When it comes to managing the portfolios of senior Australians, it can be easy to make assumptions about your clients’ level of technological literacy. What if I told you that this demographic is just as eager as any other to engage with their advisers through technology? Are you meeting your clients’ digital expectations?
Stereotypes of the past have painted the over 65 demographic as one that is resistant to technology uptake, but this narrative does not serve to benefit these Australians who actually express a keen interest in engaging with the digital world. The Australian government’s ‘Be Connected’ program – aimed at developing older Australians’ digital skills was extended at the start of this year for a further three years, evidencing an eagerness among seniors to improve digital literacy. Pre-Covid, National Seniors conducted a study of over 4,500 Australians aged 50+, which revealed that 68 per cent of respondents do not get frustrated using new technology and two thirds of respondents said they do not think technology is exclusive to younger generations. One respondent even commented, “Many of us are beyond good and would rate ourselves as excellent (when using technology day-to-day).”
Seniors have embraced technology to access products and services. The onset of the pandemic last year pushed this along, resulting in a big uptake in the access to remote services including telehealth, grocery contactless delivery, paying bills and online banking. In fact, 29 per cent of seniors aged 70 to 79 reported using the internet for banking once a week. In July 2020, Australian research from the Global Centre for Modern Ageing found that on top of the 43 per cent who already felt confident with technology, 23 per cent of Australians over the age of 60 had used a new technology in the last few months, and more than one in three overall were “more confident” with technology now than they did before Covid. So there’s evidence that senior clients are eager to use technology to access services, including financial services. It’s essential that advisers and accountants alike are doing all they can to meet their senior clients’ financial needs using technology.
A long-term partner of myprosperity is advisory firm Financial Lifestyle Managers (FLM), directed by Louise Parker. With over 20 years in financial planning and experience working with both AMP and Westpac, Louise is passionate about maintaining long-term relationships with her clients. “I have a mostly retired client base and a lot of them are ex-police, so for me to gain their trust makes my life so much easier,” she says. When it comes to managing her senior clients’ portfolios, Louise knows her clients want their information to be secure. “I’ve moved away from email completely. As I’ve said to my clients, everything goes through the chat because if I do it through an email, somebody could be hacked or scammed and their privacy is gone. It’s a portal that is as secure as a bank.”
So, how can we support our senior clients in accessing financial services using technology? It begins with meeting clients where they are. A study of senior Australians and their digital behaviours revealed that 57 per cent of Australians aged between 70 and 79 have access to a smartphone. I can also attest to this mobile uptake among senior clients, as we have seen over 1400 downloads of the app by users aged 65 and over. Despite varying levels of tech literacy, Louise is pleased to find all her clients are able to use various portal features and tools, and enjoy the great snapshot of their wealth that the FLM branded app provides.
The goal setting feature is a favourite for Louise’s clients to check in on their financial goals in between review meetings, “Say, they want to go on a holiday or save for a house, they can link their goal to a bank account and track it.” We’ve also seen great uptake of digital docs with over 20,280 digital documents uploaded to the myprosperity client portal and 3,734 docs signed by our users over the age of 65.
Older Australians are avid users of technology and it’s up to their trusted financial advisors and accountants to meet their expectations with digital solutions that engage and enhance their experience. As someone who has used myprosperity for a number of years to elevate her practices, Louise commented on her experience with myprosperity, “It’s made my business so efficient. It pays for itself ten times over. Due to myprosperity, my efficiencies have made FLM one of the most profitable in my licensee.”
Chief Technical Officer at myprosperity
Stephen is the technical leader behind the myprosperity platform. After graduating with a Bachelor of Software Engineering with Honours in Artificial Intelligence, Stephen was development manager at Carsales.com.au for nearly 5 years. With over 10 years of industry experience, Stephen hand-picked the team to build and grow the myprosperity platform.