Technology is changing the way financial planning is conducted and how it’s presented. It has provided advisors efficiencies to handle more but it is also changing the game for consumers. No longer do you have to wait for that awkward conversation with your parents/friends to find a qualified advisor. Now you can Google an advisor that fits your criteria. Joe Saul-Sehy interviewed Michael Kitces last week on Stacking Benjamins about how advisors need to adapt to these changes. More and more consumers are educating themselves on how planners give advice and more want the accommodation that technology offers.
The way I see it, people want the right advice that’s convenient to them. No longer do they want to schedule time with their advisor, wait for the date, drive into town and spend an hour or so with them. People have busy lives and I’m sure they much rather hop on Skype or Google Hangout to get the question or questions they have answered. Not that it doesn’t pay to sit down with your advisor every so often but a lot that can be handled without the face to face meeting.
A perfect example of this is when my brother came home from South Korea for this past Christmas. It was great to see him and see his little boy who was 11 months old. We were talking about 529 plans and how he should be preparing for college. As with many things, we got caught up with many other family things and that discussion got tabled for the time being. Time flew and so did my brother back to South Korea. A couple weeks later we were talking on Skype and decided to establish a plan. So I sent him a link through join.me and I shared my computer with him. Within minutes he had established and funded a 529 plan for his kid. Who has the time to go down to your advisors office, fill out paperwork and then wait for the account to be set up?
If you’re truly tech-savvy and more open to long distance relationships then your advisor could be thousands of miles away. I see this as a great way for people to be more diligent on their search for the right advisor. If you live in a town with very few advisors (hard to believe given that Edward Jones is on every corner these days) technology increases the pool of candidates for you too choose from. The larger the pool, the more opportunity you have to find an advisor serving the niche you’re in.
Technology has really opened the doors for advisors and consumers to find the right fit for each other. There are many ways to communicate and technology is improving the process. What I find to be so appealing is the opportunity it has provided to find like minded individuals.
[photo courtesy of Leif K-Brooks]