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Back in 1987, I had to take a computer programming class in college. A big part of the curriculum was coding in Pascal on our school’s mainframe in the “lab.” Needless to say, going to school in San Diego and being 15 minutes away from the beach did not sync well with spending hours in the business department’s basement. So I plugged my Macintosh SE into a modem, connected to the school’s mainframe and coded away overlooking the pool from our condo…not quite the beach but better than the basement!
 
Fast forward to 1993… Having experienced the flexibility of working remotely, I installed remote access technology for a Silicon Valley consulting firm I worked for years ago. One of our consultants, Rita, lived 45 minutes away from the office on a good day and 90 minutes on a bad day. Working remotely in the morning gave her time to let traffic subside and spend time with her newborn. Remote access technology gave Rita an extra hour EVERY DAY with her family. That’s the true power of technology — how it can impact the human experience.
 
These two stories illustrate how technology can enhance both our personal and working lives. blog93_2To help you visualize what your office might look like in the future, we’ve invited Fidelity to bring their Office of the Future to our National Education Conference (www.2015nec.com). This conceptual office is a working “lab” that allows Fidelity and partners like Loring Ward to explore how the future of the advisor-client relationship could be enhanced through new technologies. Members of the Fidelity team will be on hand with working demos of some of the latest technologies that we might use in the not-too-distant future
 
We’ll also have technology deep-dive sessions in our Applied Sessions with Fidelity, MoneyGuidePro and Redtail.
 
As you’re evaluating various technology solutions, here are a few areas we’d suggest you focus on:
 
1. Accessibility and Availability: Many studies have cited accessibility and responsiveness as critical service areas. In what ways can you make yourself available to clients in an increasingly 24/7 world? How can you provide them with information in real-time through the “right” medium — email, phone, video conference, text or social media? How can they easily “check-in” and see what the latest correction means to their long-term goals?
 
Many advisors have started using MoneyGuidePro’s SmartPortal with Yodlee’s aggregation service to show their clients a complete financial picture. MoneyGuidePro and Tim Wochok will be showcasing some of these ideas at an Applied Session and within the Collaboration Lab at NEC.
 
2. Clarity and Relevance: While education is a key part of the advisor-client relationship, it doesn’t provide the “what does it mean for me.” How can you illustrate the global equity market’s impact on your clients’ goals? How do you show which controllable factors can have the greatest impact on their financial situation? Do you have a way to address their concerns in different scenarios?
 
MoneyGuidePro is a key enabler to provide that clarity and is available 24/7. And tracking your clients’ preferences and concerns in Redtail CRM will ensure you are adequately prepared to proactively reach out to the right mix of clients when the next bear comes roaring, or when tax policies change.
 
3. Trust and Connection: Face-to-face meetings are important in building trust and reassurance. According to DFA’s 2015 research, we know that in-person meetings are important across all ages — even millennials. When asked, “Ideally, how would you like to meet with your advisor?” here was the response:
**DFA Primary Research with Julia Littlechild
**DFA Primary Research with Julia Littlechild

However, connecting with clients remotely as if you were in a face-to-face meeting is also important. How can you create a “virtual meeting” using video conferencing? How can you create a virtual conference room with your expert team? And finally, how can you let your firm’s personality come through via social media or other avenues to build stronger personal connections with clients?
 
Like everything else we advocate, when you’re thinking about where or whether to invest in the latest technology, always start with your clients. It’s not just about face-to-face meetings OR technology — it’s about how both come together to create a more compelling and differentiated wealth experience.
 
IMPORTANT: The projections or other information generated by MoneyGuidePro’s Financial Goal Plan tool regarding the likelihood of various investment outcomes are hypothetical in nature, do not reflect actual investment results and are not guarantees of future results. Results may vary with each use and over time.
 
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