The Burro Beer Server

Fresh off of a retirement planning software conference with many of my Meridian friends, the topic of technology use within Meridian is still very front-of-mind. Honestly, this was my very first “official” business conference since helping to start Meridian, and it was a lot of fun. However, I also learned a lot about our business and different ways that other planners and advisors are running their practices.

Additionally, it was refreshing to learn that we are already doing many of the things that the speakers and presenters suggested we do. Because the company running the conference was a software company, the overarching theme was to embrace technology. That may seem obvious in many different settings in life and in business, but I was surprised to hear how many people were resisting that sentiment. I heard a few dismissive comments along the lines of, “that really won’t help me,” or “that’s really not worth my time to learn about.”

Certainly, not all technologies are worth adopting for every single practice or person, but most come with a pretty compelling value proposition. For me and my team, the real problem might be that there are too many great programs out there, and it can be tough to choose! It is not an easy thing to measure whether a particular piece of software (or gadget) is worth making the time investment, the money investment, and sometimes the further investment in human capital (hiring more people).

One presenter mentioned that his staff is always terrified when he returns from these types of conferences, because they know he will be asking them to try some new software or some new method of client interaction. There are definitely a lot of “shiny new toys” (to borrow his phrase) out there that are tempting, but cannot always justify the money or the effort.

After hearing all of the presentations on many different subjects, the conclusion that I came to was to pick the technologies that you suspect (or expect) to help you the most and adopt them fully. Failing to do so will bring a much higher likelihood that the investment will become a waste. And, frustration will set in, which further reduces use of the “shiny new toy.” And the toy quickly loses its luster. Then, you end up with something that is doing the exact opposite of what you wanted the software to do in the first place; make things easier and more efficient!

Coincidentally, the big celebration dinner/party was an Old West theme that went pretty far back before the time of retirement planning software. The most interesting part of the evening was the presence of a burro (small donkey) whose saddlebags were full of cold beer! Best technological advancement ever! As you can see here, I practice what I preach and adopted it fully!

“No, I am not trying to feed the burro my drink.”

Categories : Financial Planning

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