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Will technology affect your retirement planning?

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From helping around the house to staying connected and about everything in between, technology is embedded in life like never before. As it continues to evolve, how can it help you plan for retirement? Discovering how other people are using technology could give you ideas for how to do the same.

A recent survey conducted for Athene by Forbes polled 1,000 people living in the U.S. aged 45 years or older. Survey participants were currently retired or nearing retirement, and the goal was to understand how they viewed planning for retirement. Three key concerns emerged among respondents, and over half (54 percent) agreed they’re generally cautious with their finances, prioritizing safety over growth potential.

54% of survey respondents prioritize safety over potential benefits.

Addressing three aspects of retirement

Protecting their money isn’t all people are thinking about. When survey respondents were asked to select one or more of the most important aspects of retirement, three rose to the top. 

71 percent Monthly retirement income,51 percent Health care & medical expenses,47 percent Investment & asset management

Over 70 percent of respondents identified that having a monthly retirement income was most important to them. More than half (51 percent) of respondents expressed concerns about health care and medical expenses. How to manage investments for long-term financial security rounded out the top three.

With financial stability as a top concern, how are people finding the information they need to plan their retirements? There are many ways and places to find it, and technology-based tools are among the options. How successful are these educational formats in enhancing your financial knowledge?

  • Personal consultations with a financial professional
  • In-person financial workshops or seminars
  • Online platforms
  • Podcasts and videos

Sixty-four percent of survey respondents believe personal consultations with a financial professional are highly successful, which suggests that people still value traditional, face-to-face interactions. Far fewer respondents (26 percent) ranked in-person financial workshops or seminars as successful, but these tools were also the most unfamiliar ones. Respondents felt that online financial planning tools (39 percent), online publications (36 percent) and online financial courses and webinars (28 percent) were moderately successful. Despite their popularity, only 25 percent of respondents found podcasts and videos to be extremely or very successful.

How is technology playing a role in retirement?

About 9 in 10 (89 percent) of respondents believe technology can play a significant role in improving retirement planning. A few common themes stood out:

  • Security and privacy. Overall, 47 percent of respondents noted they’re worried about the safety and privacy of their personal and financial information. Among respondents, 71 percent are concerned about their information being sold or shared without their knowledge or consent, and 70 percent worry about protecting their passwords. Tech tools with security features to protect personal and financial information can help provide a sense of security during retirement.
  • Planning. Retirement calculators can help you understand how long your retirement savings could last. Among survey participants, 35 percent report they’re currently using retirement calculators, and an additional 24 percent say they’ll want to use them in the future. Some use online banking platforms and account management tools to help stay on budget or manage their financial accounts.

While most respondents have positive impressions of technology, 29 percent worry that relying too heavily on technology in retirement planning may neglect personal oversight.

In addition to financial management, respondents aimed to use technology for exploring retirement lifestyle and travel options, staying socially connected, and prioritizing their health.

  • Travel planning. Retirement may be your golden opportunity to explore new destinations. Travel websites and apps can help you plan your adventures, book travel arrangements, find the best deals and discover exciting places to visit.
  • Health and wellness. People close to or in retirement are also integrating technology for their health care and one-to-one meetings. Among respondents, 51 percent use telehealth services and 48 percent now use video conferences. There are plenty of other tools, from fitness trackers to meditation apps, that can help you prioritize your health during retirement.
  • Social connections. Some people may find it hard to stay connected after retirement. With messaging apps, video calls and social media, there are ways technology can help you stay close to family and friends.
  • Lifestyle. Whether you’re looking for ideas on where to retire or how to spend your time, there’s technology to help. Online platforms can help you find good retirement locations, ideas for staying active and ways to get involved in your community. If learning is your passion, accessing online courses, webinars and educational platforms can help you pursue new interests in retirement.     

Financial professionals — an important role in retirement planning

According to poll results, financial decisions are most influenced by a person’s income, risk tolerance, life goals and aspirations. While technology considers some factors, financial professionals have qualities that technology lacks, like picking up subtle nuances in conversations and building personal relationships. 

Overall, poll results clearly indicate that respondents value the help of a financial professional when it comes to planning their retirement. According to results, 64 percent of respondents believe personal consultations with a financial professional are highly effective in helping enhance their financial knowledge, and over half are very satisfied with the communication they have with their financial professionals. 

Preferred communication methods with financial professionals

56%   Phone calls     53%   In-person meetings      47%   Email

Communicating with financial professionals

Respondents have different communication preferences when interacting with financial professionals, ranging from direct, personal interactions like phone calls or in-person meetings to less direct contact through email. It’s important for financial professionals to communicate in a variety of ways that cater to their clients’ needs and comfort levels with direct interactions.

Survey participants also provided insights into their interactions with financial professionals. Most respondents rated financial professionals’ trustworthiness and integrity, as well as financial knowledge and expertise, overwhelmingly positively (90 percent and 89 percent respectively). In addition, respondents gave financial professionals more positive marks, rating them as excellent for:

  • Clarity of communication: 47 percent
  • Availability and responsiveness: 51 percent

The bottom line: clear communication and trust are important in financial planning services.

Your takeaways

Overall, people nearing retirement and retirees surveyed are using technology in various ways for their retirement planning, including helping:

  • Estimate how long their retirement could last
  • Plan where to retire and what to do
  • Stay connected to friends and family
  • Take care of their health

Both technology and working with a financial professional have benefits in retirement planning. Experimenting to find the right mix of tools and personal consultations that work for you could help you enjoy a remarkable retirement.

Want the most from your retirement? Get smarter with Smart Strategies from Athene. Your source for tips, tools and financial solutions that can help you live your best life.

Methodology: Forbes Insights surveyed 1,001 U.S.-based respondents aged 45 or older who were retired (46%) or were nearing retirement (54%). The poll was conducted from October 27 to November 16, 2023.