Kitces, who announced earlier in the conference he is joining the Journal of Financial Planning as practitioner editor, started his presentation with a discussion of Perry the Planner and Carl the Client.
“Perry and Carl have had a relationship for four years,” he explained. “Carl is on ‘the cloud’ and can see anything he needs to in his account. Updates are continuous and ongoing as it is all numbers-driven. Perry can also review and monitor Carl’s account to see how well his goals are being achieved. Perry and Carl connect through various communication tools. Oh, and one last thing—Perry and Carl have never met in person.”
This, Kitces claimed, is the future of financial planning. It will “change everything about how we develop, deliver and communicate financial plans.”
“I’m here to throw the football down the field eight or 10 years into the future,” he said. “The Internet has been around for two decades, but we’re still figuring out how to integrate it into our lives and businesses. The medical community is now grappling with this, as very often patients come in and are just as informed as the doctors are about their particular afflictions.”
The result was a session heavy on questions about what future advice models might look like, including:
- What is the value of the advice-giver in an increasingly technology-driven world?
- Planners are experts when finding solutions on the Internet—similar to finding a needle in a haystack. Will improvements in search, sharing and social media change that?
- What if the answer to a financial problem came up on a Google search exactly as you wanted?
Borrowing heavily from Blue Ocean Strategy, a business strategy book written by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne, Kitces said that in order for advisors to adapt to the digital age, they must focus on what matters to clients and eliminate everything else in a quest to develop something new.
“What currently creates the most work in your practice? What has the most cost? What can we leave behind: in-person meetings, written financial plans, what else?”