NAIFA has been on the forefront of seeking diversity in the advisor community. Today, there are more women, minorities and young people entering the insurance and financial planning profession than ever before. That same diversity extends to the marketplace—providing consumers with an opportunity to work with an agent or advisor who specializes in minority and immigrant communities, the needs of young families or women.
The “middle market” describes households whose annual income falls between $35,000 and $100,000. Compared to more affluent consumers, middle-income Americans may not have enough insurance to protect their families or the savings to comfortably retire. Rising health-care costs, education and housing expenses, and the lack of employer-sponsored retirement benefits also challenge this group. NAIFA members work with clients in this market to help them build net worth, protect their families, purchase homes and save for retirement.
The multi-cultural market includes the Hispanic, African-American, Indian, Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese communities. Often advisors and agents who serve these demographic groups share the same ethnic or cultural background, are native speakers and understand the special needs of their clients. Educating members of these communities on the need for financial protection is a big part of their business. They take pride in helping their clients better understand their options and empowering them to achieve their goals.
Women have an acute need for financial planning. As a group, they live longer than men but earn less. They have less money saved for retirement, often because their careers have been interrupted to raise children, or take care of aging parents or grandchildren. They also tend to be less confident about their finances and more worried about their families than men. Seeking out a female planner or agent for advice may work best for them.
The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community (LGBT) About 3 percent of Americans identify themselves as lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB), while 0.3 percent are transgender. The LGBT community represents about $830 billion of buying power. Retirement is the top financial concern for this group. However, the majority of participants in a study were upbeat about their finances; 22 percent said they were doing well while 47 percent said they were paying their bills and staying independent. The annual median LGBT household income is $61,500 vs $50,000 for the average American household. Advisors who do well in this community know that giving back and supporting the community are the best ways to build loyalty. Their winning strategy is not to sell to the community but to engage the community.
Young families are a changing and dynamic market. The traditional nuclear family of two parents with children makes up just 20 percent of the population today. The fastest-growing family units include unmarried couples, single parents, same-sex partners and adopted children. This makes the need for saving and income-replacement products all the more urgent. The fact that Americans are living longer also presents estate planning and retirement challenges. Advisors are trained to identify and meet these needs.