Financial advisors may want to become more proactive in engaging their clients’ children as the results of a new report from Toronto-based AGF Investments Inc. suggest that approximately one-third (32%) of Canadian millennials do not have an advisor and of those that actually seek financial advice, only one-third go to their parents’ advisors.

“Advisors should really be stressing with [their older clients] the need to involve their kids at an early stage,” recommends Blake Goldring, chairman and CEO at AGF Management Ltd. “It’s not just a practical way to help young people get a [financial] footing earlier in their lives but it is also a way in which advisors can continue that dialogue and be a part of that family’s discussion.”

AGF’s Great Divide survey polled 1,238 Canadians adult with the goal of identifying the differences between investors who work with an advisor and those who don’t as well as the differences between generations and genders.

The survey found that of the quarter of respondents who use a “do-it-yourself” investing approach, one-third feel they would need at least $25,000 in savings to invest in order to retain an advisor, an opinion Goldring calls misinformed.

The research also found that advisors have an important role to play in the financial lives of those who choose to work with a professional. Almost half of Canadian investors attributed a positive investment experience to receiving good professional advice while those without an advisor are three times more likely than those who work with one to have been disappointed with their investments in the past.

Although the survey was looking for differences between investors, it found that one key concern unites adult Canadians of all ages. Almost one-third (31%) of total investors stated that taking care of their debt is their top priority. And Canadians, as a whole, are generally less worried about saving for retirement as only 18% of respondents ranked this as their top priority.

The differences emerged when Canadians were asked to define their short-term financial goals. Most retirees (69%) are focused on funding their preferred post-employment lifestyle, while the dominant priority for 46% of baby boomers is being prepared for major expenses. And slightly more than one-third (34%) of Generation X investors are focusing on saving and paying for their children’s education while 43% of millennials are saving to buy a home.

The survey also finds that although men and women have a similar level of financial knowledge, women are less likely than men to feel confident about investing, says Goldring. Thus, he suggests that this is another area in which advisors can be proactive and help their women clients’ build confidence in handling money.

In fact, the survey finds that women are more likely to seek financial information from a financial advisor as opposed to men, who prefer online research methods.

Nielsen conducted the survey for AGF through an online poll between Aug. 10 and Aug. 23. Respondents were required to have some amount of investible assets and also own mutual funds, stocks, bonds, RRSPs or tax-free savings accounts. The margin of error is ±2.8% with 95% confidence.