Engaging your clients’ families — particularly their children — in the financial planning process can help ensure client loyalty and asset retention. That is the view of Stanley Tepner, an advisor and first vice president with CIBC Wood Gundy in Toronto, who occasionally runs workshops on such topics as money management, debt management and financial planning geared specifically to young people.

“We want to be the first place that our clients call,” Tepner says, “when they have a question about finances.”

Tepner says his “all in the family” approach is redefining the concept of a full-service advisor. His objective is to teach young people — usually the teenaged children of clients — about financial concepts to help them become more responsible when it becomes their turn to look after money.

Even thought the children might not have significant investable assets of their own, Tepner says, working with the children of clients to improve their financial literacy is an effective way to link up with the next generation of clients.

Tepner suggests the following tips for working with clients’ children:

> Be flexible
Arrange a 90-minute weekend meeting with a group of clients’ children. (Ditch the suit and tie and go casual.)

Be prepared to talk about whatever your young audience wants to talk about. The discussion will vary significantly depending on the age of the group. The interests of a group of 14-year-olds will be different from those of 19-year- olds.

Tepner says his approach is simple and straightforward: “I ask them, basically, ‘What do you want to know?'”

From there, he polls the audience and builds a schedule of topics to cover over the course of the meeting.

> Keep it simple
Explaining complex scenarios to younger people can be a challenge because it forces you to boil down advanced information into terminology and concepts your audience can understand.

Keep props and graphics to a minimum. “I rarely have more than a flip chart,” Tepner says. “It’s not about having handouts. It’s about the two-way communication between you and the other person.”

Focus on framing current financial issues in ways that will be interesting to your youthful audience. Let them steer you where they want to go.

> Keep other materials family-focused
Consider designing an educational newsletter for your clients with a particular section that is aimed at younger people. It’s a way to add another valuable component of your services.

Says Tepner: “Planning is multi-generational.”