After news of Steve Jobs’ death earlier this month we started talking at Financial Finesse about the impact he’s had on us individually and on our society. It was a brief moment of realization that the influence he had made with Apple was enormous—beyond what we had ever really put thought into until that moment.
I think it is common understanding that Jobs literally changed the world we live in. AdvisorOne’s Jamie Green wrote a story about the influence Jobs’ technology has had, and will continue to have, on advisors. Looking around my own office, every piece of technology I own is a byproduct of his genius—iPhone, iPad, and a Mac computer (the list gets even longer when you include my home office). He was a brilliant innovator, mainly because of his ability to be intuitive and understand what consumers wanted. This is something many of us find difficult when dealing with our own clients: being intuitive to their needs and how to meet them. But advisors, who work with clients in one-on-one settings on a daily basis discussing private details about their personal goals, dreams and concerns, have an advantage to gaining this intuition that can stimulate genius insight.
This got me thinking about what we could learn from Jobs, and how the principles he had lived by could be applied to other industries and utilized by anyone to make a difference.
These days consumers are smarter and savvier but also jaded, especially after a financial crisis that left them with little trust in the financial services industry. According to an Edelman survey earlier this year (as cited by Temma Ehrenfeld in the Financial Planning article Investors Still Don’t Trust Financial Services Firms) 46% of surveyed investors said their trust in financial services companies had declined since the year before, despite a better economy. They are no longer comfortable with handing over their investments to a pro without question. They want a more active role in understanding the decisions that are made with their finances. After all, their future depends on how well you manage their funds. You can be a thought leader like Steve Jobs and be the difference in effectively reaching investors, or you can be left behind.