With the ever-increasing breadth of information available online with each passing year, consumers have more and more information at their fingertips – accessible with a smartphone or tablet! – and problems that once required paid experts for solutions can now be resolved with a quick Google search.
Yet while the power of internet searches can solve more and more complicated problems, when it comes to the real-world challenges of our financial lives, we hit a wall; some problems are just too complex to be solved with information alone, and still require the guidance of an expert to navigate. Of course, real world financial planning problems can be so complex, the financial planner can’t and won’t likely have all the answers, either. There is too much uncertainty for a known outcome, too many what-if scenarios to consider, and ultimately most people face practical constraints on their resources that require them to choose from the available trade-offs; there are no “right” choices, just paths to consider and consequences to weigh.
Which means in the end, the highest and best purpose of financial planners may not simply be to consult with and answer complicated questions, but to actually work collaboratively with clients utilizing technology to help them simulate the possibilities in real time, choose which goals to pursue, and then leverage the planner’s knowledge and experience to craft a plan to get them there.