%

    Advisors reporting money conflict in clients’ families

    Flip
    See Details

    Financial Advisors Say Families Quarrel Over:

    1. Inheritance and estate planning
    2. Discretionary spending
    3. Investment strategy
    4. Borrowing
    5. Lending
    Flip
    Back
  • 64%

    Investors reporting money conflict

    Flip
    See Details

    Families Quarrel Over:

    1. Lending
    2. Budgeting
    3. Discretionary spending
    4. Borrowing
    5. Buying property
    Flip
    Back

Where the Generations Find Conflict

For Gen X and older investors, spending money is a flash point for conflicts.

Younger Millennials

(22-30)

  1. Borrowing money
  2. Buying property
  3. Charitable giving

Older Millennials

(31-37)

  1. Budgeting differences
  2. Buying property
  3. Lending money

Gen X

(38-53)

  1. Discretionary spending
  2. Lending money
  3. Selling property

Baby Boomers

(54-72)

  1. Lending money
  2. Discretionary spending
  3. Budgeting differences

Silent Generation

(73-90)

  1. Discretionary spending
  2. Borrowing and lending money
  3. Budgeting differences

Wealthy Families Aren’t Prioritizing Financial Education

Investors aren’t teaching future generations the valuable lessons they themselves have learned.

Investors Are Less Likely to Pass Along Knowledge
  • 84%
    48%
    Savings
  • 64%
    42%
    Budgeting
  • 59%
    48%
    Investing
  • 56%
    41%
    Charitable Giving
  • 56%
    42%
    Spending
  • 42%
    42%
    Borrowing
Investors were taught Investors say their kids will learn

What Wealthy Investors Plan to Teach Kids, by the Generation

Many high-net-worth Millennials will make sure their own kids understand investing.

Younger Millennials

(22-30)

Savings 41%
Budgeting 44%
Investing 56%
Giving 52%
Spending 48%
Borrowing 52%

Older Millennials

(31-37)

Savings 41%
Budgeting 41%
Investing 59%
Giving 48%
Spending 50%
Borrowing 55%

Gen X

(38-53)

Savings 44%
Budgeting 39%
Investing 48%
Giving 40%
Spending 44%
Borrowing 39%

Baby Boomers

(54-72)

Savings 59%
Budgeting 49%
Investing 39%
Giving 36%
Spending 35%
Borrowing 38%

Silent Generation

(73-90)

Savings 51%
Budgeting 30%
Investing 35%
Giving 32%
Spending 30%
Borrowing 16%

Wealthy Americans Prefer U.S. Investments

But in a global economy, “home bias” might cost investors opportunities.

The Top 10 Choices Among Wealthy U.S. Investors
  • Private Equity31%

  • Sustainable Investments29%

  • Emerging Market Bonds36%

  • Hedge Funds26%

  • Private Credit19%

  • U.S. Stocks90%

  • U.S. Bonds62%

  • Real Estate40%

  • Emerging Markets/ International Stocks41%

  • International Bonds28%

Domestic investments International investments Non-traditional investments

Percentage of investors currently invested in these assets; multiple answers allowed

What Else Do the Generations Invest In?

Beyond U.S. stocks and bonds, wealthy investors are currently invested in these areas:

Younger Millennials

(22-30)

  1. International stocks
  2. Private equity
  3. Emerging market stocks and bonds

Older Millennials

(31-37)

  1. Real estate/emerging market bonds
  2. Emerging market stocks
  3. International stocks

Gen X

(38-53)

  1. Real estate/emerging market bonds
  2. International stocks
  3. Emerging market bonds/private equity

Baby Boomers

(54-72)

  1. International stocks/emerging market stocks
  2. Real estate
  3. Emerging market bonds

Silent Generation

(73-90)

  1. International stocks
  2. International bonds/emerging market stocks
  3. Private equity

Percentage of investors currently invested in these assets; multiple answers allowed

Wealthy Investors Seek Sustainability and Good Performance

Performance matters to sustainable investors. Are financial advisors missing the boat?

Long-Term Returns Are a Top Priority
  • 10%

    Advisors who believe clients feel this way

  • 25%

    Investors who say this

Top Sustainable Investment Holdings, by the Generation

The youngest and oldest sustainable investors share a concern over water and housing.

Younger Millennials

(22-30)

  1. Community-based banking and finance
  2. Housing
  3. Water preservation

Older Millennials

(31-37)

  1. Clean technology
  2. Education
  3. Agriculture

Gen X

(38-53)

  1. Affordable pharmaceuticals
  2. Education
  3. Agriculture/clean technology/clean energy

Baby Boomers

(54-72)

  1. Clean technology
  2. Healthcare
  3. Education/housing/affordable pharmaceuticals

Silent Generation

(73-90)

  1. Water preservation
  2. Agriculture
  3. Affordable pharmaceuticals/housing

OppenheimerFunds, Inc. partnered with the research firm CoreData, to survey nearly 2,000 investors and advisors in the U.S. and the U.K. CoreData Research LLC is not affiliated with OppenheimerFunds, Inc.

Investments are subject to market risk and volatility. Foreign investments may be volatile and involve additional expenses and special risks, including currency fluctuations, foreign taxes, regulatory and geopolitical risks. Emerging and developing market investments may be especially volatile. Investing significantly in a particular region, industry, sector or issuer may increase volatility and risk. Diversification does not guarantee profit or protect against loss. Mutual funds and exchange traded funds are subject to market risk and volatility. Shares may gain or lose value.

These views represent the opinions of the Portfolio Manager and Product Manager at OppenheimerFunds, Inc. and are not intended as investment advice or to predict or depict the performance of any investment. These views are subject to change based on subsequent developments.

This material is provided for general and educational purposes only, is not intended to provide legal or tax advice, and is not for use to avoid penalties that may be imposed under U.S. federal tax laws.

OppenheimerFunds is not undertaking to provide impartial investment advice or to provide advice in a fiduciary capacity. Contact your attorney or other advisor regarding your specific legal, investment or tax situation.

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