Turning to Technology First, Advisers Second

Since 2010, the use of technology for investment information has risen dramatically, according to a survey by Hearts & Wallets.

The survey findings show a 350% increase in the number of investors watching investment-related videos online and a 300% increase in investors attending Webcasts. Other areas that have seen an increase in investors using technology are assessing potential new providers for their Web sites, reading blogs and traditional media online, subscribing to investment services (such as Morningstar or paid newsletters), and using tools and calculators. 

Hearts & Wallets suggests one reason for the increase may be that technology is supplementing other traditional resources. Investors are using technology for “pre-work” before contacting a financial professional, to check up on their adviser, and to monitor their adviser’s account management.

Despite the vast amount of online resources, one-third of survey participants say they are “very inexperienced” with investing, a 20% increase over last year. 

“This type of mindset has major ramifications for a large part of the U.S. population in how proactive they will be toward saving for retirement as well as implications for the financial industry,” said Chris Brown, Hearts & Wallets Principal. “It is important the industry provide educational programs to build consumer financial confidence and literacy. The survey shows younger investors are almost as risk adverse as pre-retirees, which does not bode well for willingness to invest in 401(k) plans.”