How Will Digital Communications Help?

The following three items are submitted for your consideration on their connectedness.

Interest In Investing Is On A Decline

While researching online last week, I came across this chart, the Google Investing Index. The index tracks queries related to investing terms (stock, gold, fidelity, oil are four of the top terms). There’s been a lot written about the disappearing act of the retail investor and here’s some more evidence. Does the trend of this line suggest a growth business to you?

Less Wealth Means Less Work For Investment Professionals

“Think you'll have a job in the financial industry in 15 to 20 years?” That was a question posed in the Mutual Fund Wholesaler LinkedIn Group by Dan M., identified as a Retirement/Healthcare Funding Specialist. Dan posted a link to an article (written by him, I suspect) about how health care has the potential to shrink the financial industry.

The premise of this post is that the retirement planning industry needs to “take a real hard look at what retirees will really face, high costs of their health care, instead of just planning for simple bills, like cable & what a bag of peas will cost in the year 2047.”

Today, according to a National Bureau of Economic Research  quoted in the article, half of Americans die with almost no money.

Wealth is lost in retirement and the cost of health care is to blame, says writer Dan McGrath, Director of Healthcare Funding Strategies for HealthView Services. For as long as the cost of health care consumes retirees’ wealth, McGrath reasons, there will be no wealth to transfer to the next generation.

That would be a problem for the investment industry. "If close to half of the retirees wind up ‘broke,’ then $15 trillion in assets won’t transfer to the next generation or at least a good chunk of it won’t, and this will most likely lead to a business model that becomes somewhat broken,” he writes.

Plus—taking a quick time-out from the self-interest of those of us who work in the investment industry—a focus on helping people plan better should lead to more comfortable sunset years for them.

Investors Have A Weak Grasp of Basic Concepts

Finally, with zero hoopla and on August 30 (the Thursday before the long Labor Day weekend), the SEC released a study on financial literacy. You can read this report by its cover (see image at right). It’s written like a term paper—182 pages of narrative and 770 footnotes. But investment marketers and others in the industry might want to plow in and consider this report’s findings, and others' recommendations, for making investing more understandable and safer.

Interest in investing today is in a decline, the country’s largest generation of investors is heading into a retirement funding challenge and the SEC is reporting that investors of all ages “have a weak grasp of elementary financial concepts and lack critical knowledge of ways to avoid investment fraud.”

We need to communicate better, and you the digital marketer have a unique contribution to make. More than any other method—maybe even more than interpersonal—digital communications have the potential to be the most effective in substantively addressing the work that's implied by all of the above.

Digital comes with lots of distractions. Make sure you’re working on what's important.