Wealthtech Firm’s Children & Wealth Program To Educate Clients’ Children; CEO Discusses Role Of Children’s Education In Diversity, Client Prospecting And Client Retention
Wealthtech firm Bento Engine recently announced the launch of a new program to help parents financially educate their children beginning at age 4, with a new set of age-appropriate educational materials provided every two years until the child reaches the age of 18.
The new program, Children & Wealth, accesses the CRMs (customer relationship management systems) of participating advisors through its API (“application program interface” software, which allows computers and programs to connect) to alert advisors when their clients’ children reach ages when materials are ready for them.
The press release points to data demonstrating the need for children’s financial education: According to Greenlight, 74% of teens don’t feel confident in their personal finance knowledge, and according to StudyFinds, citing a Chase survey, 82% of parents are looking for additional financial education resources for their children.
Bento CEO Philipp Hecker said, “As parents, we know how important it is to instill positive financial values in our children during their formative years. We are confident these timely financial literacy materials will help parents achieve that goal and benefit the advisors who share them with their clients via increased trust and loyalty.”
We caught up with Hecker to ask more about the Children & Wealth program, how children’s financial education can help advisors prospect and retain clients and the role it can play in diversity and inclusion initiatives.
WSR: Is Children & Wealth the only program of its kind? Why do you think the wealth management industry hasn’t developed more children’s education materials earlier? What’s been the reaction to your program’s rollout?
Hecker: Yes, the Bento program is unique in its combination of technology and purpose-built content. Bento connects into the CRMs of our wealth management partner firms, constantly scanning the book of business to identify upcoming advice opportunities – including those pertaining to the Next Gen of the client family.
As the clients’ children turn 4, 6 and 8 years of age and older, Bento provides the advisor and parents with age-appropriate activities and time-tested guidance to utilize step-by-step in building financial literacy and money competencies.
Today, there is no shortage of educational materials – many governmental agencies, nonprofits and for-profit companies produce many quality programs. Many parents instinctively know that this topic matters – they want to build financial literacy in their children, but they often don’t know when and how to do that best.
Against that backdrop, we use the Bento API connection into CRMs to systematically provide “bite-size” and “right on time” information every two years as the children develop, as well as family activities – that make the program very digestible.
Early advisor and client feedback has been great. Advisors told us, “I’ve always wanted to do something like this,” and, “This is great, allowing me to connect with the Next Gen of the client family early and constructively.” We’ve had great feedback from parents, too, such as, “Thank you, I actually enjoyed singing the coin song with my 4-year-old child, and we love using the Piggy Bank.”
WSR: How can advisors leverage children’s educational materials for client retention and prospecting?
Hecker: The wealth management industry struggles in retaining the Next Gen of the client family when the first generation passes – several studies point to a 70%+ attrition rate. Many children who grow into inheriting large amounts of wealth oftentimes don’t know or like their parents’ advisor. At the same time, client-centric advisors and firms want to serve the entire family, and they look for ways to connect with and demonstrate their value to the Next Gen.
Against that backdrop, the Bento Children & Wealth program can be used to connect with and serve the Next Gen, starting in early childhood. When advisors constructively help clients build important competencies in their children, everyone wins.
According to Preston D. Cherry, a Bento Advisory Council member: “Instilling familiarity with money principles in young people during the early stages of life, receiving these lessons from people they trust, and utilizing reliable source information and systems, increase the likelihood of life and money success.”
In addition, advisors can lead prospecting pitches with life-centered, tangible and impactful advice for the entire family, that differentiates them from the “my portfolio is better than theirs” crowd.
WSR: At WSR, we often hear that financial education and awareness of the financial industry for the young can help solve problems related to underrepresentation of certain groups. How can children’s financial education programs like Children & Wealth fit into those solutions?
Hecker: Bento is on a mission to bring better advice beyond investing to more American families across the wealth spectrum. Our employees, investors and advisory council are motivated by the opportunity to positively impact millions of lives via sound financial advice.
Susan Doty, co-author of the Bento Children & Wealth program, says, “Equity and inclusion begin with knowledge and opportunity. Bento creates both by establishing a foundational decision-making framework for children to invest in themselves, earn income, spend wisely, save prudently, give discerningly, protect sensibly and invest intelligently.”
Julius Buchanan, Managing Editor at Wealth Solutions Report, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org