The current crowd of young adults seems extremely confident in their ability to handle their own finances independent of professional advice.
The headline finding in this year's TD Ameritrade investor survey reveals that 2 out of 3 Americans age 22 to 34 look to their friends, family, and the Internet for financial information -- and not to a professional advisory relationship.
This, of course, may simply be a function of the self-confidence and resilience that comes with relative youth.
Most of us naturally feel more capable in our 20s than we do in our 40s and 50s, but it remains to be seen whether the feeling of immortality will last. If so, then yes, this will be a generation of self-directed investors.
But if not, as they age, they may become viable prospects for financial planners and other advisors.
As it stands, the fact that relatively few 20-somethings have the asset base that most planners require from ongoing relationships makes it something of a moot point.
Sure, advisors can court the young in the hope that they'll grow into big accounts. But that's a long-term bet that few really think through.
Interestingly, the media is positioning the survey as proof that Generation Y is somehow "different" for learning how to handle their finances early in life.
In reality, the data show only a 2 percentage-point gap between the proportion of Gen Y and Gen X respondents who say they learned about money in childhood.