While Americans of all ages say technology is a life necessity, many still prefer to interact with people when dealing with their finances—even Millennials, who have grown up with digital technology, according to a new survey.
A majority of Millennials (75 percent), in fact, are more interested in using professional advisors than computers for advice on complicated financial matters than their counterparts in Generation X (71 percent), the baby boomer generation (71 percent) and consumers 70 years and older (64 percent), according to "Man and Machine," a new study from Charles Schwab.
“We’ve come to accept as fact that Millennials are hyper-focused on using technology and the Internet for all their needs, but it’s clearly more complicated than that,” said Naureen Hassan, Charles Schwab executive vice president and head of Schwab Intelligent Portfolios.
“What we’ve found in this study and in our interactions with investors over the years is that there isn’t a ‘one-size-fits-all’ answer for how people want to invest or manage their money," she said.
The study also found that Generation X is more likely to rely on technology for financial planning and trading than their Millenial counterparts, while more Millenials are actively seeking alternatives to technology, like parental advice, to guide their financial decisions.
Under the categories defined by the study, "mature" consumers are 70 years and older, baby boomers are between 50 and 69, Generation Xers are between 35 and 49, and Millennials are between 15 and 34.
These were among the study's other findings:
• Nine out of 10 Americans view technology as more of a life necessity than a distraction, but people across generations prefer to rely on humans and technology when dealing with daily tasks and managing their money.
• When choosing between a human financial advisor and a computer algorithm for managing their portfolios, 66 percent of respondents said they still prefer the human touch, with Generation X just as likely as Millennials, at 40 percent, to prefer portfolios based on computer algorithms. Robo-advisors are less popular among older consumers, with just 30 percent of baby boomers and 20 percent of mature investors preferring the computer algorithms.
• Consumers with a net worth of more than $1 million are the least likely to prefer automated investing, at 39 percent, or a portfolio based on computer algorithms, at 28 percent.
• Just over half of those surveyed said they preferred to rely on technology to find answers to general problems, while 46 percent say they preferred interactions with people they know or to whom they are referred.
More than 1,800 affluent consumers between the ages of 25 and 75 were surveyed for the study, according to Schwab.