How is it that our cars, phones and computers have become so smart, capable of taking on a growing number of functions in our day-to-day lives? Two words—Artificial Intelligence (AI).

We can ask Siri, iPhone’s digital assistant, to order a pizza. Alexa, Amazon’s helpful contender, can create shopping lists and then buy the items with a simple verbal request. Every year, new cars become more and more like computers on wheels.

The creation of machines that can mimic human thinking is impacting more and more aspects of our lives, including investing.

When “robo-advisors” came on the scene ten years ago, there was a lot of discussion in the financial advice community about the future of financial advisors. Would a computer end up making them obsolete?

Now that robos have been around for a decade, let me tell you what I have learned from my own practice.

Robo-advisors, like the system developed by Charles Schwab that we make available to clients, can be a wonderful solution for certain investors. Most people find the idea of planning and investing for retirement quite daunting. The stock market can be inscrutable to the layperson, acting in ways most people can’t be expected to understand. And things are getting more and more complex with the rise of computer-driven trading and new types of investments.

Robo-advisors can be a great—and relatively inexpensive—option for some investors. With the help of AI, investors can set up a balanced portfolio of investments that meets their risk tolerance and other requirements. The robo can take care of rebalancing, which helps the account holder buys low and sells high.

For people just starting out on their wealth building journey, a robo can be just the ticket. Unfortunately, a computer isn’t much help when it comes to getting customized financial advice. That’s the role we fulfill for our clients at RELEVÉ.

When the MacKenzies were trying to understand the options for maximizing their social security benefits and minimizing their tax situation, we created several scenarios for them to consider in making their decision.

When Henry Hamilton suddenly lost his job at age 55, he and his wife needed to completely re-evaluate their situation. This unexpected event had the potential to impact their ability to fund their son’s college education and their own retirement plans. RELEVÉ clients know that when they face changes in their financial circumstances, they can turn to their human advisor for advice and counsel.

These are the kinds of situations when seasoned, “human” financial advisors can prove their worth. Artificial Intelligence cannot help clients sort through tough problems or provide long-range planning solutions. Only a human advisor can offer the kind of expertise and emotional support that clients often need. Even the most intelligent robo-advisor cannot actively support investors as they work through the many twists and turns of their financial journeys—at least not yet!

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