- 4-Minute Article
- Jun 01, 2017
Why Keeping Up with Tech-Savvy Baby Boomers is a Good Idea
Ways your client relationship could benefit from the advantages technology offers
If you had to guess which age group uses digital technology the least, you’d probably say baby boomers, and you’d be right.1 So it might surprise you to learn that millennials and boomers attach equal importance to digital apps and tools when it comes to managing their retirement savings.2
That's not to say that boomers are turning to digital instead of turning to their advisor. You are still their first choice for financial guidance,3 but they do expect you to be up to speed on the latest technological developments. Research shows that 71% of boomers consider it important for a financial advisor to use modern tools for financial planning.4
We spoke to social trend analyst Kim Lear of Inlay Insights, who frequently works with boomer focus groups, about the reasons behind this emerging digital shift. She explains that the growth in uptake of technology comes down to control and convenience.
"Boomers are using technology to connect because it’s more efficient for their busy schedules. Lots of Boomers are still actively involved in raising their families, while balancing a career. They’re still at work. Others have taken on the responsibility to care for their aging parents or they’re volunteering. They’re busy people and they value tools that make life easier."
So how can you adapt your business to be more relevant to tech savvy boomers?
Research suggests that digitally enabled practices experience better revenue growth, but many financial digital tools are relatively new and adoption by advisors is still quite low.5 Most advisors in the U.S continue to rely on traditional, face-to-face meetings.6
Here are some ways your client relationships could benefit from the advantages technology offers.
1. Use a tablet for your client meetings
At a basic level a tablet keeps you connected to emails and gives you instant access to product information and research, but that’s just a fraction of its potential. You could replace traditional paper processes with an ‘esignature’ solution. Having a secure electronic signature is the future of agile financial advising,7 allowing you to do everything from open accounts to finalizing transactions, all from your mobile device.
Your Boomer clients can benefit from your use of tablet computers in meetings for a few good practical reasons. For example, touchscreen technology is simple and intuitive to use, and the text size can be quickly and easily increased. These are just some of the reasons why gadgets like smart phones and tablets are fast becoming essential daily accessories for Boomers, with use of some form of digital technology approaching 90% among wealthier and better educated individuals.8
2. Meet your clients whenever, wherever
You and your clients are both very busy, so being able to talk whenever you need to and wherever you are is becoming more and more essential. Many of your clients will already be ‘always on’, with the majority of boomers using social networking sites (Facebook is number one)9 and nearly two-thirds owning a smartphone.10
There is a range of options open to you, all of which are standard on most desktop and mobile devices these days. Consider video conferencing, instant messaging, co-browsing (accessing the same webpages at the same time) and chat software, or even texting. You should also look at the potential of social media networks like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook as an increasingly accepted and expected way of building client relationships. Research shows that 80% of advisors who use social media for business say it has gained them new clients.11
3.Understand how your clients research financial information
The internet is the first choice source of information for boomers,12 who spend more time online outside of work than millennials. More than 30% of boomers spend 15 hours or more online a week.13
Original research by Brighthouse Financial found that when it comes to financial products like annuities and life insurance, boomers will only usually carry out online searches when prompted to do so first, for example, by news coverage, changes in the market, a recommendation from a friend, or, most commonly, a conversation with a financial advisor.14 After meeting with a client, consider sending them links to reputable and credible sources. This will not only increase their knowledge of the product categories but will also guide them toward sources that are credible. For example, Brighthousefinancial.com offers category level information for your clients on both life insurance and annuities.
A final point to consider is, of course, that one day most everyone will be tech-savvy. The leading edge of the generation which gave rise to the digital revolution - those born between the early 1960s and early 1980s - is fast approaching retirement age. There’s no better time to futureproof your business than now.