With apologies in advance to Ray Parker Jr, I bring you the coming hit for the next market turbulence day(s)……

Who You Gonna Call?  (Sung to the melody of the 1984 hit theme song from Ghostbusters)

If there’s something strange in your portfolio
Who you gonna call? (robo-advisors)
If there’s something weird
And it don’t look good
Who you gonna call? (robo-advisors)

I ain’t afraid of no loss
I ain’t afraid of no loss

We live in the Digital Age and technology is in every part of our life.  It has made life simpler and more complex at the same time.

I have been asked by many people what I think about the “Robo-advisor” business model.  My answer is simple.

If changing your behavior was as easy as having the information to know what to do and having an instruction booklet to make it happen, then we could have eliminated the overwhelming obesity problem.  In reality just going to a website and having it tell you to lose weight does not solve the problem.

There are 2,977 books available on Amazon.com for losing weight.  Obviously, there is a problem and yet even with all the literature written about it, obesity is the second leading cause of preventable death according to the National Institute of Health.  An estimated 300,000 deaths per year are due to the obesity epidemic.


The real problem for investors is behavior.  Our poor spending and savings habits, our tendency to chase returns, and our general difficulty in changing those behaviors is the investor’s analogy to the obesity epidemic.  Having a new technology platform with a better asset allocation algorithm misses the point, if you can’t afford to save and invest in the first place, who are you going to call and talk with to stay the course through difficult markets?

We have seen this before

Turbo Tax was supposed to eliminate the role of the CPA.  Do you remember H&R Block’s advertising campaign Second Look® about bring us your self-prepared tax return and let us review it for errors?

We see the same opportunity when we have a new client that has been a tax do-it-yourselfer.  Many times after a review of the tax return we find errors that can be corrected and reduce the tax liability.  (Biggest misses are the Education Credit and the Tax Benefit for the Graduate Student)

The claim of what TurboTax would do to the world of tax preparers is analogous to what the robo-advisors claim they can do to the world of financial advisors.

The Human Reality

Investing and financial planning is personal.  It is more about your personal individual circumstances and is far more about changing behavior than executing paperwork. A robo-advisor is like skipping the doctor, self-diagnosing yourself and then treating yourself with low-cost over the counter medication.  It may work, and then again it might not.  Only by getting a proper diagnosis, can you cure the illness or prevent the illness in the future.

Technology that can change your future

Technology can increase your ability to be successful.  Although technology will not replace the role of the financial advisor, it can improve the collection of data and the ongoing monitoring of your financial plan and investments.  Together these can create a more effective implementation and behavior change for your success.

Taking Control of Your Financial Future

Five questions to measure your performance as a Financial Olympian™

  1. I have a personal dashboard that I can see all of my personal financial assets including checking, investments, retirement plans, mortgages and credit cards;
  1. I get a weekly update via email from my dashboard and if applicable can share this information with my spouse or significant other;
  1. I know how much risk I am taking and can quantify this numerically;
  1. I have specific measurable personal financial goals;
  1. I have a financial plan that I can access online and monitor against my personal financial goals.

Score Yourself – 1 point for each yes

5 – Financial Olympian™

4 – Olympic Trials Qualifier – need better coaching

3 – Which Way are you Going?

2 – Out of Excuses

1 or less – Financial Zombie

Now that you have your score let me return to the beginning – Who you gonna call?

Take action today, at Tannery & Company, we provide all of those services to our clients as part of our Financial Olympian™ approach to Wealth Management and Financial Planning.

Give us a call and we can guide you in becoming a Financial Olympian™

Fall is here, time to plant your pansies.


Click here to schedule an appointment? 

Michael Tannery CPA CDFA® AIF® ●  CEO
Registered Principal

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