This past week I was in Boston, Massachusetts where I sat in on a seminar given by an MIT professor by the name of Dr. Joseph Coughlin. By any standard Dr. Coughlin was a truly engaging speaker whose modulating vocal variations coaxed genuine auditory conviction from even the weariest of seminar attendee. Over the course of an hour the good doctor imparted on us the MIT Age Lab’s research regarding various factors within client behavior, attention economics, and culminated the assemblage with his forecast for future of financial planning as an industry. Insightful research abound, I found that one aspect of his discourse seemed to resonate with me in more depth than the others. Portions of the research Dr. Coughlin presented were comparing and contrasting the three most impactful generations in our current society, in regards to their differing ideologies and approaches to work, lifestyle, and wealth. It is far cry from a revelation to assert that the baby boomer generation has differing values and beliefs from those of their technologically “plugged in” Generation Y decedents. However, having integrated into a successful Financial Planning firm whose foundation was built upon years of assisting this older generation achieve financial independence, I had developed a self-imposed narrowed view of the clientele who could derive the most long term benefit from the services I provide. The newer X and Y generations had deviated so greatly both ideologically and professionally from the conventional mold which most investment professionals consider “ideal” that they had, in large part, fallen off my radar for the time being. Never could I have anticipated the impact my attendance of this previously unassuming education seminar would have on my professional path, which in hindsight seems so organic. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” Our company has a clearly defined path, with Dr. Coughlin’s unexpected help; I had found my trail to blaze. Financial Planning isn’t just for Baby Boomers anymore!
-Matthew Hutton, CFP®, MBA-FP