Luddite(n): One who fears new technology (as they seem pleased with how things currently are… “why can’t everything just be the same?”)

As some of you will know I’m no spring chicken, but there is a phase that many of my mates, and dare I say many people significantly younger than me, say “don’t talk to me about technology”… “I’m a luddite”. Now I don’t mind that they see themselves as a “luddite” but what I find perplexing is that they wear this label as some sort of badge of honour.

Maybe I’ve missed something but what badge of honour is there in being a luddite?

Before I go on, let’s define what a luddite is….according to the Urban Dictionary: a luddite is “one who fears technology (or new technology as they are pleased with the way things currently are…. why can’t things stay the same”. See this is the problem…which part of technology do they think is going to suddenly stop and go back to how things were before? I think we all know the answer.

You see technology is always evolving. Always has been, always will be. A classic example is back in 1908, if you asked people what they wanted transport wise, it is alleged they would say “they wanted faster horses” but Henry Ford saw things differently. He used technology, ignored the luddites and developed a new way to manufacture an object – in this instance, the motor vehicle….the model T ford was born and so they got their faster horse….it was just different to what they expected.

So here is the question: How is this use of technology any different to technology today? Isn’t technology just that…technology? Then why do we still fear it? Now I’m not saying “embrace it”. I’m just saying don’t fear it. Find a way to let it work within your life.

The same is true when it comes to the use of innovative technology that makes it easier and more affordable for our advisers to give advice on money, investing or insurance.

Recently I was asked to give some input on a new investment platform that is being developed. During the discussion we were talking about how hard it is for financial advisers to take up new ways of doing things.

It turns out this particular provider had released an online and tele-underwriting life insurance application and tele-underwriting process approx 5 yrs ago. I know this, as I was one of the beta testers and early adopters. At this meeting I asked the provider what percentage of the advice community, after all this time (5yrs), were using this innovative way to get clients life insurance cover. The answer…20%.

Yep, I kid you not! Only 20% of advisers see this as a better way to get cover for clients. For the sake of keeping this blog short, for now I won’t go into the reasons why using tele-underwriting is better. But I know my advisers, clients and I can sleep easy at night knowing that they have been underwritten carefully.

So next time you plan a meeting with your clients, ask yourself this simple question. What am I doing to make it easier and more affordable for me to continue to give advice to my clients? You might be surprised by the answer. You might just may be saying … “don’t ask me I’m a luddite”!!

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Great decision.

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