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Online Financial Advisor

Can The Latest Financial Services Industry Trend Improve Worker Retirement Savings?


Some of the hottest news around these days involves the financial and retirement advisory services industry. First there was the Great Recession of 2008 highlighting the vulnerability of the most popular ways of saving for retirement—employer-sponsored 401(k) style plans and Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs). Second, the gazillion published articles about the dismal level of retirement savings among Americans. Third, came the solutions to address a system that is somewhat exclusive, expensive, and difficult to navigate. These solutions include:
  • legislation to expand plan access,
  • legal and regulatory challenges to high plan fees and self-serving advisor behavior, and
  • technological innovation to make investing easier and more affordable
I welcome the continued legislative and legal battles in financial and retirement advisory services; especially if they result in more worker-friendly outcomes. But this latest trend of competitive online financial advisory services as a way to give individuals more low-cost saving options is a lot more exciting to me than the legislative and legal disputes over access and costs.

What Is An Online Financial Advisor?

If you are not into tech and don’t read any financial news, you probably never heard of online financial advisors or robo-advisors. They have been around for years but about eight years ago the concept started to really take off when new tech savvy start-ups updated their look and their services. The simplest way to describe these entities is to say that they are companies using computer portals to deliver financial advice and investment services.
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