The Rewards of Serving the Middle-Income Client

Lee, Shelley A.
September 2002
Journal of Financial Planning;Sep2002, Vol. 15 Issue 9, p50
Academic Journal
This article discusses the opportunities that can be gained by financial planners by catering to middle-income clients. When most financial planners describe their target market, they don't get nearly as specific as Ralph Schroeder, president of Schroeder and Associates, a financial advisory branch of American Express Financial Advisors. Their profile client needs to have an income around $75,000, has a positive net worth, and is age 42. This mid-life, middle-income client that Schroeder's firm seeks has one other very important attribute. They're nice. In the marketing race for desirable clients, many planners have set their sights extremely high--targeting the high net worth, affluent, or semi-affluent prospect, raising their minimums, culling their client files of those below the upper-income threshold. In the 1999 survey of planning practitioners conducted by the CFP Board, 20 percent of practitioners said their average client has an annual income of $50,000 or less; the majority actually said that their typical individual client has an annual income "in the middle:" $51,000 to $100,000. According to Bonnie Hughes, a financial planner, there is so much about the middle-income market that is enormously gratifying. They're not impressed with themselves, they've had plenty of bumps in their lives, they want to have financial conversations with people that don't involve one-upmanship, and they really want to improve themselves.


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