Technology in Retirement Helps Baby Boomers
Technology in retirement is becoming a fact-of-life for retirees. Baby Boomers more than others are becoming more reliant on technology in retirement planning. The Baby Boomers who are currently working with a financial advisor can expect that relationship to become not only more important but more efficient, thanks to the use of technology in retirement years, according to an article from FoxBusiness as part of the website’s recent “The Boomer” series.
Baby Boomers are generally considered to be people who were born between 1946 and 1964, ages 55 to 73. Currently, there are about 76 million Baby Boomers in the U.S., which accounts for about 29% of the population. In addition, nearly half (47%), or about 34 million, are already retired. When measured by age alone, many would assume Baby Boomers would shy away from technology in retirement. In truth, many are embracing it to manage a multitude of financial functions, from updating beneficiaries to keeping tabs on their portfolios to checking their account statements.
According to a recent EY study cited by FoxBusiness, Boomers’ use of digital solutions is expected to increase compared to other generations. FoxBusiness interviewed Mark Schoenbeck, Executive Vice President and National Sales Director at Kestra Financial, to learn the reason why.
According to Schoenbeck, technology has simplified every area of our lives, and personal finance is no exception. Baby Boomers lead complex lives, between having mixed families, supporting children and parents, and trying to enjoy their own lives, he said. As such, Baby Boomers are the most likely to adopt solutions that make their lives easier, like technology in retirement. However, while digital technology is useful, it won’t completely replace Baby Boomers’ relationship with an advisor. If anything, technology in retirement will play a role in augmenting and deepening Baby Boomers’ relationship with and reliance on their financial advisor.
Mr. Schoenbeck noted, “These tools are incapable of having empathy for an investor, challenging them when needed, or attending a retirement party. Investors want the reassurance and peace of mind knowing that an experienced expert knows them, knows their situation, and is guiding them.” In addition, having easier access to more data will likely cause Baby Boomer investors to have more questions about their finances, thus increasing their reliance on their financial advisor for expert guidance.
Moreover, for many Baby Boomers, technology in retirement also appears to be replacing quarterly, in-person financial advisor meetings. Clients who have the capability to connect with an advisor via their mobile device or laptop are more likely to do so, Schoenbeck observed. Baby Boomers enjoy the convenience of using technology in retirement, including relocation or travel plans.
As Baby Boomers become ever more tech-savvy and their lives grow increasingly more complex, they are demanding more from their relationship with their financial advisor. Portfolio management will only take a client-advisor relationship so far, Schoenbeck noted. Today, Baby Boomer clients, also known as the “Sandwich Generation,” want an advisor who can help them navigate the complexities of helping their children get on their feet financially while also helping their aging parents stay afloat. Technology in retirement will help both Baby Boomers and advisors take their relationship to the next level, and help deepen the Baby Boomers’ reliance on their advisor as well.
Plan sponsors would do well to check in with their advisors to ensure they are consistently embracing technology in retirement needs as part of their business, and that they are prepared to serve Baby Boomers’ unique needs and the needs of future generations.