The Year 2030: My Conversation with ChatRET Clients
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I wrote this article in 2030 after I interviewed several retirees whose income plans were designed by ChatRET.
DynoSteen Corporation's 2027 introduction of the first retirement-income planning chat bot, ChatRET, disrupted the wealth management and insurance industries. Even more surprising was its sudden and durable impact on the consumer marketplace. Bolstered by a nationwide advertising campaign over television and social media, in just two weeks, ChatRET scaled to over one-million visitors per day. Its tagline, "Don't sweat it. RET it," quickly became the retirement-security solution for millions. ChatRET's melodic female voice and natural conversation interface created a confidence-building experience that retirees and pre-retirees found wholly enjoyable.
Here’s what ChatRET’s users told me:
Yes, I RET-ed, and I'm so happy I did," exclaimed Indianapolis resident, Mary P., a 70-year-old grandmother of three. “I spent my entire adult life leaving money decisions to my husband, Arthur. When Arthur passed, three years ago, I didn't know how to proceed with our money. I knew I was worried about my financial security, but I didn't know who to trust, or whom I should rely on for help. What I did know is that I had no interest in working with our financial advisor – I should say, my late husband's financial advisor. I say that because Stuart never asked about my concerns or paid much attention to me, for that matter. He came with his graphs, papers and charts. It didn't appeal to me. Over the years I grew to dislike Stuart. Over 13-years, in fact, he and I never had a conversation. But I didn't make a fuss about it because Arthur liked him. But I could never continue with Stuart.
Gail D., a widow and retired associate dean related an experience not unlike Mary's:.
Barney and I had a financial advisor for a number of years. For a long time, our investments grew and grew. Barney was happy with Doug's performance, but I always wondered whether it was really Doug or simply that everything went up. Until that stopped. When our investments began to drop in value, I told Barney that we should sell them. I was concerned about preserving what we had accumulated, not trying to make more. But Barney` listened to Doug who said just stay the course, markets always come back. Well, we lost $470,000 and that hurt. It really hurt. And it was avoidable. When Barney had his heart attack and passed shorty after that, I knew that once I could regain some normalcy, I was going to fire Doug. And four months later, I did. And it was easy. It wasn't like I had to let an employee go when I was at the university, someone with whom I had a relationship. That was hard. But firing Doug? That was easy. Doug and I never had a relationship.
Gail the told me about her experience with ChatRET:
When I first read about Chat RET, I said to myself that sounds like something I should try. And here's what was surprising. On one level, I know that I am interacting with AI, a computer. But on another level, I felt like I had finally found a financial expert with whom I could actually have a conversation with, an expert who actually listened to what I had to say. After a few minutes, my awareness that I was interacting with AI switched to a different awareness, essentially that I was in a dialogue with ”someone” who cared about me. I know that sounds weird. Does it? But it was like I was talking to a person, someone who knew how to guide me. And I came away from the experience with a sense of confidence that I had not felt before. So, I RET-ed. And I’m happy I did. I have a plan for my retirement income. It's a plan that I understand, that I can monitor, that I can change if I need to, and that I can talk about whenever I feel the need. Immediately. Anytime of the day. Any day of the week. I mean, can you beat that?
Having learned firsthand from ChatRET users how satisfied they are in retirement while being guided by an AI-based financial advisor, I thought it prudent to talk with human advisors, many whom suffered terrible declines in their businesses as their clients – especially women – rushed to replace them with ChatRET.
Nick, a 66-year-old veteran advisor was the first I interviewed. Nick began his career at a wirehouse focused on selling stocks, a "stock jockey,” as he described himself during that time. In the late 1990s, he moved into managed money, and later he became a financial planner. The loss of clients he's experienced – some 70% of his AUM was lost in the two-year period between 2027 and 2029 – has been nothing less than financially devastating. Nick's own retirement security has been upended dramatically. Explained Nick:
At first, I didn't grasp what was happening in terms of my clients leaving me. I mean, look, I had been with these people for 10, 20 years, in some cases. But when the husbands started passing away, I was absolutely blindsided by the women not wanting to work with me. Looking back, I now admit to myself that I blew it. But I was just doing what I knew, and what I had been taught. My view was the husbands made the investment decisions, and they knew more about money. So, I focused on them. They liked the investments I recommended, and for maybe 15 years, things went along well. When the market broke and stayed that way, I was caught in a bad position. Now, I realize that I should have been more cognizant of protecting some of those portfolio assets. And I now deeply regret my reluctance to recommend annuities. That was my biggest strategic blunder. Had I embraced annuities, I believe I would have retained many more clients.
I asked Nick about his own financial situation:
Frankly, it's bad. I've lost most of my income, and my own investments have declined. I can't retire, I'm forced to work and earn money any way I can. I've become a Lyft driver. It's not bad! I make my own hours. And I only drive in the daytime. And most weeks I can earn about $600. it helps.
Seven years ago, when Chat GPT was introduced, I envisioned that AI-driven financial advisors would likely emerge should the wealth management and insurance industries prove unable to implement much-needed changes. Looking back, what's happened since that time is unsurprising. AI has progressed so much in the years since that investors of all ages have become comfortable relying upon it.
The devastation of the male-dominated financial-advisor community was hard to watch. That it could have been avoided made the pain that much greater. Had the profession made changes at the right time, the AI-advisor revolution might have been thwarted. But once ChatRET got its virtual nose under the profession’s tent, the traditional financial advisor model was doomed. Its inefficiencies, preoccupation with infighting and stereotyping were laid bare.
What could have been a renaissance driven by the shift in control of wealth assets to women, instead ended up being what may be history's greatest wasted business opportunity – wasted by incumbents, that is. Just as disruptive upstarts like Google, Salesforce and Meta emerged a generation ago only to change life as we know it, now its "DynoSteen," and "WorRET" and "IncomA" that have forever changed investing and retirement.
All driven by failing to listen.
Wealth2k® founder David Macchia is an entrepreneur, author, marketing strategy expert and public speaker whose work involves improving the processes used in retirement income planning. David is the developer of the widely used The Income for Life Model®, and the recently introduced Women And Income®. David has authored many articles on the subjects of retirement income planning, macroeconomics, and financial communications. He is the author of two books, Constrained Investor®, and Lucky Retiree: How to Create and Keep Your Retirement Income with The Income for Life Model®.