No matter if you still have a flip phone or buy every new Apple or Samsung product that comes out, the single greatest innovation in the world of retirement planning will not come from artificial intelligence, online meetings, or some fintech conference.
It will come in terms of the human touch. I realize that sounds old-fashioned, and like bellbottoms and mullets will come back into style, but it’s obvious and it’s only going to get more and more expensive.
Nothing beats the human touch (photo credit: Shutterstock)
It’s funny because it flies in the face of what you read or see online. Trust me, I’ve seen all the research on how baby boomers and retirees are the largest growing segment of online and internet users. Not to mention, mind boggling statistics on how expectations for online purchases from this group could skyrocket to some absurd number like $50 billion by 2030.
It’s not that I don’t trust the research, but as you peel back the research and stats, the growth in this area is forced and not by choice. In other words, they have no choice but to adopt new online habits and behaviors as more things are only available online or in electronic format. Plus fraud protection is improving making it less frightening for this group to provide personal information in order to purchase some holiday gifts or other seasonal items.
However, it doesn’t mean they like it or prefer to do business that way, especially when it comes to something like receiving financial advice. The reality is, most of my clients print the pdf newsletter I email them each month. They still go into the bank rather than zipping into the drive through or opting for online banking. The y still like to meet with me in person or talk on the phone, and love it when I run into them around town.
As much as Google, Amazon, and companies that promote robo advisory services push for the latest and greatest ways to do things faster and with as little human interaction as possible, no one has ever told me they want to live a fast, efficient, and isolated life in retirement. Reality is, we are physical beings, in a physical world where we use the power of touch to communicate, care, and connect. It’s what distinguishes us from other species. Whether it’s a simple handshake, pat on the back, are warm and welcoming hug, physically interacting with others is crucial to our wellness as human beings.
In fact, touch is the very first sense we acquire, and in cases of Alzheimer’s and dementia, the last way for people to communicate and be comforted. I realize that having your nest egg managed for a paltry 25 basis points i nstead of what a human advisor may cost can look and sound good on paper, but they can’t calm your nerves, improve your mood and outlook, or decreasing stress. In other words, they can’t bond with you or develop trust in the way that humans can.
That’s important because people want to live a happy, healthy, and connected life in retirement. To accomplish this, they need to be around other people, have things that help them stay active and sharp, as well as feel secure in the way their life savings is being managed.
As a result, this will put a premium on human based retirement planning and interactions, especially, if advisors develop additional ways to help people plan for more than the financial aspects of retirement. Therefore, the single greatest innovation in retirement planning will be the human touch!