The Advisory Career

“Robo” Financial Advising on the Rise...

But Gen Xers and Boomers Still Prefer the Human Touch

Allianz Generations Apart Study Finds Growing Interest in Online Financial Advice, yet Majority Want Personalized Help

MINNEAPOLIS – Feb. 18, 2016 – Despite the growing popularity of online financial advice (known as robo-advisors), personal relationships with human advisors remain important for many Americans, according to Generations Apart®* – a recent study from Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America (Allianz Life®) on how baby boomers and Generation X approach their financial futures.

When asked about engaging robo-advisors, nearly seven in 10 (69%) from both generations indicated they “don’t really trust online advice, making personal relationships more important.” More than three-quarters (76%) believe “there’s so much selling online that it’s hard to trust the financial advice.”

Additionally, while more than a third (35%) of respondents said they have some interest in working with a robo-advisor (46% Gen X, 24% boomers), only 10% said they would be comfortable having their relationship with their financial advisor exist entirely online.

“Robo-advisors are generating a lot of buzz in the personal finance world, but when it comes to fully relying on them, both Gen Xers and boomers hesitate and instead recognize the value of a real person giving personalized advice,” said Katie Libbe, Allianz Life vice president of Consumer Insights. “Both generations say they’re concerned about retirement, so it’s crucial that they have access to financial professionals who address their specific needs beyond asset allocation and accumulation, and shift their recommendations as personal circumstances change.”

More Time Online

The Generations Apart study revealed that more than half (57%) of both generations spend about 1-3 hours a day online outside of work, making the Internet a likely place to seek financial information.

three-quarters (76%) believe “there’s so much selling online that it’s hard to trust the financial advice"

In fact, 40% of respondents said they “regularly” visit financial websites, with 13% making daily visits and 22% doing some trading/investing online. For some, this increase in online engagement affects their opinion of professional financial help, with 42% of respondents agreeing that “there’s nothing a financial advisor can tell me that I can’t find out online.”

Despite this sentiment and interest in online financial assistance, when asked what the most valuable things a financial advisor currently does or could do for them, both generations cite support that would be difficult or impossible to obtain solely online via robo resources.

This includes: “helping me plan, set and achieve long-term financial goals”; “making sure I have enough money to last as long as I live”; and “helping me understand the big picture of my money (spending, saving, and retirement).”

Added Libbe, “With more robust technology available today, people are getting more comfortable with some aspects of online financial planning, but Americans also still see the value of working with a trusted advisor to help them plan for retirement and shape their financial future.”

For more information about the Allianz Generations Apart Study, visit




About Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America
Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America, one of FORTUNE’s 100 Best Companies to Work For in 2015, has been keeping its promises since 1896. Today, it carries on that tradition, helping Americans achieve their retirement income and protection goals with a variety of annuities and life insurance products. As a leading provider of fixed index annuities, Allianz Life is part of Allianz SE, a global leader in the financial services industry with 147,000 employees worldwide. More than 85 million private and corporate customers rely on Allianz knowledge, global reach, and capital strength to help them make the most of financial opportunities.
*The Allianz Generations Apart Study was conducted by Larson Research + Strategy via online interviews in November 2014 with 2,000 U.S. adults ages 35-67 with a minimum household income of $30K+, and was commissioned by Allianz Life.