Financial planning has drastically changed since it originated in 1969 to present day 2018. The financial planning industry evolves depending on many different factors: how the economy is doing, what clients are looking for, and what types of investment trends are on the rise or even decline. What hasn’t changed, though, is the fact that change is inevitable, and your firm can either adapt or be lost in the changing environment.
Taking a look at the history of financial planning allows us to get a better understanding of how firms have adapted throughout time, and what we can do to better suit ourselves for the future.
Financial Planning Past
When financial planning was just emerging, it was centered around the question of, “will I have enough money to retire?” Planning for the future was focused on the outcome of financial planning through sticking to stagnant budgets. Financial planners in the past worked around creating a set budget for each individual, determining exactly what to spend on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis to get their client to save enough for retirement. Their client’s 3-ring binder full of all of their past financial statements was enough for them to call it a day post-financial planning session.
Financial Planning Present
Financial planning now is less focused on the outcome, and more focused on the process. While financial planning in the past was centered around having enough to retire, it is now, “What will my retirement look like?” Not only are people concerned about retirement, but financial planning today is more lifestyle and financial independence centric. More and more people are interested in investing, and taking mild risks to achieve financial freedom, while looking at advisors to steer them in the right direction in crafting a plan. Unlike financial plans in the past, financial plans today are digital, living, and breathing - meaning they can easily be adjusted and adapted based on any situations that may occur within a client’s life.
Financial Planning Future
With the emergence of the digital age, it’s no surprise that financial planning in the future is going to become increasingly digital and technology-centered. The way that technology interacts with advisors will change to become more intuitive. Clients will be able to have more and more access to tools provided by their advisors, allowing them to make their own changes, and depending on their engagements with advisors. While digital platforms are not likely to surpass human-to-human interaction between the client and advisor, consumer comfort with a digital financial advice experience will increase. Essentially, the future of financial planning is embedded in a human plus technology model.
We have been working hard at Wela to create Benjamin, a tool that is changing the game for RIAs and financial advisors. Don’t let your firm get lost in the digital age; check out what Benjamin can do to help the future of your firm here.