[Travis] Financial technology can help you streamline operations and grow your practice. And more and more, it's also what clients expect. Today, we're gonna talk about how you can use technology to better serve your clients. Welcome to "Rebuilding Retirement: Navigating a new reality with your clients," a podcast series from Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America. I'm Travis Walker. When it comes to work it can happen in different scenarios, my guest today is known as "the fintechie." Joel Bruckenstein helps financial service firms improve their technologies, processes, and workflows. Joel is a certified financial planner, publisher of the T3 Tech Hub, and the producer of the Technology Tools for Today Advisor Conference. Joel is gonna talk about the ways technology has changed financial services, what tools you should stop using, and how you can use fintech to compliment your guidance. Joel, thanks for joining us.
[Travis] You started your fintech conference, T3 Advisor Conference nearly 20 years ago. Why did you feel this was an important step for the industry?
[Joel] Well, because I thought there was a lack of independent advice about tech for advisors. I was running my own firm at that time, an RIA firm, and when I started a few years previous, I was looking for advice on tech. First of all, a lot of what was out there was sponsor driven, and not very accurate. And not independent for sure, and some of it was misleading. And, if you went to conferences, if there was some tech component, it was very light.
[Joel] And I really thought that the industry was underestimating the value of technology, and that technology deserved its own conference.
[Travis] Sure, sure. So you mentioned a little bit about how the landscape looked back then. Can you kind of expand on that a little bit?
[Joel] Sure, well, when I started, when I was looking to outfit my firm, I went to a conference that was sponsored by one of the organizations. And I actually bought some software based on what I heard. What they didn't reveal to me is the people who were saying how great this software were, were really salespeople for the industry, they'd position them as third-party experts.
[Travis] Of course.
[Joel] And I got the software and it was pretty ugly. I had a lot of problems with it. And so I said, where's kind of the Consumer Reports of technology for advisors? And I realized there was none.
And so a lot of
and you know if you went to a conference and it happened to have a tech session or two, they tended to be an afterthought. They were, you know, I was asked to speak at one conference on technology, it was like at eight o'clock at night or something. They just slammed it in somewhere.
[Travis] Prime time.
[Joel] Yeah so, it wasn't like most people took technology seriously.
[Joel] And you have to remember, the technology that was available then is very different than it was today. You know, internet speeds were slow. A lot of people, probably most people were still on dial up lines. Almost no advisors had their own website. There was no commercial RIA software for the Apple operating system. If you wanted to update your computers, you got discs in the mail and -
[Joel] If you had three computers, you had to update them individually. And all forms, statements, everything was still paper.
[Travis] Yeah, no. So we painted that picture and you did it very well.
[Joel] Well I think today we have a robust ecosystem of software providers. You know, we track about 500 firms at last count on the T3/Inside Information annual tech survey.
[Joel] You know, not all of 'em are what I would call mainstream, but there is probably a specialized program for anybody who needs to find something in just about any niche. And, pretty much everything, obviously today is cloud-based. So big, big changes.
[Travis] Gotcha. So the technology has changed, but how has that changed the role of the financial professionals, broadly?
[Joel] Well, I mean I think a lot of things are automated today that weren't automated then. So, a lot of advisors, even to this day, still spend too much time, I think, on manual tasks, back-office tasks that could be automated. But I think the forward-thinking firms, their advisors are spending less time doing those kind of things, and more time in front of clients and prospects. Even until, up to the pandemic I would say, probably only 10 or 15% of the advisor population had ever done a virtual meeting. And now it's pretty much a hundred percent.
[Joel] And so virtual meetings have become commonplace. So I think that advisors who are strategic about how they spend their time and how they spend their dollars on technology are much better positioned today than they've ever been. And I think there's a real dichotomy between those who are the technology haves and have-nots. And the ones that are have-nots, the value of their business is declining, and they're probably gonna be out of business within the next few years.
[Travis] Yeah, you can either handle business or you'll be out of business. Interestingly enough, I actually was just at a conference and we were talking about this very thing. Around the table, it wasn't even a breakout. We were just having a casual conversation about the role that technology plays. And a lot of them were saying like, look, without it, I don't know where I'd be. So they were a little late in adopting it. But now that they have it, kind of what you're saying, taking some of the things off their plate and allowing them to do things more efficiently. It was kind of a godsend for them. So, but hearing you say that, and it all makes sense and seems rather obvious now, but there was a time that you thought your conference would become obsolete. So, why is that and what changed your mind?
[Joel] Yeah well I think looking back 20 years ago, you know we couldn't have fully visualized some of the technological advances that were going to take place. And we just thought that, you know it wasn't really that difficult to figure out a tech stack, and that most people eventually with a little guidance would figure it out. But technology has evolved much more rapidly and continues to evolve. The pace of change today is the greatest it's ever been in the history of man. And it shows no signs of slowing down. So I think, you know, the other thing was, we thought a lot of these firms would've merged by now. But every time one merges, somebody new pops up. So there's always new firms coming into the space with new ideas, creative ideas. And I think advisors struggle to this day to keep up with everything that's going on in tech. If you don't have somebody doing it full-time, you're probably missing a lot.
[Travis] Yeah, no, I mean you were definitely a visionary, but it's not as though you get to one place and then, you know, that's it. It's not like it is as though you guys reach the spot and it just hit pause. So it's always gonna be growing and evolving and changing.
[Joel] In fact, it's just the opposite, really. Because if you think about it, we used to get updates, whatever, semi-annually, like I said, they would mail out discs.
[Travis] Yeah, right.
[Joel] And so you'd get this major upgrade once or twice a year. And you'd figure out what was relevant to you and hopefully make use of that.
[Joel] But now, pretty much as everybody who's developing software is on some sort of agile system, which means they're, every two or three weeks, adding new features or fixing bugs in the system.
[Travis] Yeah, totally.
[Joel] And so, if you're not on top of your current technology, you probably don't know all of its capabilities. And we used to say, if you come to our conference once every two or three years, that was probably enough to keep up on what's going on. Now literally, you know, it's gotta be every year because just between last year and this year, there's so much change going on. It's mind boggling, honestly.
[Travis] Yeah, no, if you waited every three years, you probably couldn't even download the app to come to the conference. So, what do you see as the greatest ways that fintech can enhance a financial professional's practice? And, you know, really keying in on the word enhance at that point?
[Joel] So I think it's what we touched on earlier. Advisors should be spending their time on things that add the greatest value, right? And the greatest value that advisors can create is not, for example, researching mutual funds or ETFs, or stocks.
[Joel] It's not doing reconciliation, right? It's not in really meeting prep. It's none of the back-office stuff. It's getting in front of clients and prospects and really helping them realize their goals and aspirations. And so I think technology there has been a great help, because it's automating a lot of the things that used to take time. Everything from client onboarding all the way through the process. You know, if you think about something even like client onboarding, when everything was paper, it could take literally weeks to open an account, right?
[Travis] Oh, sure.
[Joel] And get the account funded. So from a P and L side, advisors were not getting paid until all of that was done. And now it can happen in a matter of minutes, right? Instead of days or weeks. So there's some real efficiency there on the P and L side, but also, they can get right into really helping clients. So, getting NIGOs, you know-
[Travis] Right, yeah.
[Joel] not in good order paperwork back, which used to run about 40% across the industry. And if you're fully digital, it's in the low single digits. You know just that alone has been a major, major change, that helps efficiency. And if you have workflows programmed into your CRM or whatever you're using to track all your interactions with clients, first of all, you have better records. But also, you're making sure that everybody gets a uniform service.
[Travis] No, you're preaching to the converted. I actually worked in a new business at a time, and I knew all too well what NIGO stood for, what that means, and then how you can clean up that whole process. So, yeah, we're grateful that the technology has come around. What limitations does fintech have?
[Joel] Well, you know I would say that the greatest limitations it has today, there's a few. One is, just like it's always been with computers, garbage in, garbage out, right? If you put in bad formulas or you put in bad workflows, you're still gonna have bad formulas and bad workflows, whether they're automated or not. So that's one. And I think probably the greatest one is, computers still are not human. So the behavioral finance aspect of things and guiding clients, they still need that human touch. And I don't think that's going to change, even with the advent of AI, which we can talk about later. It may eventually, but I'll be out of the business by then, and probably you will too.
No, I certainly understand that. I mean, sometimes you see advisors sitting around chirping about kind of the rise of the machines, and how someone's up...
See, that's a machine right there.
[Joel] There you go.
[Travis] We had a call coming in. No, but you have people that do have that concern, but it's good to note what you just did, that there are limitations and it's not meant as a replacement, but an enhancement. So, one thing that we were talking about offline, a day or two ago is about retirement accumulation versus decumulation strategies. How important that is. Is that something you can touch on?
[Joel] Sure, happy to talk about it. Here's the way I think about it, okay? Retirement accumulation is a much easier math problem to solve, okay?
[Joel] You have a limited number of levers that you can really pull to create a successful plan, right? Typically, if you don't have a high enough probability of success, you can either try and achieve higher returns, if it's within somebody's risk tolerance, you can push out the retirement date, you can save more, if you have the cash flow to do it, or you can do something that produces some cash flow while you are in retirement, right?
[Joel] You can work part time or something like that, and a lot of people need to do that. Also, you can optimize Social Security. So, once you know the math and once you know basically what the formulas are to be able to improve things, it's pretty easy to create software to do that, right? And illustrate what I just said to clients. However, the decumulation math is a lot more sticky, right?
[Joel] It's a lot more complex. You don't know when people are gonna die, right? So there's, with all the other uncertainty you have with accumulation, like tax rates and rates of return, it's just even more so on the decumulation side. We have no idea what income tax rates or estate tax rates are gonna be two years from now, because the 2017 law's gonna sunset, right? So we have no idea what we're planning for there. We don't know with a hundred percent certainty that Social Security's gonna be around in its current form.
[Joel] And so, it's a much more difficult process. And as a result, you haven't seen as much software development over the years on that side. Once you know the formula, right, and once you know the levers, if you can model that out, it's really easy to create software.
[Joel] And I just think there's a lot more unknowns and the math is a lot more complicated. But having said that, you know there are some programs that have popped up in the last couple of years, that do a much better job than anything we've seen in the past with regard to decumulation planning. And it's starting to be incorporated, some of these same techniques, into what I would call mainstream comprehensive planning as well.
[Travis] Yeah. I mean, I've done the math personally on myself, and I think if I stopped right now, I'd have enough money to live comfortably until next Thursday, so I totally get the decumulation. It's such an important part of it. And I don't think enough people are talking about it. Why do you think that is?
[Joel] I think because most people, especially younger people, can't picture their 65 or 70-year-old self. And they just figure they'll kick the can down the road and worry about it later.
[Joel] And what they don't realize is, the power of compounding when you start early. And I think that's really the key on the accumulation side. The earlier you start, and the more seriously you take it early on, the power of compounding works for you. And as I said in decumulation, most people don't realize, I think they underestimate what their potential life expectancy is. And because of that, they're not planning properly. And certainly that's one of those levers we talked about. But that's one that's an unknown. You don't know.
[Joel] You don't know when you're gonna die. But having said that, you can make a pretty good guess if you reach 65 and you have some demographic information and health information.
[Travis] Sure, sure. No, that makes sense. So, how has technology affected the actual way that financial professionals make those recommendations for clients? Like, especially when planning for retirement. For example, you've talked before about how the launch of, say MoneyGuidePro, moved the industry from cash-flow planning towards goal-based planning.
[Travis] Can you touch on that?
[Joel] Yeah sure, so look, the way we did planning 20 plus years ago was very simplistic in many ways. And I think it gave some people a false set of accuracy that just didn't exist, right? We talked about all the variables that today we don't know -
[Joel] looking forward 20 or 30 years. If you think about the way planning was done 20 or 30 years ago, first of all, a lot of it was straight-line calculations, right? There were no Monte Carlo simulations, that was still in its infancy. And second of all, if you do a cash-flow projection out 30 years, the only thing I can guarantee is it's gonna be wrong. Right? 'Cause you're saying you're gonna get X amount every year and -
[Travis] Right, right.
[Joel] And X is gonna be X, and your return is gonna be X. It's just not gonna happen. So you go through this crazy process, to come up with something that says you're gonna have $2,000,356.36 cents when you reach 65. And you know it's wrong, right?
[Joel] And so, why go through all that? It's just way too far out to do a cash-flow projection on. If you want to do a cash-flow projection one year out, you know, I'm all with you, maybe two years out. But five years and past that, it's just a waste of time. And I think, one of the big changes with goal-based planning is, it was a lot more approachable to clients. It was faster, it was easier, and it was good enough.
[Joel] Because you're never gonna get an exact number anyway.
[Travis] Gotcha. Yeah people love the word guarantee until it's coupled with guarantee that it's going to be wrong. What other ways have new technologies affected the recommendations?
[Joel] Well, I mean just about every way you could think of, right? So, I think we're a lot more sophisticated in cash projections today, and I think we're a lot more sophisticated in the way we look at the different buckets of money that go into retirement, and the way they interact with each other from a tax perspective. 20 years ago, almost nobody in the taxable accounts was doing tax-loss harvesting and trying to create tax alpha, right? The way we construct portfolios is more sophisticated. You could point to just about any area of financial planning, and it's been, and investment management, and it's been touched in some way, shape, or form by the digital revolution.
[Travis] Right, right. So, what are some things, and I'm thinking of like Excel for example, that may still feel new to someone who has been in the business for decades, but are, let's face it, a little out of date.
[Joel] Look Excel to my mind is a resource of last recourse, let's put it that way.
[Travis] Oh, okay.
[Joel] I don't think most firms should be using Excel nearly as extensively as they are in their practice, for a number of reasons. You know, one is, you're gonna make mistakes. You know, I've dealt with multi-billion dollar firms that are doing their rebalancing and their tax-loss harvesting using a very complex spreadsheet. There's probably one person who put that spreadsheet together years ago. Nobody else in the firm even knows if it's correct. You know, in every single cell and every single algorithm that's in there. And nobody can really explain it. And so, it just opens you up to errors over time.
[Joel] And, I think, there's a real potential liability there, and I think there's a real regulatory risk there. You know, to a certain extent, if you're using a commercial program and you've done your due diligence, I think it's a lot easier to defend that than a proprietary Excel spreadsheet for anything.
[Travis] Yeah, no I get that.
[Joel] And so, you know, most firms that are using Excel spreadsheets are, again, wasting a lot of time. Why reinvent the wheel? If there's something commercial, where every time there's a tax update, it's being spread, the cost of doing that update is being spread over 20 or 50,000 users, instead of just your firm. It's not economically feasible, and I think there's regulatory risks. So, I am dead set against it.
[Travis] No, no I like that. I'm glad that we're having that conversation. I think you explained that beautifully. So, the idea behind incorporating fintech is to scale your work and achieve mass personalization for clients. What are some examples of technologies that can help a financial professional grow their practice?
[Joel] Sure, let's look at a few real briefly, right? One is digital lead generation. I mean, historically, advisors were confined by geography, and most of them got 80 to 90% of their leads through referrals. That number's going down significantly. At a lot of larger firms, it's 50% or less now. And where most of them are getting their new leads is digital lead generation. There's still a lot of firms that are not using any tools to do that; they should be using them. You know, we talked a little about CRM earlier, how many firms don't have automated workflows built into their CRM.
[Joel] If you're not automating your workflows, first of all, you're not operating efficiently. But also, you're not giving a uniform client experience to all of your clients.
[Joel] You know, some financial planning software today can automate a lot of what used to be done manually within the CRM, like creating scenarios and actually making suggestions that are relevant to the client's situation. And so, you know, you're gonna see more and more AI built into financial planning software. And there are already some firms, I could think of two right off the top of my head, that have already incorporated some artificial intelligence into their planning proposals. And then you have sort of a general purpose AI, like ChatGPT, which cutting-edge firms are already using themselves, for everything from helping them write content for clients, to answering emails,
[Joel] to helping facilitate brainstorming within the firm, just to name a few things.
[Travis] Gotcha. So with all this happening, what about cybersecurity? How should a financial professional be thinking about protecting their clients' data? Can you touch on that?
[Joel] I can touch on it. It's probably a whole different podcast. But, here's what we do know. Based on our last T3 survey, 76% of respondents in the last survey said they had never engaged with a third-party cyber expert. And of those that think they have, I still suspect that a lot of 'em really haven't done a comprehensive review. So, you know, if there's one thing that listeners should take away from this, it's that IT and cyber are separate functions.
[Joel] You need checks and balances. And a lot of times when advisors engage with a third-party IT firm, they'll like, "Oh we'll handle your cyber security for you." Really?
[Joel] Who's checking on them? Right?
[Joel] So they're separate functions. And if you look at any major organization, any major financial organization, every single one of them has two separate functions. One is IT and one is cyber. And they are very distinct and separate. And there's, they perform checks and balances on each other. And so, if you've never engaged with a third-party cyber expert, you should. If you're relying on your IT firm, whoever they are, to provide cyber security for you, you shouldn't.
[Travis] What new tools or innovation have had the greatest impact from your viewpoint, on how financial professionals worked with their clients for retirement?
[Joel] Well, again, I think it depends what timeframe you're talking about. Historically, I do think Monte Carlo simulations have helped a lot. I don't think that they're alone a solution, but I think it's a lens you need to look through when you're trying to understand. Like I said, how some of these levers that you can apply to fix a bad retirement plan, interact with each other. I do think, as I said, there's some AI and machine learning that's already built into some of the software, that can speed the creation of plans and help create multiple scenarios.
[Joel] There's a lot of good software now, that wasn't available a few years ago in the estate planning side. There's better risk software. So I think all of these things historically have played a role. If you're talking about today, and looking forward to 2024, I think big data, machine learning, and AI are all gonna have a tremendous impact on the business. They're already starting to. You can already see some of this being built into software. A lot of software today is trying to identify things like the next best action. You know, the typical advisor will walk in in the morning and they have 20 tasks on their to-do list. Maybe they won't get to number 20. Which one should they start with, right?
[Joel] If you have 20 of 'em and one is maybe on the calendar, the first one that you should look at, that may not be the most impactful one. What's gonna really have an impact on your business?
[Joel] Again, I think we're gonna have a lot more automating of things like the estate planning process, risk review and all of that. And like I said, there's a couple of firms already that are using AI in those areas, to help guide the process and the conversation with the clients.
[Travis] Yeah. So, how can a financial professional evaluate the technology they're using? Like what question should they be asking?
[Joel] Well honestly, the problem is a lot of 'em just aren't qualified to do it. But, you know, you have to perform due diligence, right? And I think a good place to start is our T3/Inside Information tech survey, which is free. You can go to my website and download it today, t3techhub.com.
[Joel] Sorry, t3technologyhub.com. And, it lists, like I said, hundreds of products. It gives you their market share and it also gives you a user-satisfaction ranking. So it tells you what other advisors that look like you are currently using, and it tells you how happy they are with it. You need to ask for their site or documentation, right? That's now required. And you need to examine the math behind their recommendations. That's also required by most regulatory organizations. And you know, again, quite frankly, most advisors are not doing these things today.
[Travis] Yeah. So in terms of what's coming down the pike next in fintech, you mentioned it just briefly about blockchain, machine learning, artificial intelligence. Can you talk a little bit more about that?
[Joel] So blockchain's pretty interesting. I think a few things. A lot of people were excited about it a few years ago. Most advisors, and I think the general public, when they think about blockchain, thinks about Bitcoin, and other similar tokens. You know, for regulatory reasons, it's had a tough time in the advisor space getting traction, right? It's not easily investible for a lot of advisor clients right now. And I think there's still a lot of back and forth, with the SEC and others, trying to find things that make it easier for advisors to have their custodian custody blockchain, sorry Bitcoin, on the behalf of their clients. There's definitely a lot of blockchain initiatives in other parts of the world, that are not anything related to Bitcoin. And I think there are some obvious use cases in the United States as well. And again, I think a lot of the hang up has been on the regulatory side, where, until it's really clear what the regulators are gonna allow and what they're not gonna allow, the investment has slowed somewhat. And you know, I think that almost every major financial institution still has some kind of blockchain projects going on. I think we're in the early first inning, as far as AI's movement into our space. A lot of people are playing around with it, but some of the places you're seeing it, and I can name a few places, FP Alpha is a software company that I wouldn't call financial planning software per se, but it helps with financial planning. Today, you can upload an estate plan and it'll give you a summary of the estate plan, with all of the pertinent things you should be thinking about. And even make some suggestions about what might be appropriate tools to enhance the estate plan. It can also read estate sorry, insurance documents and analyze what the coverages are in an executive summary. And these are things that, in a complex estate plan, might take 10 or more hours for an advisor to do. And that can do it literally in a couple of minutes. You know, there's a number of vendors that are using AI in the lead gen space. So, let's say you have a whole bunch of leads. It can basically go out to the internet and analyze who those prospects are, and help you prioritize which prospects you should be reaching out to first.
[Travis] Oh wow.
[Joel] Next best action in CRM is another obvious one, right? You have a bunch of things you need to do today. Which one should I do first? Which one's second? What's gonna gimme the most bang for my buck and my time? Some of the software is also trying to, on the negative side of things, trying to analyze of your book of business, which client is most likely to leave you next and -
[Travis] Oh wow.
[Joel] And give you some actions you may be able to take to proactively reach out to those clients before they leave. So, those are just a couple of examples.
[Travis] No, that sounds like really cool stuff. I mean, we've come a long way. So, when you started, you were telling financial professionals, hey, they needed an email and a website. It's kind of wild to think that there was actually pushback on that recommendation. What technologies do you see as emerging now, that will be expected in the future?
[Joel] Yeah, well I think we just talked about some of it, but not really the way it's going to evolve. So, you know, the things I just mentioned, AI, big data, and cyber, to my mind are all to some extent interconnected into the advisory practice of the future. So, AI is really useless without data, right?
[Joel] And so first you need the data. And the problem advisory firms have today is their data is not centralized in one place and it's not standardized. They have some of the data in their CRM, some of it in their financial planning software. Some of it may reside in a lead gen platform. Some of it may reside in their investment tools. And they don't always talk to each other. And if they do, the integrations are limited for the purposes I see them needing to be integrated in in the future. So what you're already seeing at the largest RIA firms in the country is they're actually creating their own data warehouses. Once you have your own data warehouse and the data's standardized, then you can lay your business intelligence and artificial intelligence on top of that, right?
[Joel] And if you do that, now you are responsible much more than you were before for more PII, personally identifiable information.
[Joel] So, the cyber risk goes up, so you're going to need to be even more diligent and vigilant when it comes to cyber. And so, you know, the office of the future is gonna need to figure all of these three out. And like I said, there's really only a handful of the largest firms in the industry that are doing this today. But I think almost all firms that have the scale to do it, which will be, you know, firms that have at least a few billion dollars in AUM, will be doing this in the future. And the cost of this is, to do it is already declining.
[Travis] So if a financial professional is listening to this conversation and we believe millions will be.
[Joel] We hope so.
[Travis] Yeah, and they're thinking, man, I'm gonna need to overhaul my entire fintech strategy, what are a few things they could do today?
[Joel] Well, I mean I think there's a number of things. Like I said, the first thing is, if you don't know anything about this, download our free survey. We're conducting the next one right now. The results of that'll be released in January at the T3 Conference. I think, you need to get familiar, you need to have at least one person who's really monitoring what's going on in this field, at your firm. And, I think it needs to be an elevated position. You can't have somebody young who's got no pull in the firm doing this. You need to have somebody who the leaders of the firm are gonna listen to. And I think it needs to be something that's reviewed on a regular basis. If you've never been, I would strongly suggest you come to the T3 Conference, January 22nd through 25th, in Las Vegas. t3conferences.com to sign up. You'll get, really, an education, three days or four days on everything that's going on. And that's coming down the pike.
[Joel] Because really, you don't need to just generate, you know think about where the puck is today, you need to think about where it's going.
[Joel] And I'm telling you where it's going. And most people are not even thinking about that today. Right?
And the few that are, are the ones that are gonna be the leaders in the industry. And I just think you need to educate yourself and you need to have
every firm, hopefully, has a business plan. Right? Most firms have a marketing plan.
[Joel] Almost no firms in the industry have an annual technology plan and a technology budget.
[Joel] You need a technology plan and you need a technology budget. 'Cause if you're doing everything ad hoc, you're also gonna struggle.
[Travis] If you're sitting down in a client meeting, like what's a practical use of fintech that a financial professional can sit across from a client and bring that up, and have it be impactful?
Sure. And again, I think, it depends what point in time we're talking about. I think 20 years ago, you know, people sat side by side with a bunch, a stack of papers, maybe a 50
or an 80-page report, that the client didn't understand.
[Travis] Some are still doing that.
[Joel] Hopefully, yeah some are still doing that, but hopefully not too many. So I think today, you know, typically they'll meet in a meeting room, they'll have a big screen. At the least, they'll be displaying a report either in PDF format or in PowerPoint format and going through it with the client. But I do think, for the most part today, a lot of those meetings are still too static and not as robust as they could be.
[Joel] You know what leading-edge advisors are doing is actually planning on the fly with clients, right? If you think about MoneyGuide or other similar products, you can do goal setting in real time with the clients, in MoneyGuide. Are most advisors doing that? No. You know, 20 years ago or 30 years ago, if somebody asked me a question after I had presented a financial planning report, I would have to rerun the numbers, create a new report, and say, I'll get back to you. Right? Today, that's really not necessary if somebody does that and asks you, well, I love what you put out there, but what happens if inflation is 5% instead of the 3% that you're projecting? What would that do to my plan? That's a couple of mouse clicks in real time, if you have the confidence to use the software and do that with the client.
[Joel] The problem is a lot of advisors don't have the confidence, to use the software the way it's designed to be used. So I think it's much better today and a much more digital and interactive experience than it used to be. But are we where we should be? No.
[Travis] I would just wanna learn a couple more things as we're getting you outta here, more on a personal side. What does your ideal day look like in retirement?
[Joel] What does an ideal day look like in retirement? It would probably be waking up as I do now, having a coffee and looking at the ocean, as I do now. And yeah, just taking it easy a little more and having a little more time to spend with family and friends, and a little less time doing podcasts, not that I mind doing podcasts.
[Travis] What's the best thing you have done, or are doing, to make sure that you can achieve that vision for your retirement?
[Joel] I do some planning, like all good planners do. And I'm still trying to make some money, to make sure we have that margin of safety. But yeah, I'm just, I have a plan and I'm working on my plan, like every good planner should be doing for their clients.
[Travis] Absolutely. So, for listeners who have enjoyed today's conversation, where can they find you online?
[Joel] Sure. As I said, t3technologyhub.com and for the conference, t3conferences.com. Our next conference is January 22nd through 25th. It's our 20th year anniversary. We'll be talking about pretty much everything that we talked about on this podcast in depth, from how to pick financial planning software, what will be coming new in financial planning software, CRM, and everything else in 2024 and beyond.
[Travis] Wow, no, that's gonna be tremendous and a great use of anyone's time. So yeah Joel, I thank you for your time today and for educating us on all things fintech.
[Joel] It's been my pleasure. Thank you very much for having me.
[Travis] As we heard from Joel, financial technology is a powerful tool that can help you meet the needs of clients. To be sure, these tools can compliment your work with clients, but they don't replace human connection. Because the need for financial professionals is greater now than ever, for Americans to have a successful retirement. I'm Travis Walker. See you next time.