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

To master technology, hire the next gen and listen to them

Jun 27, 2014 @ 11:29 am

By Sheryl Rowling

next generation, young, text, technology, smart phone
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To have a sustainable business, advisers must reach out to younger generations, both as clients and employees. But there is a huge generation gap brought on by the age of technology. Recognizing that gap is the first step in building a bridge. There are too many generational differences to list, so I will point out just a few.

We actually know how to spell "see you" and "I don't know." When my son first texted "IDK" in answer to one of my questions, I had no idea what this meant. I thought these were the initials of one of his friends. These days, I just look forward to reading "cu" from him.

Younger generations can do amazing things like text with one hand while their phone is in their pocket. I was pretty good with my Blackberry but I can't even come close with my iPhone. While my son can quickly type "need $" with one hand, it takes me two hands to type "ash year feather."

(See also: Computers and complexity)

We can write in cursive. I'm not convinced that the new generation knows how to write at all.

Although they can type abbreviated comments, for the most part, they talk into their phones when they need to communicate more than two words. While our signatures are uniquely constructed with flowing cursive letters, young people are either printing their names or using the equivalent of an illegible symbol.

The younger generation grew up with computers. Learning from their first automated teddy bear to more sophisticated video games, they know how to make computers do just about anything. I can't even work my TV's remote control.

Mastering technology, rather than just using it, is imperative to creating a firm that will last. To do that, we must hire more tech-savvy employees and listen to their ideas with open minds. The next generation wants to be involved in influencing the future. We can teach them the financial business but we need to rely on them to move our practices into the future.

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

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