The robos are coming! The robos are coming!


I just don’t get what all the fuss is about.

Robo outfits are in a different business than financial planners like me. 

Legally we are both registered investment advisors and rely heavily on technology to execute our investment process, but that’s about where the similarity ends. Many (most?) will be out of business in the next few years.

Make no bones about it, we are indeed in entirely different lines of work. Sure, a tech-based operation can crunch some numbers and create some charts and call it a “financial plan,” but real planners provide value in many ways a robo service does not and cannot.   

The financial world is a minefield for consumers. This has created high demand for good financial planners. Social Security is a web of over 2.700 rules. Pension plans continue to disappear. The tax code is a convoluted mess.

The public is being forced to make more decisions about increasingly challenging topics about which they have no training. They are inundated with information from a variety of media with no ability to sift through what is good information or what is actually relevant to them.

Compare the services provided by a good financial planner to the offering of robos or other cut-rate providers and it is clear the consumer is not getting the same thing from robos. It is not even close. They're getting a limited version of a small portion of the services a good financial planner provides.

The less people want to be just a number, the more likely they are to want to work with people who genuinely care about them rather than a machine and an 800-number or e-mail address.