InvestmentNews takes advisers through the developments and innovations in technology that’ll change the way you do business today—and tomorrow.

NextGen: Computers, cellphones and calculators

Computers and the internet have changed everything, not only for us but for the “NextGen” as well.

Dec 26, 2013 @ 7:31 am

By Sheryl Rowling

+ Zoom

I am an “average adviser.” You see, the average adviser is in his/her mid-50s and I qualify. We didn't grow up with computers, cell phones or calculators. (In fact, I won a math contest when I was a high school senior and my prize was … a slide rule.)

We learned how to add, subtract, multiply, and divide, and even how to calculate square roots, by hand. We could convert decimals in our heads, do most math computations without pad and pencil, and remember basic formulas. These days, Next Generation advisers rely on calculators to handle all mathematical questions. Their calculators are programmable and contain so many functions, the average adviser can't figure them out. Or, at least I can't. I still use my old TI calculator.

Remember when we knew our friends' and family's phone numbers by heart? We carried our address books with us, always written in pencil so we could easily change entries when someone moved. Cell phones have changed all that. We can't even remember our own phone numbers let alone anyone else's. And we don't need to. We simply tell Siri to call Joe and it does – like magic!

Computers and the internet have changed everything, not only for us but for the “Next Gen” as well. We used to do research at the library using index cards and microfiche. Now, we can Google anything we want. Gone are the days of writing letters that we mailed to friends. We simply type out emails or texts; no need to wait days in between for delivery. With this convenience, and spell check, younger people don't worry about spelling. Either the computer will fix it or they can use text shorthand when answering a friend “IDK.” There's even a debate on whether to continue to teach cursive writing in school!

We all value technology. But are our children being deprived of learning essential skills? I don't have the answer.

I have a feeling that the changes are here to stay and will continue to evolve.

Sheryl Rowling is chief executive of Total Rebalance Expert and principal at Rowling & Associates. She considers herself a non-techie user of technology.


What do you think?

View comments

Recommended for you

Featured Research

The 2015 InvestmentNews Adviser Technology Study

This in-depth study provides a blueprint for the industry, providing actionable information to advisers, along with the latest solutions to help them drive profitability, efficiency and growth for their firm.

Featured video


Building a practice for tomorrow's tomorrow

Advisers: it is time to take a long view of your practice. Check out some tips and strategies on how to do it (and why) with Tom Stefaniak of Pinnacle Wealth Management.

Video Spotlight

The Search for Income

Sponsored by PGIM Investments

Recommended Video

Path to growth

Latest news & opinion

T. Rowe Price steps up its game to serve financial advisers

The Baltimore-based mutual fund giant is more aggressively targeting financial advisers with a beefed-up wholesale crew and placement on custodial platforms.

The most important tax changes for 2018

The Internal Revenue Service issued inflation adjustments to more than 50 tax provisions for 2018.

Shift to Roth 401(k)s 'highly likely' part of tax reform: former Treasury official Mark Iwry

Mandated contributions to Roth accounts would likely only be partial, as opposed to having a full repeal of pre-tax accounts.

E*Trade acquiring custodian Trust Company of America

Discount broker buying second-tier custodian for $275 million.

Another thousand Dow points higher, and investors yawn

Market milestones keep falling like dominoes, with 51 records broken so far this year.


Subscribe and Save 60%

Premium Access
Print + Digital

Learn more
Subscribe to Print