How technology fits into a Baby Boomers retirement planning

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Technology is beginning to play an important part in Baby Boomers retirement planning.  Smart phones  and the internet not only keep you in touch with family and friends, but digital wealth is quickly becoming the future of financial planning for your golden years. 

A recent study by EY showed that the use of digital wealth solutions is poised to increase among boomers vs. other generations. 

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Mark Schoenbeck, Executive Vice President and National Sales Director at Kestra Financial discussed with Fox Business the use of digital wealth solutions.  Here is what you need to know.

Boomer:  What should boomers know as they adopt these digital solutions?

Schoenbeck:   Technology has streamlined nearly every aspect of our lives, especially personal finance. With the tap of a button, consumers can update beneficiaries on investment accounts, check their portfolios, and read financial statements. It’s not surprising that the boomer generation will quickly adopt these solutions due to the complexity in their lives, including mixed families, supporting children and parents, and trying to enjoy their own lives. 

As boomers adopt these tools, they should know that their existing relationships with financial professionals will become even more efficient and important. Though digital wealth technology is helpful, it won’t replace an advisor altogether. If anything, financial technology will only increase a boomer’s reliance on their Advisor.

Fitbits are a great analogy. Like financial technology, it presents point-of-time decision making reminders to change behavior and increase productivity. If I missed my daily step goals on Fitbit, for example, it might prompt me to go for a walk around my neighborhood late in the day. This mindset hasn’t been fully realized in the financial space, but will. If a financial app or technology portal closely tracks my spending behaviors, you bet it will make me second-guess that splurge at the mall.

Boomer: Will an increased use of technology change the reliance on traditional financial advisors?

Schoenbeck: Technology will make the relationship between investors and advisors more efficient.  It will not REPLACE their relationship. These tools are incapable of having empathy for an investor, challenging them when needed, or attending a retirement party. Investors want the reassurance and peace of mind knowing that an experienced expert knows them, knows their situation, and is guiding them.

That said, technology will increase the reliance on traditional financial advisors. The abundance of personal financial data available to consumers will ultimately leave them with more questions on their individual situations, thus sparking the need for professional advice. My favorite analogy is WebMD, which didn’t eliminate the need for doctors. It presents you with all of the possible scenarios related to your symptoms and, more often than not, causes you to quickly draw conclusions (often incorrectly) on your health issue.

This same phenomenon will happen in our space. 24/7 access to data will ultimately raise more questions for investors and cause them to turn to an advisor for guidance.

Another major shift we’re already seeing is the extinction of the quarterly, in-person meeting. If a client can log on to their phone or laptop and connect with an advisor, they’re more likely to do so. This is an added convenience for boomers especially, who might be traveling or moving in retirement.

Boomer: How are the boomer generations investing behaviors impacting the advisory industry?

Schoenbeck:  The complexity of boomers’ financial decisions are changing the industry by forcing an elevated advisor value proposition. Boomers are helping children get established financially and also caring for aging parents. These needs require a more holistic level of professional service beyond just portfolio management.

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From my perspective, the impact they’re having on our industry is profound. The complexity of their financial decision making is forcing advisors to offer more comprehensive advice beyond the portfolio.

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