The opportunity for advisors to meet and establish relationships with the children of millionaire clients is tremendous.

Only 3 percent of millionaire clients’ children meet regularly with their parents’ financial advisor, according to a recent survey by Versta Research for Wells Fargo’s private bank. Most never have; Only 22 percent of the 1,003 children surveyed had ever met their parents’ advisor.

But, contrary to what one might guess, it’s not because they aren’t interested. Most kids (88 percent) said they think regular meetings would be valuable.

Their inheritance isn’t what children are most interested in discussing, either. The majority (84 percent) want to “sustain and build on their family’s legacy” and care more about philanthropy and “making the world a better place.” As a result, four in 10 children want to have more say in their family’s philanthropy and advisors can help facilitate that by shifting family  communication about it from “implicit to explicit,” Katherine Dean, head of family dynamics at Wells Fargo Private Bank said during a presentation of the study findings on Wednesday.

It also helps advisors establish a relationship with the generation likely to inherit at least some part of their parents wealth.

Some parents express hesitation to bankers about discussing philanthropy and finances with their kids, worried that doing so could make them entitled. But that might be overblown.

“If it’s communicated appropriately, they don’t feel entitled, they feel a part of the family itself…It allows them to feel involved,” said Christopher Pegg, senior vice president and senior Director of Planning at Wells Fargo Private Bank in California and Nevada. 

The study surveyed children between the ages of 16 and 26 whose parents had an estimated net worth of at least $1 million. There were just under 10 million households with a net worth of at least $1 million in the U.S., according to a 2018 report by Spectrem Group, an investor research group focused on providing information to financial services firms.

Perhaps it shouldn’t surprise that children of millionaires aren’t included in more decisions. Even women are still often excluded from those conversations. The same report by Spectrem Group showed that in 41 percent of millionaire households, most financial decisions are made by a husband, compared to 4 percent by a wife (54 percent of households reported that decisions were made jointly).

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