During a session at his T3 advisor conference in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, on Tuesday, Joel Bruckenstein warned that the next generation of investors is telling advisors to “communicate with me the way I want to communicate.” That’s why, the advisor turned advisor tech-guru Bruckenstein said, “It’s incumbent on you to be ahead of where your clients are, not behind.”
If advisors are hesitant to invest in a better digital experience for their clients, Bruckenstein suggested there’s a very good business reason to do so. “Look at the biggest, most successful firms: they embrace technology” in their practices, he said, like Ric Edelman of Edelman Financial Services.
On Wednesday morning, Edelman began his keynote speech with a blunt warning. “Most of the advice you give clients,” he told the audience of advisors, “is fatally flawed,” even “criminally negligent,” he charged, and predicted that if advisors keep providing the same advice “you’ll be out of business.”
That’s because the standard advice is suitable for the world as it is, not as it will be in the very near future. Edelman joked with Bruckenstein that he should even change the name of his conference from “Technology Tools for Today,” to “Technology Tools for Tomorrow.”
So what’s the problem?
Edelman said that unlike most advisors who are “ignorant on technology,” he has long embraced tech tools in his practice, and had been searching for nine years to determine how those technologies experiencing rapid growth, known as “exponential” technology, would affect personal finance “and the advice we give to our clients.” He found the answer, he said, partly through discussions with Ray Kurzweil, cofounder of the Silicon Valley think tank Singular University, and expounded on it in his latest book, The Truth About Your Future.
Quoting the “greatest financial planner of all time, Yogi Berra, who’s credited with saying ‘the future is not what it used to be,’” Edelman argued that the forces in Moore’s Law—Intel founder Gordon Moore’s 1965 observation that the number of transistors that could fit on an integrated circuit doubled every year, with no end in sight to the improvement—will change the lives of advisors’ clients so significantly that advisors must change their advice. (Moore’s Law is also known as the law of exponential growth.)
How will clients’ lives change?
1) A steep jump in life expectancy. “What’s the life expectancy you assume for clients—85-90, 100? Your clients will live to be 120.” Moreover, “we will be living long, healthy lives,” due to…