Not only does Google do just about everything, most of it is free! It wouldn’t surprise me if they soon offered the Google Pension, Google ISA or even the Google bank account (though they would surely have to charge for some of these?).
Google undoubtedly have a strong brand to capitalise on should they enter financial services and the internet as a whole will continue to change people’s relationships with their money.
For me, one problem with this is online financial information. This is very different from financial advice.
Let me use an analogy. When my wife was pregnant she Googled a lot, and read huge amounts of information. But it was all so generic that it wasn’t advice at all – you can’t get a website to appreciate your own symptoms, feelings and unique situation.
And so it is with money: advice and information are two different things and a website will not be able to understand the subtleties of your unique financial circumstances and recommend what you should do about it.
Remember: when it comes to investing the internet invariably helps you make mistakes faster, cheaper and more often.
The vast, vast majority of your financial success is down to your own behaviour. For example:
- If you need to save and invest, do you do so each and every month without fail? Google won’t help you if you can’t stick to your plan. A good financial planner will.
- Should you really be saving and investing more? Google won’t hold you to account if you’re not on track to your targets. A good financial planner will.
- Did you get worried and sell your investments in the last bear market? Google won’t stop you from making that mistake. A good financial planner will.
To receive the most best financial advice, I think you need to see the whites of your adviser’s eyes, be sat there face to face with him or her and have a really good, detailed conversation. Which is something Google or any other online service will never be able to do.
You could argue that I would say that, wouldn’t I… but the truth is that people rarely have an open and honest conversation about money, not even with themselves and certainly not with their friends and family. Technology alone won’t help you develop a happy relationship with your long-term financial future. A good financial planner will.