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Less Than 1/4 of Americans Plan to Use Professional Help for Inheritance

By Alex Padalka May 18, 2018

Financial advisors may have a difficult time getting their hands on the forecasted trillions of dollars in assets getting transferred to younger generations: Fewer than 25% of Americans plan to work with a financial institution or advisor to help them with their inheritance, according to a recent study by financial services technology firm FIS.

Among Generation X members (those aged 38 to 52), close to half say they would first go to friends or family for inheritance advice, according to the survey of 1,788 U.S. consumers across all age and sociodemographic segments conducted by FIS. That’s perhaps unsurprising given that only 20% of Gen Xers are currently working with a financial advisor, compared to 29% of all respondents. And advisors may have better luck with millennials: younger respondents are more likely to be working with a financial advisor already, for example, and respondents under 37 are more likely than older Americans to turn to a financial institution for advice on inheritance, FIS found.

But advisors may also have to help consumers locate the inheritance. Close to $9 trillion in household wealth is expected to change hands in the next 10 years as baby boomers transfer their money to Generation X and millennials, FIS writes. But only 9% of U.S. consumers aged 27 to 52 expect to receive an inheritance during the next decade, according to the survey.

“For financial services firms, this represents both a challenge and opportunity,” Brian DuVal, head of FIS Wealth and Retirement, says in a statement accompanying the study.

“The challenge is to do a better job of educating their customers on wealth and retirement topics. The opportunity is to engage with consumers – now – to help them get ready for the tidal wave of money and assets that are about to flow into their pockets. The earlier you engage, the better your chances of building a long-lasting relationship with younger banking consumers.”