The world of personal finance is changing and some financial service firms are changing with it. For the thousands of firms that don’t change to keep up with the trends; I fear they will slowly become obsolete in the years to come. And for firms like mine, firms that are indeed changing with the times, the changes we are making are important, they are not minor and they are incredibly exciting. For consumers who are wanting and needing this evolution in financial services, they will see changes in the quality and style of service that better addresses a new set of priorities.
I believe this stems from five significant changes in our society that will begin a new era for personal finance. These shifts are lasting, they are unexpected and they will transform not only the financial services industry, but also personal finance for generations of working Americans.
The Five Big Changes in Personal Finance:
- Monumental Shifts in Demographics will create totally unique problems and solutions in the coming decades. As the largest generation in the world’s history, the baby-boomers move into retirement, we will encounter situations and circumstances that will require creative, multi-generational financial solutions. The demands of today’s financial advisors are going to include the protection of assets in the face of a changing tax climate and the rethinking of the retirement income idea to plan for life expectancy that is more than 50% longer than it was 100 years ago.
- Technology-Driven Information Overwhelm will create demand for a new type of advisor to help sort out the “noise”. While we are increasing the number of news outlets, media sources, and technology devices where we get information, we have yet to solve a basic problem: content quality. This century brings in a demand for more dedicated advisors who have deep context about each family’s needs and can filter “noise” from valid news for them.
- Increasing Financial Complexity will create the need for access to advisors who can create dynamic and fluidly evolving financial plans. The days of “product-oriented” advisors are over. The new chapter will see advisors who are free to include unique product and solutions to meet the needs of each family uniquely. The next era will demand a higher degree of financial aptitude and holistic planning skill.
- Changes in Collaboration and Communication styles are emerging and so the times of the “do-it-yourselfer” investor are coming to a close. The world of personal finance has grown so complex and dynamic, no longer can any one specialist know it all. Instead, we will see a shift to more collaboration between providers on behalf of clients.
- Finally, the ability to Envision a Future will become increasingly important as the range of choice increases. Without a personalized vision of the future, investors will struggle to create meaning and purpose in a more dynamic, change-driven world. Advisors who wish to help clients with their financial outlook will also need to aid them with the increasingly valuable skill of envisioning a unique picture of their future.
These five shifts are shaping an industry. These shifts are also shaping the very financial world we live in. For investors today, we suggest that you expect more from your advisor and continue to expand your vision of your personal financial future.
And for financial advisors of all kinds, if you wish to be a leader in the coming era, you’ll need to continue to adapt and evolve to accommodate the demands of a new breed of client. You’ll need to serve at a higher level in every regard. It’s the dawn of a new day and a new opportunity awaits those who can envision it.