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Can The Internet Really Replace Your Financial Advisor?

While I agree that many financial products will now and forever be available for purchase via the web, don't be surprised when many of those plans are eventually replaced with a more viable plan offered by a qualified and educated financial planner.

Recently, there has been some speculation that, like many other industries that have all but succumbed to alternatives available online (movie rentals, travel agencies, and film developing), the financial planner and life agent will eventually disappear, too. I get it. I do understand why you might think the way you do. However, I would say, "Not so fast, Mr. Millennial."

While I must acknowledge that many people are already purchasing financial products, including life insurance and investments over the Internet, web-based programs are just simply not capable of providing a complete, accurate, and detailed analysis, that one should have prior to making important financial decisions. Financial decisions that go beyond some software program in order to thoroughly understand a person's or their family's real financial whereabouts, future needs and or goals required to do the job adequately.

Let's at least try to be honest; it is the ability to effectively design a viable financial plan that makes up the primary reason most advisors are considered "salespeople" and not professionals. It's why only a few agents will survive more than two years in the industry. However, to be clear: "Fully grasping" their own financial plan is something every consumer deserves or needs to make the right decisions and one they are entitled too, which includes (but is not limited to), the knowledge of the real impact of owing even "the wrong" life insurance plan. Yes, I said "the wrong" life insurance plan. There is a substantial difference between a "good" term life plan and a "poor" one, just as there is between the right "type" of a life policy or having purchased the wrong one, simply because it was promoted as a cheaper plan.

Consumers should strive for an understanding of how each financial instrument (401-K, IRA, Life Insurance, etc.) works. Insight on how or if the IRS will ultimately play a role in their financial outcome, details on the "risk vs. the rewards." Consumers do need to be able discuss all of these components with a real-life and a qualified professional.

When a client purchases a product over the web, the question is: Who will explain how fees and expenses can affect their account values? Will anyone actually read the disclaimers (other than the attorney who wrote them) when the computer says "Check this box to agree to the terms and conditions"? Will anyone be available to adequately explain the features and benefits of even a simple term life policy (and there is a tremendous difference.)

These factors, along with many other components, will always require the assistance of a qualified financial professional. Sorry, I just cannot see every person out there attempting to resolve all their issues via some millennial created software or you tube program. And, then one that frequently has to work out the bugs sometimes long after it has already been used (that can be scary). Imagine, if after your plan has already been implemented the computer shouted, "Oops-- There is a System malfunction," and it had occurred while this software had already designed your life's plan? It's purely UNACCEPTABLE! You see, NO software program I'm aware of can look in the eyes of your clients to understand their emotional picture like a qualified professional from across the kitchen table or in their office. Unfortunately,, there is no doubt in my mind that many companies operating on the Internet will exclusively continue to sell millions, if not billions of dollars of financial products promoting the simplicity of the planning process.

However, simplicity is far from the process of real financial planning. From "term to perm," from tax-deferred to tax-free, from cheap insurance to a valuable commodity, even just buying the right kind of life insurance can be far from an easy process.

So, once again, just to be clear, I do agree - that many financial products will, from here on in be purchased over the web. However, don't be surprised when many of these plans are eventually replaced, with changes made by capable, qualified and educated financial professionals. Also, please keep in mind that I am referring to Qualified, Knowledgeable advisors, not some "sleazeball" just looking to maximize their commission.

Finally, allow me to point out can often employ the assistance of a financial professional (like yours truly) without any out-of-pocket fees or expenses. That alone can be worth its weight in GOLD. For more information or the opportunity to chat about your situation, feel free to reach out to me at 1-877-529-6543


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