How to create great client personas – part 1: The “40-something accumulators”

By AdviceBridge

Last week, we looked at how important it is for you to know who you’re talking to when it comes to communicating with prospects and clients. We also touched on client personas, and how – if used properly, they can really help maximise the quality and effectiveness of your messaging, leading to greater engagement and trust.

In this article, we take a closer look at one particular market segment – “40-something accumulators” and start mapping some of the particular features and tendencies that would appear in a client persona.

Remember, we aren’t trying to create an exact client – as we discussed previously, the aim of client personas is all about increasing your chances of developing a successful adviser/client relationship rather than looking for an exact match.

Introducing “the 40-something accumulators”

So, we’re looking at clients in their forties, still some time away from retirement, to the extent that retirement is very much in the future.

They are likely to be married, co-habiting or in a civil partnership and will be working and very career-minded.

There’s a very good chance that they will have surviving parents, and children, and therefore be part of the “sandwich generation” with responsibility for their children, and aware that at some stage in the future they’ll need to take responsibility for looking after their elderly relatives.

They will both be working – either for a company or a self-employed capacity or could own their own business.

They will almost certainly have a mortgage on their current property, and could potentially have a decent amount of equity, depending on where they live and how long ago their last move was.

With data now showing the average age for women to have their first child is 29, it’s likely they will have at least one teenager currently living with them, so they will probably have got through the challenges of childcare costs, only to now be aware of other costs, such as university fees, on the potential horizon.

Their main debt is their mortgage, but they will have unsecured debts with higher interest rates such as a car loan and credit cards.

Their working life and financial awareness

They will have built a decent career, and their income will be good. One or even both is liable to be a higher-rate taxpayer. They could well have had a series of jobs, working their way up to middle or senior management level in their current role.

There’s a good chance they may own their own company – having built it up from scratch after some time spent working in their chosen sector to build experience before starting off on their own.

Their awareness of their financial situation is likely to be good. They will know how comfortable they currently are, and how secure their existing financial circumstances make them.

They are likely to have some short-term savings that could consist of some “rainy day” money and other sums set aside for specific events such as holidays. Also, they are likely to have some long-term savings such as ISAs while also saving for their children.

If they are employed, they will be in their company or group pension scheme and could have other pension arrangements through previous employers.

Any financial advice they have had up to now is liable to have just been transactional, such as life cover and potentially some income protection to cover mortgage repayments. As an existing client of yours, they may have been a member of a group scheme you set up or have acquired through a business purchase.

As having children can focus the mind on inheritance, they may have wills in place.

What matters to them?

They are motivated by their family and by wanting to be comfortable. They want their children to be happy and successful and will look for every opportunity to help that become a reality.

They are still at the stage of wanting to improve the quality of their life, so they are still working hard and looking to progress.

What keeps them awake at night?

Like anyone, the 40-something accumulators will have concerns and worries that cause them the odd sleepless night.

They have a lot of debt. While the bulk of this is secured on their property, they will know that an increase in mortgage interest rates or losing their job could impact their financial stability.

The Covid-19 pandemic will have focused their attention on their state of health. The pressure on the NHS could mean other health provision may be delayed or restricted in the medium-term future.

If they have elderly parents in their 70s or 80s, there may be some concern over their health and future ability to live independently, especially if they were living alone after the death of their long-term partner.

The pandemic may well have impacted their job. They could have spent some time working from home and could work in a sector that has been negatively impacted by lockdown and restricted activity over the past twelve months.

How do they get their information and make decisions?

They will get their news and information from a variety of sources.

They will be tech-savvy, so social media is likely to play a big role in their lives – both work and pleasure. They will use Facebook for family and friend interaction and possibly news and current affairs, and following hobbies. They will also use LinkedIn for work relations and potentially future job prospects.

With national newspaper readership at an all-time low, it’s unlikely they will buy a daily paper, but they will look at online media news and current affairs.

If they are married or in a civil partnership, it will be a joint decision-making process when it comes to key family and financial issues. Decisions are driven by need and priority more than future planning.

What would prompt them to contact you?

Fear is a key driver when it comes to personal finance, so one key issue that could prompt them to contact you is their financial situation if they were unable to work.

Even though they are still very much in the accumulation phase on their journey to retirement, pensions could well be an issue that causes them to seek advice. With the State Pension age increasing, and persistent speculation that it could well end up being 70 or older, personal pension arrangements are becoming increasingly critical.

Retirement is still a long way off, but a “disturbance” article in the media about people their age not saving enough for a comfortable retirement would create a problem in their mind that they could seek support in solving.

So, how can you help the “over-40 accumulators”?

At this stage, we would suggest that the best services to offer the “over-40 accumulators” are a financial health check, coupled with giving them some structure around their future financial plans.

An overarching plan reviewed and updated regularly – especially as their circumstances change and they get closer to retirement, will give them the reassurance that comes from having a plan in place, and knowing they are on track to meet their future goals.

Their three key priorities would be:

  1. Ensuring their income is protected in the event of illness or accident
  2. Making sure they are maximising pension contributions as far as possible
  3. Having sufficient savings that are invested tax-efficiently

But is supporting this segment of the market profitable?

Many may have existing clients in this segment who aren’t really that profitable or you may not want to take on exactly for this reason. However, there has been significant development in digitised solutions to allay these fears.

Furthermore, not offering a service or solution to this segment may cost in the long run. Those potential clients may well form long-term, lucrative relationships elsewhere with firms that have adopted technology to automate and improve on current processes and procedures.

Where does AdviceBridge fit in?

AdviceBridge has developed an automated digital solution specifically aimed at meeting advisers’ needs in addressing the “40-something accumulators”, delivering a service that is profitable to them and engaging to this segment of clients.

Find out more about our service and how we can help you by emailing us at or calling us on 0203 925 3850.