By: Jackie Heater
Some of you reading this may not know what I’m talking about but in the 60’s there was a television show called the Beverly Hillbillies. The character Jethro, who wasn’t always the sharpest tool in the shed, always referred to his cousin Elly as a “dumb ole girl”, but in reality, she was much smarter than Jethro. My husband and I had a running joke that when I had an opinion or an idea about something, I would usually precede it with, “I’m just a dumb ole girl, but I think….”.
So, I’m just a dumb ole girl, but I believe technology and the advances that are taking place right now are moving faster than ever before. Everywhere you look, every time you go into a store, it seems something has changed to make your life more efficient or do something faster.
This past Christmas season I went home to visit my parents. I grew up in a small town of about 2000 people, they were having their annual Winterfest that included a lighted Christmas parade. As I was watching the floats and semi’s pass all lit with Christmas lights and blow-up characters I was thinking about the technology involved in making Christmas lights turn on in a vehicle. In the not-so-distant past you had to have an electrical outlet in the wall to plug them into, it was unthinkable that you would be able to put them on a moving vehicle and light them up.
While there, I was visiting with my niece who works for a community college in Illinois, we were discussing the addition of eSports to college campuses. She was talking about how adding it to a major University, like Missouri Western recently did, made sense but she wasn’t sure it made sense on a community college level due to the cost of adding the technology that an eSports program requires. I agreed it didn’t seem like it made a lot of sense, however if the college wanted to stay competitive and continue to attract new students they had to move forward or they would quickly be left behind. That same weekend I went to church with my parents, we found out that the minister and his entire family was sick. Instead of scrambling at the last minute to find someone to fill in he was able to record his sermon and they played it on the big screen as if he was right in the building. My first thought was, “Isn’t it great the church has the technology to do this?”
Tech Affects Everyday Life
Technology affects us every day whether we like it or not. We have smart cars, smart phones, smart watches and smart homes. You can control your lights, thermostat, TV, alarms systems all from your phone or tablet. Fewer and fewer read an actual print newspaper, most want to read it online and if there is breaking news, we want instant knowledge, so we go to social media for the news.
We no longer rush through dinner so we can watch the 6:00 news to catch up on the events of the day. Radio and TV stations stream live so you can watch your local and world news on the go.
A few months ago, before he passed away, my husband and I were discussing local news outlets and the way it would be disseminated to viewers. I told him that I felt there would always be a need for local news because people want to know what’s going on in their community, what will change because of technology is how they get their news, the fact is it has already changed.
These modern innovations have transformed the world, and the relationship between technology and financial planning is no exception.
Technology and Financial Planning
At Gertsema Wealth Advisors, just in the past year we’ve seen changes to the technology we are using, and it keeps getting better. The tools we have available allow us to show clients in real-time different scenarios to help them plan for retirement and continue to plan during retirement.
Can you imagine sitting at the table with your spouse, scrolling through your tablet or phone and you see an ad about a hot vacation spot you’ve always wanted to go to or that dream home pops up for sale?
You start to talk about the “what ifs”. What if we take some money from our savings and buy our dream home? How will that affect our retirement? Or do you think we could take that dream vacation and maybe take the kids and grandkids along?
Now as your advisors, we can use technology to show you in real-time how those “what ifs” may affect your hard-earned nest egg. In the past, you might have to meet with your financial advisor several times to adjust your financial plan in various ways to see the outcome.
Technology Enhances Advice
There are other things that we can look at as well. While we all have a goal of leaving an inheritance to our children, have you thought about the implications of that inheritance such as estate taxes? We can collaborate with your CPA and using our technology look at different strategies to help you increase the amount you leave your heirs and cut the taxes they will have to pay.
Maybe paying off your mortgage early makes sense, or you might still be paying off some student loans, could a Roth conversion make sense for you? Technology has helped us realize that while they are an important component, it’s not just about the investments – it’s about the advice.
Sometimes change is hard and especially for those of us in the older generation, we don’t want to learn how to use something new and that’s ok, but we should be willing to embrace the technology that’s around us and let someone else show you how it can work for you, that’s what Gertsema Wealth Advisors is all about. I’m just a dumb ole girl… But I think it’s exciting!