AI is on track to ‘democratize financial planning.’ Are investors ready for that?

From creative professions to the tech sector, AI is shaking up industries and daily workflows. And it’s coming for the financial services industry next—whether investors are ready or not.

A new report from Deloitte Center for Financial Services posits that generative AI-enabled applications could become the leading source of advice for retail investors by 2027. It’s already being used by financial companies to power customer-facing chatbots, prevent fraud, and speed up other tasks like coding. But Deloitte’s analysts say it will soon take a much larger role in helping customers fine-tune investment plans.

“Investment advice through gen AI could be easily accessible to investors in the next few years as financial institutions roll out revamped advice engines powered by gen AI,” Deloitte’s report reads. “It is likely that investors will start to expect gen AI-powered investment tools.”

Though Deloitte’s report deems AI-powered financial advice an inevitability, other research finds that many investors themselves aren’t on board—at least not yet. Most Americans report being skeptical of the potential of AI when it comes to their personal finances, according to data released Tuesday from Northwestern Mutual’s 2024 Planning & Progress Study, which surveyed almost 4,600 American adults earlier this year on a variety of financial topics.

That said, there are some early signs of optimism. Perhaps unsurprisingly, younger Americans are less skeptical of using AI to achieve financial goals than older Americans. While only 41% of all adults say they’re excited about the potential of AI in the financial industry, that includes 57% of Gen Zers and 55% of millennials.

Exactly what kind of financial tasks they trust AI to perform is the bigger question, but “helping with a budget” received the largest amount of support from those surveyed, while “creating a retirement plan” received the least. That tracks with how the company envisions AI will start being used in peoples’ finances, says Christian Mitchell, executive vice president and chief customer officer at Northwestern Mutual: by replacing the more mundane tasks of financial planners, like responding to clients or summarizing market trends, allowing them more time to focus on clients.

Consumers are right to be wary. While the potential of AI is extolled by industry players and many companies are pushing full-steam ahead with incorporating the technology into their products, there are still some kinks to work out. And at a basic level, people still want to talk to other people, especially when it comes to their long-term financial goals and the complications and nuances that are inherent to them.

But even in these early stages, the technology “could be a really interesting accountability buddy,” says Mitchell, noting that AI could be used to analyze spending and investing patterns to provide real-time feedback to investors. It could also be used to help clients visualize what their deferred gratification—all that saving in a retirement fund or brokerage account—could get them, like, say, a vacation home.

“Gen AI will be able to render things in real time,” Mitchell says. “It can take something distant and make it feel immediate.” And research has shown this type of visualization helps encourage people save more.

For its part, Northwestern Mutual has already begun incorporating AI into some of its workflows, Mitchell says. It is being used by its engineering teams as well as customer relations representatives to expedite finding policy information.

And Mitchell says human advisors, particularly younger ones, are curious about incorporating AI into their own workflows. While Deloitte’s report notes that the percentage of retail investors using advisors will drop slightly as AI becomes more commonly used, advisors themselves could use it to make time to see additional clients.

That’s how Mitchell foresees AI’s immediate impact in the space: “It will democratize financial planning.”

Learn how to take control of your personal finances with Get Your Due, our six-week email bootcamp. Sign up for free.

Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top