However, having said that, I know that tech has made most of our lives much easier. I don’t want to go back to rotary phones and dial up internet, and my smartphone – when it actually works – is a huge help for both my business and social life.
For equity release, technology has been a slow burner. I feel like because our clients are on the older side – the average customer age is still north of 70 – diving head first into tech has never been seen as a priority.
But maybe now is the time? After all, today’s 70-year-old is far more adept than their parents were with modern technology, and most seem to be on Facebook more than the younger generation nowadays. Apparently the young ones are on something called TikTok?
More developments are needed
There have been some huge strides in tech in recent times within our sector, and more of these developments are needed. For instance, the real time customer search engine function – a first for the industry – is exactly what the more technologically savvy customer will be wanting, and indeed expecting, in the very near future.
What’s more some data shows that although the average customer may still be around 70, a younger crop of customers are arriving.
According to Q3 data from an industry participant, customers aged 55 – 59 actually outweighed those from the 75 – 79 bracket – 13 per cent for the younger bracket versus just 11 per cent for the older cohort. This suggests that there is a growing crop of more youthful customers looking at equity release, and it’s likely that this group will be even more technically adept than the older generation.
What this technological revolution should look like, I’m unsure. As I said, myself and technology do not seem to go together. But one thing I think that could be extended and widened, where appropriate, is online advice.
Retaining the best of both worlds
The pandemic has meant many advisers have embraced the wonders of Zoom and Teams meetings – but I don’t think this should only be a Covid practice. A mix of live and online sessions will diversify the skills of advisers while also allowing them to see more clients and deliver more expert advice.
Ultimately, equity release is going to be a major part of retirement finance for years to come. So, with this in mind, we need to be able to update, improve and adapt our market to keep up with the needs and wants of our customers – and technology will be a major part of this.
Tomorrow’s 55 year old could well be a TikTok superstar, so let’s make sure they can have the bang up to date tech and solutions that they will have come to expect from all other industries.