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How Advisors Can Use Tech to Serve Aging Clients: MIT AgeLab

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Advisors should not think of technology as just part of the ecosystem of their businesses, helping to onboard clients, develop financial plans and invest and monitor assets. Technology is also key in their clients’ lives and not just for communications with their financial advisor, including clients older than members of Gen X, Y and Z.

“Technology is creeping into clients’ worlds,” says John Diehl, senior vice president of Hartford Funds, who spoke at last week’s Investment Advisor Forum in New York City sponsored by the Investments & Wealth Institute. “Americans over 60 are the fastest growing adopters of technology.”

Hartford Funds has partnered with the MIT AgeLab, whose purpose is to translate technology into practical solutions to improve people’s health and help them engage throughout their life.

(Related: Top 3 Advisor Traits Clients Value Most)

According to AgeLab Director Joseph Coughlin, technology can help people:

  • Age in place using apps such as TaskRabbit to find contractors for home improvement projects and food delivery apps
  • Monitor and manage chronic health issues
  • Stay mobile through ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft
  • Stay connected to family and friends through apps like Skype and Facetime
  • Earn income longer, providing flexibility in current jobs or helping to find second careers and update skillsets

All these applications have financial implications for clients affecting either their income or spending. It’s usually less expensive to remain at home than to move to an assisted care facility, for example.

These “longevity solutions” will be a key way for advisors to serve clients as they age, creating “remarkable experiences” that clients don’t expect but will remember, says Diehl. “Advisors have to satisfy client expectations and create value that differentiates them” — educating clients and connecting them to resources that can help them age, says Diehl.

(Related: Keep Longevity From Killing Your Clients’ Retirement)

“If you haven’t been asked by clients about where to go to grow old, to transition careers, to downsize and relocate, you soon will be. Your clients hired you to maximize their experiences. … You need to educate yourself about new media, for example, or risk alienation from clients.”

Diehl also suggests using Uber or Lyft for a client dinner rather than a personal car to introduce clients to apps that can help them or introducing clients to a memory lab. “They will remember that more than their last investment performance review.”


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