#MCM: NextGen Advisor Chuck Donalies on A New Approach to Financial Planning

This week Bridge wants to highlight Chuck Donalies, a NextGen advisor who founded Donalies Financial Planning, LLC in 2012 in order to provide financial planning solutions to busy professionals and families with young children. Chuck is revolutionizing the ways financial professionals approach financial planning for Gen X/Y, and we're excited we had the opportunity to speak with him about his perspective on working with Gen X/Y. Read the exclusive interview below:

As a NexGen advisor, how do you approach financial planning differently?

In general, the majority of traditional (i.e., older) advisors tend to focus on asset management rather than financial planning. That’s a great way to serve clients who have assets that need to be managed. It's not so great for consumers, often members of Gen X/Y, who need advice but don’t have assets. I prefer to use a business model with multiple service levels, which enables me to work with pretty much anyone that needs financial planning advice.

Why do you enjoy working with Gen X and Y?

I believe the U.S. has done a lousy job of educating Gen X/Y about basic principles of personal finance. I take great pleasure in educating my clients so they can achieve their financial goals.

What are the top three tips you would give an advisor interested in connecting
 and working with Gen X and Y? 

1. Talk to as many advisors as you can. There are an increasing number of advisors working with Gen X/Y and, in my experience, we’re all happy to give advice to anyone interested in working with Gen X/Y.

2. Consider joining a group such as NAPFA or The XY Planning Network. Both groups are extremely supportive and offer great tools an advisor will need to connect with Gen X/Y.

3. Be as transparent as you can with your fees. Members of Gen X/Y are willing to pay for financial planning services but they do not want you to sell them a product.

What do you think is the best way an advisor can stand out from the crowd
 and differentiate themselves?

Specialize or find a niche to work with. It’s usually not a good idea to try being everything to everyone. Take a close look at your natural market, your network, and where you live. Notice any trends in professions? If so, maybe that’s a good place to begin building your niche practice.

What role does technology play in your firm’s day-to-day operations?

Technology is extremely important in my day-to-day operations. I’m a sole proprietor so I lean heavily on tech in order to deliver quality service to my clients. You probably won’t be able to efficiently serve Gen X/Y if you don’t have good tech tools and processes in place.

Any other thoughts/comments?

I find working with Gen X/Y to be highly rewarding. Consumers in these groups have been underserved for a long time. Don’t let traditional advisors tell you it’s impossible to work with Gen X/Y. You can do it without having to sell commission-based financial products.