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Financial
Jul 15, 2019

The Generational Divide

Sponsored Content provided by Alyce Phillips - Marketing Director, Old North State Trust LLC

A few years ago, we wrote an article about the Generational Divide, and we wanted to share again now that Generation Alpha has been forecasted to be the most educated and wealthiest generation we will probably see since the turn of the 20th century. For the last 100 years or more, demographers and strategists have defined the different generations based on a variety of factors. Some of these include population, economics, education, upbringing, customs, behavior, etc. Each generation creates their own values adopted from previous generations, and have in these cases a breaking point where they diverge from the norm and try to establish their own goals for the future.

Of course, not everyone will be defined exactly by the “Label” of their generation Each person creates their own values/ paths which could mesh from influences from each generational group. Below is a chart which shows the approximate ages (different research shows different variations) of each generation and broad characteristics of each group.
 

Generation Years & Ages Characteristics
GI Generation Born 1901-1924 Economic Boom of the 1920's
Silent Generation Born 1925-1946 Reputation based on Social Status- Ambitious goals/ aspirations based on economic depravity during their formative years
Baby Boom Generation Born 1946-1964 Hope for a brighter future- more of an economically comfortable life for most baby boomers
Generation X Born 1965-1979 Overlooked- sandwiched between the Baby Boomers and the Millennial Generations
Millennial Generation (also known as Generation Y) Born 1980-1999 Connected and diverse
Generation Z Born 2000-          Technology boom
Generation Alpha Born 2010- Projected to be Technologically and globally connected because of technology, possibly the most educated generation as well as the wealthiest
 
Being in the Trust business, we see clients represented from each generational group. They may vary from those still living from the GI Generation or a Trust Document that was created during this time, all the way up to the latest named generation, Generation Alpha. Needless to say, staying current with the changes and differences of each generation and their expectations is a very daunting task, but a challenge we welcome.

One of the challenges we face as a Trust company is finding the right balance when dealing with the age difference and expectations between family members and executing the terms of the Trust agreement. As the fiduciary, the explicit duty of a trustee is to faithfully execute the wishes of the grantor as specified in the legal document, even if the wishes seem foreign to the family member beneficiary. Being able to explain the grantor’s intent across multiple generations requires unique communication skills and sometimes a lot of patience. As a possible example of a generational viewpoint divide, does a trust provision authorizing the availability of funds for a grandchild’s education mean college tuition or money for a 12 month trip around the world? Another example is a trust document written in the 1960’s stating that the trust would be distributed equally to the “lawful” children, those conceived through marriage. In today’s society, the word “lawful” could be interpreted differently with the description of a traditional family changing and children born out of wedlock being recognized.

The needs and desires of each generation are vastly different. The communication preferences are equally different. The first few generation types prefer direct communication with their advisors, for example, face to face meetings and physical financial statements. Older individuals from the earlier generations prefer some sort of human contact when dealing with their personal and financial information. They want to trust and know their advisor who will be handling the details of their most valuable possessions. Unlike the younger generation, who for the most part, prefer less direct methods. The younger generations don’t feel the need to have direct contact with an advisor. They are perfectly happy with emailing and texting to convey their desires and wishes. Understanding your client’s needs and being able to meet the diversity of those needs is more critical now than ever. Having the flexibility to cater to all types of clients is essential in our current society. At Old North State Trust, we have that type of flexibility. We can provide paper statements, online access, face to face meetings, online meetings or whatever our clients may want or need in this ever changing world we face daily.

As Marketing Director, Alyce works to develop, budget, and implement marketing plans, which include advertising, coordination of conferences, special events, and development and maintenance of marketing materials. She also oversees the company’s website, in-house articles, and fostering community initiatives within the organization. Alyce received a BS degree in Interior Design from East Carolina University with a concentration in Business Administration and obtained her teaching certification from UNCW. Old North State Trust professionals have many years of experience and for over a decade have assisted clients in identifying and reaching their financial goals. For more information, visit www.oldnorthstatetrust.com or call 910-399-5470.  

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