As 2016 marches on, we’re seeing many of the financial planning trends play out as predicted at the end of last year. A rise in the importance of technology, more financially literate clients, and longevity are all playing a larger role in financial planning this year, with some interesting results.

Here’s a look at five of the most important financial planning trends we’re seeing this year.

Longevity planning assumes its rightful place.

For a long time, many in the financial advising world didn’t fully understand the importance of longevity planning. This is partly because the model for a person’s later years followed a fairly typical arc: retire, live off one’s savings and investments, and possibly end up needing medical or nursing assistance.

Life expectancies were shorter, as well, so individuals had fewer years during which they’d need to support themselves.

Today, however, people are living longer and longer. This not only means they need more savings to support themselves as they live their day-to-day lives, it also means that they need a financial plan in place should they require years of medical treatment or long-term care, whether in their homes or in a facility.

Advisors and financial professionals who are able to dive into this area of planning will find themselves highly sought after - and not just in 2016, but also in the years and decades to come.

Greater use of video conferencing.

As 2016 continues, experts are predicting that the financial industry will begin making greater use of video conferencing tools.

These tools, which run the gamut from free, no-frills platforms like Google Hangouts to more versatile pay-for-service options like GoToMeeting, have already transformed the way people work, enabling virtual companies to spring up and immediately employ people clear across the globe.

Financial professionals have been a bit slower to adopt video conferencing, but that seems to be changing. Last year, according to an Investment News and Cambridge study of financial advisors, only 4 percent of surveyed advisors said they used video conferencing as a top method of communication with their clients.

However, 32 percent of surveyed advisors said they expected to rely on it regularly within the next five years.

The message is clear: even if you’re not using video conferencing currently, it’s important that you have the capability and willingness to conduct business virtually. Clients of all ages are starting to expect it.

Greater mobile capabilities.

Just as clients are expecting to be able to Skype or FaceTime with the people they do business with, they’re also expecting to be able to access most, if not all, of their information on their mobile devices.

This goes beyond just mobile-friendly websites. Successful financial advisors and other professionals will make use of or even create apps (like Ashar’s mobile app for life insurance policy valuation), as well as use mobile communications like texts or messaging apps to talk to clients instantly.

More collaboration.

In the past, collaboration has not been the name of the game in financial planning, but this year and in the years to come, financial advisors, insurance professionals, and other fiduciaries will need to work together more to meet the increasingly complex needs of clients. 

That means everyone from investment advisors to life settlement brokers. As life expectancies increase, clients will need to ensure they have the strategies in place to support their lifestyles and take care of their needs.

And collaboration won’t be just between advisors, brokers, and planners. Thanks to technology, fiduciaries in all fields can run various scenarios for clients in a matter of seconds. This allows the client more ability to offer their input and ask questions - in other words, to become more of a participant in the planning process.

At Ashar, we work continually to ensure that we’re using the most up-to-date practices. Have you noticed any of these trends at work in your own practice, or that of your colleagues? For more on how technology is impacting the financial planning industry, read our blog post: 5 Apps Every Financial Planner Should Download Right Now.