You may think you're reading the March 2013 issue of Financial Planning, but really, we want you to regard this as our first crack at our March 2023 magazine. No doubt the bulk of you (all of you?) will be reading FP on our app or our website by then.

In the first two months of this year, everyone on staff has traveled to an industry conference - and everyone on staff has traveled (conceptually, at least) to a decade ahead, trying to understand and illustrate what the future of the planning industry will look like.

The first glimpse was extraordinarily rosy. Far greater wealth to be managed. Further technological advances making advisors even more efficient and clients more informed. Centenarians having a lot more company.

Yet all the progress could make the thirst for financial advice much more challenging as a business. There might be many more potential clients to recruit, but profit margins at some practices as they now exist could get squeezed so tight they're crushed. Technology could further commoditize both planning and portfolio management. And the rapid growth of clients living a full century and even more could be a heavy burden for planners ill-prepared to assist with the health care issues that could dominate client-facing conversations.

Of course, advisors have a decade to prepare for a decade ahead. And our cover story provides a handy check list on the issues advisors will need to think about if they hope to thrive 10 years from now - or are preparing a sucession plan well before then.

Consider these forecasts: Retirement as we know it may go away as people live longer and begin new, less-demanding careers. Financial planning will grow more dominant on college campuses (although many college campuses will become virtual). Planning platforms will complete their migration to the cloud. A broad fiduciary standard is likely to be adopted as clients demand full transparency. Planners will have to include much broader services for clients on issues like health planning, career counseling and life coaching. And planners may have to corral clients intrigued by the investment opportunities of crowdfunding, which have yet to be thoroughly regulated.

If you make the mental leap all at once, it's awfully intimidating. So remember this advice from Abraham Lincoln: "The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time."

Register or login for access to this item and much more

All Financial Planning content is archived after seven days.

Community members receive:
  • All recent and archived articles
  • Conference offers and updates
  • A full menu of enewsletter options
  • Web seminars, white papers, ebooks

Don't have an account? Register for Free Unlimited Access