New School Financial Planning: Are financial planners the therapists of money?
Jason Felger: I want sneakers, Shruti. I want more and more sneakers.
Shruti Joshi: You know what? Hey, that's great. We say spend it on the sneakers, right?
Jason Felger: I assume that I can amass enough to where I can then sell them and retire at some future point.
Shruti Joshi: Sounds like an ambitious plan. I think that-
Jason Felger: I'm sure that's a solid plan.
Shruti Joshi: I like it.
Speaker 3: Welcome to The Jump Off Point, an original podcast by Jump Capital. Today our host, Jason Felger, sits down with Yelena Shkolnik and Shruti Joshi to explore the evolution happening in the financial services industry. Yelena Shkolnik is a partner at Jump and Shruti Joshi is a chief operating officer at Bassett Wealth, a FinTech company improving the lives of Americans by offering impartial and invaluable financial advice and services and in affordable subscription feed. In this episode, they parse through the content tornado swirling around financial planning, the huge seismic shifts taking place, including where the millennials are, the drivers behind them, and if saving for retirement is the end goal, if there are several end goals or if retirement is even an option, listen in.
Jason Felger: One of the first places we wanted to start the conversation, certainly it's top of mind for us and I've heard you talk about this before, is these big, big seismic shifts. One is this really huge movement of wealth that's happening and will continue to happen, that generational wealth transfer, to use the headline term, but also just this really meaningful difference in what is retirement and do people retire? Will this next generation or generations retire? Maybe that's just a good place to start the conversation.
Shruti Joshi: Yeah, there are definitely many different shifts that are happening. The ones that you talked about are significant. They're also ones around how money is now a tool to express personal identity and people's value systems. So if you think about social responsible investing and SRI, there's just this massive shift that really the millennials have driven around how they use money as a tool to live. I think with the wealth transfer and just the innovations that have come into market in the FinTech space, everything is up for grabs. There's a period of everything being redefined, which is so exciting to be a part of and observe.
Yelena Shkolnik: I remember you saying something like the financial planners are often therapists with calculators. I thought that was such a great phrase, but let's go into that a little more. Is the role of a financial guide different now because of how they're ingrained in people's lives? Is that different now?
Shruti Joshi: Yeah, I think that there's a different expectation we think consumers have to have. The financial planning industry, that part of the financial services landscape has been around since the late'60s, early'70s. It really oriented around retirement planning and around investing your money. That's where the percentage of AUM business model was born. I think what you have now are consumers that one, have taken investing into their own hands as a result of a lot of tools that are available out in the marketplace and just content and education and literacy around finance. There is a content tornado around money and investments and FinTech products. So I think what you have is more awareness about these business models and how these companies are incentivized. As a result, you have consumers that are starting to get much smarter about what they need, what they recognize money really means in their lives. I think there is this massive shift that we're seeing as a result of a lot of that.
Jason Felger: I have a terminology question these days. When I was coming out of undergrad, if you said financial planning, I thought retirement planning. If you pointed me towards my banking relationship, I thought, " Well, that's how I manage my inflows and outflows," more outflows than inflows, but those were my simple ways to think about all of this, and clearly that has changed. It changed because of technology, because of generational preferences. Even still to this day, I find myself thinking, " Well, am I thinking about in the world of investment management and retirement management and financial planning?" Maybe just to set the baseline for the rest of the conversation, how do you think about these different things or do you have some other way of thinking about it where it rolls them all up into one effectively?
Shruti Joshi: If you take a giant step back and you think about what people are really looking for, and I think it goes to at least a facet the way we think about our purpose or our mission and it is to enrich everyone's lives beyond expectation. So if that's really what we're trying to do and money is that tool to do it, you have to think about a service that is first and foremost highly personalized, but it's more than goals. I always laugh about the industry'cause every piece of advertising is like, " Goal- based planning, goal- based planning." It's like, " What does that even mean?" It feels like lip service at this point. I think it's more than that. I think it's helping people to uncover their value system and align the way they want to live and the actions and the outcomes to that value system. If you think about financial planning doing that, then it has to be comprehensive. It can't be siloed. I think that's why consumers are also having a really hard time with a lot of these siloed solutions because the onus is on them to connect it. 75% of our clients have never worked with a financial planner. When you talk to them, they're really leaning on us to help make sense of all of that chaos and noise, whether it's an insurance recommendation or, " Do I need an estate plan, and who do I go to for an estate plan?" Really having that consolidated view of their whole life beyond just their finances, what really makes them tick is becoming something we're seeing as required, as necessary, as appreciated. I don't know that because we're really driving a lot of the shift that it's top of mind for consumers because they're conditioned to think about investing, but the minute we talk about the range of questions we answer, people are like, " Whoa, that's exactly what I need." We like to say that every decision is a financial decision, and if you believe that, then imagine all the guidance that you really have across your entire life, things like, "Am I picking the right benefits at work? Do I have the right deductible? Should I have zero withholdings on my taxes, or one?" Or even something as simple as, "Is this the right time to buy a home?" "Is this the right interest rate?" "What should I be asking for?" So we definitely think there's a need for redefinition. We definitely think it has to be much broader and hit everything that money touches in your life.
Yelena Shkolnik: I think this is a really interesting topic. Let's hit it a little bit,'cause we talked a lot about that goal orientation. Hey, maybe it's not you're 65, you walk away from work, you just have a bunch of money to retire on, maybe it's you want a different kind of financial independence early. What does that even mean? I don't know. You want a house, you want to set up your kids, your elderly parents, all sorts of other things. I am interested in maybe the diversity of all of those things. I'd love the way that you described the very different goals of money, how do people infuse that? " Hey, the investments I want to make and the way I want to spend my money, I want that aligned to the values that I hold," and that's not an easy thing to translate like, " How do I know what companies are aligned to the values that I hold, and does that line up with the goals that I have to buy this house and do these things?" How do you manage to blend all of that for people?
Shruti Joshi: First and foremost, this is where there's this beautiful synergy between the best of human and the best of tech. I think bringing those two things together is one way to think about it, because it is very hard for tech to extract what a person's value system is. Sometimes people don't want to go there, they don't want to talk about it. Money is this highly emotionally- charged topic, and if you look at the industry, nobody really wants to go there. It's white hair on a beach walking together. I think for us, it's like how do we make people comfortable talking about what they really want? You can call it values, you can call it goals, call it whatever you want, but it's really helping people to uncover those things. So for us, that first conversation that our CFPs have is oriented around that trust building. You can have two people with the exact same financial profile, but if one person has a lot of childhood baggage around certain things that happened to them that create a different risk profile or a different value system, you're going to have very different advice for those two people; exact same financial data, but that value, that nuance of their psychology would lead a human to give very different advice. So I think it's asking. It's the role that the human and the CFP plays and uncovering that in a very safe way. Then, of course, it's that marriage to the technology to do the things that tech do best. But it's that combination of being intentional about thinking about a person's entire financial life. In some sense, that might be the household. In some cases it's how two people coexist in a home or how they make trade- offs between things that they need to do for their children or themselves if it's a family. I could go offer hours on this, but I really think it's about that psychology extraction and that trust and comfort that we believe the human is best designed to do.
Jason Felger: Shruti, how do you see that change based off the generational definition of folks that you're talking to or does that change? But if you just stick generationally versus you get into millennials in particular, part of our hypothesis and a lot of the things we do in this space is their goals are just different. They're looking for different things out of their money near- term, long- term. So you were talking about how you bring those goals to surface and action them, but do you see that the goals are actually different in and of themselves? They're looking for different things in this part of their life?
Shruti Joshi: There's definitely some generational trends, but actually I think it's more of a psychological profile that I think has emerged or a persona, if you will. We think about these folks as optimizers. There are DIYers, there are people that are really going to bury their head in the sand, and then there is this growth- seeking person that transcends age. They might be a Gen X or they might be a boomer or they might be a millennial, and that type of person is very open to our message. I think there are higher concentrations of them in the millennial space if you even go maybe into younger cohorts. But for the most part, I think it's a mindset of, " How do I live well?" Just look at the self- help industry. It's booming. It's billions and billions of dollars. I don't think that that's just a millennial- led category. I think that there are some generational biases towards a service that helps you live better, but I actually think it's more of a mindset. What we find is that for different age groups, because the industry has programmed them to think about financial planning as investing in retirement, many of them come to us expecting that type of expertise. But when we start to ask a different set of questions that the average planner may not, it unlocks this appreciation for our approach. I think that's where we see millennials really loving the service, Gen Xers really loving the service is that we're understanding of all of the questions they have. The one that permeates these groups is, " Am I doing the right things with my money?" That is the fear they live with, and the solution that they thought they had was calling a cousin or asking a friend or an uncle or going on to Google. I think when they realize, " Wow, there is a service that's going to help me with this full range of questions and help me live better," it's really a message that's resonating, but I do think it's more than millennials. I think it's really a mindset that happens to be in higher concentrations potentially in some of these younger generations.
Yelena Shkolnik: Let's talk about the technology side of this, 'cause I think that is really fascinating. Two generations ago, in order for you to execute a trade, you need a broker, and that's changed. On top of that, there would be these high fees to get into that, brokers wouldn't even talk to you until you were a certain level of activity. Certainly over time, we've chipped away at that and now anyone really, on their own, can put anything that they want and pretty much any account access is pretty much unlimited. There's a lot. What does that do for people,'cause it seems obviously demystifying this whole universe, giving people access creates so much self- empowerment, self- direction, "Hey, I'm going to run with this on my own?" But to some of the stuff that we've talked about here, maybe it's not so easy to take all of your goals and all of your values and then all of these tools that exist, which is amazing, and then put those together into a happy marriage of, as you described, the confidence in knowing I'm doing the right things with my money. So is it actually maybe harder that so much of this stuff exists and it's a little overwhelming? How do you think about that dynamic?
Shruti Joshi: Oh, no. I think that's exactly right. It's almost like there's been this evolution where as soon as there were all of these choices, a subset of Americans definitely started to take matters into their own hands, but I still think it's a minority. There are still so many families that haven't actually taken a step to get the kind of financial help they need. I have to say that there are so many families in this country, in the millennials, in the Gen Xers, if you don't have a certain amount of money, no one's going to help you, and I think that's a huge problem. When the industry is so oriented around this percentage of AUM model, what it does is if you don't pass a certain threshold, you don't think you're not eligible for advice, you're relegated to robos or call centers. I think that there's just this much bigger opportunity around just helping people and connecting the dots between who really needs the service, and who has access to the service.
Yelena Shkolnik: Is there more interest in self- direction? Have we solved financial literacy by giving people-
Shruti Joshi: Yes.
Yelena Shkolnik: ... all ofthis stuff, or are they-
Shruti Joshi: Yes.
Yelena Shkolnik: ... still pretty muchlooking for Sherpas?
Shruti Joshi: There are people that are DIYers. They want to do the self- directed, they have a good idea of what their values are. Those people are going to exist. I think that they have a lot of options and solutions. They're people that really do the research. It's interesting because we know this persona and a lot of them are actually engineers, interestingly enough, people that really want to know how things work, they take time to learn it. But I think there is a way bigger population of people that are so overwhelmed by the content tornado and the chaos of just information overload, not knowing who to trust. There are people on TikTok talking about financial advice that have no business doing it. Then they're hearing about a meme stock on Reddit, and then they're basically hearing about an investment for a friend that they should make. There's just so much noise, and I think a lot of people don't know what to do with it. Historically speaking, they've actually just avoided it. It's just like, " Ooh, it's just easier to not pay attention to this and maybe I follow along, but I don't know who to go to. I'm not going to get the help I need. I am not wealthy, I don't have money to invest. A financial planner won't help me." So I do think that there is a huge population of people that are looking for calm, they're looking for clarity. They're looking for expert guidance, and those are the people that really, really need it. It's about 40 million Americans that fall in what is traditionally called a mass affluent segment, so it's a lot of households. If you bring in the mass and low income who could really benefit from this type of entire life planning, those numbers accelerate even more. It's about 76% of this country that isn't getting the type of financial planning that they really need that could be life changing in how they live.
Jason Felger: Shruti, where do you see opportunities with just the literacy part? I don't know if you feel like this. I think we all do here at Jump. We would like to think we're astute at this stuff and yet, we are overwhelmed with all of it. Even before you get to the, how do we help people with their actual planning? I'm curious to get your just response of the explosion of literacy options and have those been actually helpful or hurtful, particularly in the last call it, five years where you've really seen them proliferate?
Shruti Joshi: Yeah, I think that it's great that there's more conversation around these topics. I think there hasn't ever been this much recognition around the power of being proactive about your finances and knowledge sharing around it. It's just still creating an overwhelming situation to the point that you made. The way we think about content is two- fold. One is, it's about being timely. Let's say you just found out you're going to have a baby, that opens up a world of questions, " Do I need a 529?" And you probably don't even know you need a 529, but you're going to hear about, " What is a 529?" You're probably going to be thinking or maybe you're not thinking, but you might hear from somebody, " Do you have an estate plan? Are you going to stay home or are you going to work? How much parental leave are you going to take?" There are a series of questions that come up, " Are you going to send your child to private school? Are you going to send them to preschool? Are you going to have a nanny?" That involves money. So in that type of a life milestone, imagine if you had an expert guide to provide that to you at that moment in time when it's most needed and then help explain it to you if you have questions around it. It's not about the abundance of content, it's knowing who to trust first and foremost and then getting it at the perfect time. That combination is something that if you can deliver it as a company and wrap it around with somebody that can take it one step further and explain how it matters to you specifically with your personal needs, that's when content becomes incredibly powerful. It's that timeliness relevance factor and that you can trust that it's from an expert, it's not from a TikTok or that decided they had an interest in financial planning.
Yelena Shkolnik: It's something that we debate all the time is, what do people actually want? So they want, yes, relevant content at the moment that is helpful, but do you actually want content? Do I actually want advice, or do I just want someone to take over?
Shruti Joshi: It actually really depends. What we find is it depends on the person. So some people are like, " Can you just let me know the right thing to do and guide me? I feel overwhelmed." There are some people that really want to understand why, why is this the right thing? They want to be part of the process of understanding and learning something. Both of those personas exist. I do think it's important for people to understand why the advice is what it is and why it matters, but whether you spend 20 minutes explaining it or five minutes on the Cliffs Notes version of it, that is a difference between the type of person you're talking to. But both of those personalities and types exist and sometimes it's within a home.
Jason Felger: There's this world where I could do all of that with AI full- on robo advisor. I can have all that intelligence and all your accounts plugged in and provide that guidance. But then there's also the super traditional, " Nope, you got to call me for every single thing," and that's like the very legacy old school way of doing things. Then there's this middle ground which you were starting to describe earlier of having a certified financial planner in the loop utilizing technology, and maybe just expand on that philosophy. It's not just a business model. I'm guessing that there's a philosophy of why does a person still optimally be in that conversation versus just fully pushing that through technology and software?
Shruti Joshi: We do believe that these two have to coexist, and the main reason is that it goes back to the example I provided earlier. You can have two people with the exact same income, assets, maybe they live in the same city, they're the same gender. You can have those profiles, but the advice you would provide those two people should be different. The reason is that if they're value systems are very different, or their life ambitions are very different, or their risk tolerance is very different, they're all of these nuances that make a person who they are in terms of their unique self. The extraction of that and application to the actual things they want, how they want to live, that is a very difficult thing for technology to do. I think trust is a huge foundational element of what a human can do. I'm always fascinated by how shame is such a huge emotion that governs this space. People are always embarrassed to talk about what they don't know, and the industry is confusing. There's a lot of jargon, so it almost makes it worse because people feel like, "I don't really know what a 401K is or a 529, should I?" So I think there's this amplification of shame. It's beautiful when you watch some of our CFPs connect with a client and disarm them and help them understand why they make the choices they make, whether it's, "I'm overspending and I'm not actually doing the thing I want to do. Why am I buying these things that don't matter to me?" I think if you can take the best of human and the best of technology and really assign them a role in a journey, if you will, I think that's when you really get the magic.
Yelena Shkolnik: It's almost as though people are not honest with themselves about what they want. I think that's such an interesting motif'cause we keep going on about, " Hey, maybe generational goals have changed, maybe retirement's not the goal. Maybe some other things are the goal." But I love that question of, " Well, have we ever really sat back and been really honest with ourselves about, 'Well, what is it that I actually want, and is it okay to want those things?'" I really love what you're describing because certainly there is no room, I don't think, in the existing financial services infrastructure to do that psychology. That's not really its job and sometimes it almost feels like the jargon plays into this. It almost wants to create this level of mystification and, " Let's make this hard for you to figure out." I really like how you phrased that.
Shruti Joshi: I think that the industry absolutely benefits from it being confusing. This is all about that shift. For sure, this space is a much more emotional space than it is a rational one. If you actually look across the industry, there's a lot of ROI and BIPs and return on investment and it's a very rationally- charged space, but in reality, what people are really looking for is clarity of, " Am I doing the right things with my money?" The answer to that question is, " For what I want out of life." That's the flip side of it.
Yelena Shkolnik: When we talk about emotional, we should talk about family and what we think of as, we've called it collaborative finance, but you hinted at this. There is a lot of finance that really is tethered to your goals, not for yourself, but for your goals for your family. That could be your parents and that could be your kids and that could be your cousins and whatever. I would love to hear how you think about infusing that. You're fundamentally helping an individual and they're thinking about goals for other people. Are you pulling in their partners? Should technology be pulling in the accounts of their partners? How should we envision a world where finance is fundamentally collaborative and is that what people want?
Shruti Joshi: Oh, yeah. For sure, we think about the household. There's definitely an individual within the household and in some cases, a household is comprised of an individual. But for us, it's about maximizing that household success. If there is a household with two people and there are kids, we want to know the names of everybody in that family, and that does mean that the technology can onboard data that is useful for planning around all of those individuals. But I think it's very important if you take a step back and just reflect on not just thinking about the individual. It's not to say that there aren't certain households where an individual takes the action for themselves, but more often than not, we see this family thinking and that the planning needs to address that household or that family unit. For mass affluent Americans in particular, because they're not sitting on wealth, that's infinite, everything is about trade- offs. We talked a little bit about that value identification. One of the reasons that's really important is because in order to trade things off, " Do I want to work for five more years to send my child a private school?" I have to know what's my value. " Do I value my time? Do I want to take a job that pays me X amount more, or do I want to maybe work fewer hours and commute less so I can spend time with my family?" This trade- off happens at not only an individual level, but a family unit level like the example I just provided. Really great financial planning considers other people in a person's life that have a huge effect on the choices and decisions that they make.
Jason Felger: I've always just struggled with the idea like I get a dollar, however I have obtained that dollar, I get a dollar. What I want to know is, what's the best use of that dollar at this point in time, given all the things that someone or something should know about our household? I think about it in that just very simplistic way, and that's not about because I don't know what all the options are, it's just like it's a very sophisticated technological and also psychological need to say, " Well, I have a new dollar, and I need to know what's best to do with that dollar right now," versus to your point, " I've already accumulated all this wealth and now I'm just trying to optimize that for basically time." It's a fundamentally different set of experiences.
Shruti Joshi: It is. One other thought that comes to mind about this type of advice is whether it's from tech or a human, behavior change is the name of the game. At the end of the day, you need a consumer or a person to take an action. So another really powerful aspect of the service that we offer, this is the demand is moving there is, I also want someone to help hold me accountable. I want to make sure I take the action. If it's centralized, it's a lot easier to say, " Okay, did we get that estate planning meeting completed?" If we're vertically integrating those solutions, we have the ability to actually do what's almost most important, which is make that action go all the way through so that the person gets the benefit.
Yelena Shkolnik: You're tethering a lot of investing and spending together, but when we talk about align to values, you often hear the Gen Zs aren't super interested just in, " Hey, I'm going to invest in the companies that support my values, but literally every dollar I spend, I'm going to buy a thing, and I want the thing that I buy to come from the company that I believe in, whatever their messaging might be." It is clearly a blended concept in their brain where historically I would've thought that is fairly distinct, " Hey, I've got this money, I'm going to put in an investment account, I hope for the best. I've got this money over here and I have little envelopes of goals. I'm going to go to Hawaii. I'm going to take care of my kids." I think of this universe, the budgeting universe, and Jason talks about all these apps on his phone, a lot of them do that. A lot of them are about behavior change and maybe some of them are doing a little bit of that and some of them are actually proactively trying to help you save. But to some comment that you made earlier, it is a little about the demographic focus of those apps because historically, where wealth planning didn't go, those apps existed. If you weren't in a household where there was enough wealth for someone to really manage that holistically for you, you did have all of these solutions to just help you think about budgeting and not about long- term life goals. Those apps are trying to compete, they are trying to do other stuff now. Do you feel like those are still really falling short, or is there hope for even just that universe of stuff to come up and be helpful, especially for what we think of as that underserved segment even below mass affluence, just everyone?
Shruti Joshi: Yeah, this is such an interesting question and one that we've talked about so much internally, but there's a graveyard of budgeting apps and there are a lot of budgeting apps out there. They've had varying degrees of engagement and success. Because we're coming at life and financial planning from a different angle, we feel that budgeting tools, they almost artificially create a constraint by putting people on guardrails. Those guardrails are irrelevant because expenses vary week to week or month to month. Consumers almost have these budgeting tools, but they haven't done that foundational work of understanding how the decisions they make, "Should I buy the latte? Do I enjoy the latte or not?" The latte is always the fun financial planning example.
Yelena Shkolnik: The avocado toast.
Shruti Joshi: Yeah, exactly. The avocado toast, right? If you're a foodie and you live for food, eat the avocado toast, right? Why are you going to penalize yourself? We have to flip the equation. Consumers really benefit from understanding what are the values? What do they want out of life? What are those medium- term, short- term, long- term outcomes that they're hoping for, and how do the decisions that they make with money every day impact those desired outcomes? So most people that really struggle with spending, they don't really see a compelling future. They're not necessarily understanding what those trade- offs are. They don't concretely understand what a dollar saved today is actually going to do for them in real terms. So for us, we think without that conversation, a budgeting app can't work. So we spend a lot more time focusing on cashflow. We help people understand what those goals are, what they need, and then we help them manage to that. But what we hear in our way of doing this is that it's liberating. Money is the number one cause of stress. It's the number two cause of divorce. The huge part of our role is to bring calm in that chaotic world that people live in. So we believe that the industry has... they're asking the wrong question. They're coming at it from the wrong angle. So will there be a ton of budgeting tools? Yes. Will there be people that really feel that budgeting down to the penny and tracking spending is the answer? Sure. But if they're doing it without a bigger conversation, then they're not really going to get the desired outcome.
Yelena Shkolnik: Yeah, I think that's great. For ages, people who have been listening to personal finance gurus tell them that they have to save some very specific percent of their income or that they have to do X and You. For that to be universal advice has always been something that I was confused by. I always struggled with that. I love that you phrased it that way, something that has to be blended to who you are and what your goals are, and it really seems to fall short there. Maybe that's because of the missing human angle to some degree.
Shruti Joshi: For us, we always start with the outcomes. What are the outcomes you really want? We'll have people that start a meeting and they're like, " Well, my outcome is to retire." It's like, " Okay, that's what the industry has told you." So the work of our CFP is to start asking questions in a different way. Helping somebody think beyond that retirement goal that they've been programmed to think of is that starting point. All of our investing advice is all about aligning to make those outcomes happen. So we've really flipped it. We really start with, " What do you need? What do you want out of this very short amount of time you spend on this planet, and how do we align the strategies to that?" I think that that's the way you really drive life change for people and get them to understand who they are, what they want, and also just reduce the stress. Then people feel like, " Oh, I'm living in a way that's very aligned to who I am."
Jason Felger: I want sneakers, Shruti, I want more and more sneakers.
Shruti Joshi: You know what? Hey, that's great. We say spend it on the sneakers, right?
Jason Felger: I assume that I can amass enough to where I can then sell them and retire at some future point.
Shruti Joshi: Sounds like an ambitious plan. I think that-
Jason Felger: It's a solid plan.
Shruti Joshi: I like it.
Yelena Shkolnik: It's a nice place inaudible
Jason Felger: To bring all this into the moment, it's a crazy economy right now, and you have a lot of things going in directions that are generally not optimal for families and individuals. Credit is increasing rapidly at the family level in the U. S. and our interest rates are going obviously exceptionally high, and then there's broadly speaking the labor market. So it's just a lot of things are pulling in directions that are usually not great for the dollar of a family. So the long- winded way of just saying how is the current state of the economy in the U. S. Changing or not changing, how you guys are approaching doing what you're doing, but also, just your personal sentiment on the psychology and the prioritization of families?
Shruti Joshi: This is a time when that chaos we talk about from the content tornado is at a next level high because just the news is much more than, " The market's going up." You've got people in this post- COVID world where there is just a tremendous amount of uncertainty. We find that we are really able to help consumers because the issues that they are facing as it relates to that uncertainty is heightened. When people feel more pain, they take an action. So I think if there's more questions, especially if you think about millennials and Gen Xers that came into, let's say, their first amount of AUM or savings. It's just savings to be able to make some investments in the mass affluent space. They haven't seen those accounts go down yet. This is recent. If you came into the market like eight years ago or so, you're for the first time experiencing something that feels like pain. I think what we feel is that we can be that much more helpful to people, and I think there's a heightened awareness that, " Wow, I do actually need support." So even some of those DIYers that just put money into market and saw it go up, if they defined financial planning just in terms of investments, now even they're saying, " Whoa, I probably need some help to help guide me through this landscape." We're still doing what we're doing'cause we believe the service is essential in everyone's life to live better. But I think what we're experiencing is that people are a little bit more aware of the value of something like this when times are tough and when there's more complexity and when things are harder, the guidance is that much more valuable.
Yelena Shkolnik: Yeah. The place I'd love to end on'cause we're wrapping up our time with you, and this has been such a great conversation. Obviously we invest in stuff. We invest in this category and this category we have been thinking a lot about, and I think some of the listenership of this particular podcast is founders who are trying to build in this space and are asking themselves, " Hey, what are the problems that still exist here, and how do we go about solving them?" So what is the kind of technology that you feel like we're still lacking? Maybe the other part of the equation is, what are the things that hey, you're just like, " This is the way things should be headed. We're excited about this?"
Shruti Joshi: I think we're just excited about the evolution of what technology is capable of doing. So if you just think about machine learning and you think about the ability to actually provide more real- time information and use technology to deliver more on- time advice and on- time messages, I think that is what excites us about technology. It's almost the underlying infrastructure that allows us to serve clients. I don't know that it's like a list of apps or anything like that because that's just not what we're about. We actually feel that that type of fragmentation is not going to lead to the right outcomes.
Yelena Shkolnik: It just occurred to me to ask, much of what you're doing should also rely on the incumbent players, these very large players that hold likely the accounts of many customers that come your way. Obviously in financial services it is these large entities that control so much and power so much with the way we think about money. What are some of the things that they are doing that you're excited about or maybe nervous about if you have a perspective?
Shruti Joshi: I actually spend more energy on the new players that are coming into the market because the old players are so ingrained in the old model of AUM that it's very difficult. I'll never say never. You see a lot of industries go through similar transitions and all sorts of things can happen. To me, the interesting things, the places where I want to spend a little bit more energy are the new players that are coming in that are really questioning the old models, that are bringing fixed fees to the table, that are thinking a little bit more subscription- like, that have language, that talks a little bit more about wellness and living well. I have much more interest in that part of the world because it feels like it's where it's all going. When you put the consumer in the center and you think about they're changing needs, it's not a late'60s model.
Jason Felger: With most guests, I think I always say, " We could talk for hours about this," and I don't know if I'm always authentic about that, but literally-
Yelena Shkolnik: We could talk for hours about this.
Jason Felger: ... I have about 15more questions I could ask. So this has been amazing. We do only have so much time, so just thank you so much.
Shruti Joshi: Thank you so much for having me. It was really a fun conversation. We think about this all the time, so it's fun to nerd out on it with other people that love it as much.
Speaker 3: You've reached the end of another episode of The Jump Off Point. Like what you heard? Head to wherever you heard this podcast, subscribe, rate, and leave us a review, we'd appreciate it. Today's show is produced by Jump Capital and mastered by Fabian Rodriguez. Until next time.
An old-school industry gets a new-school look. Financial planning as we know it is broken, so we spoke with Shruti Joshi, COO of Facet Wealth, about the massive evolution taking place right now. If every decision is a financial decision, then are financial planners therapists with calculators? And how can we plan our lives and save for retirement when contentment and retirement look different to each person?
Join us as we explore what the future of financial planning is shaping up to look like.