Can an app do as much as a human professional?

Woman sitting on floor talking on phone and looking at computer

We use apps to track our health and exercise routines, to manage our bank accounts and for a whole host of other tasks. Can they manage our finances as well? Not every investment question can be solved by an algorithm. A real live financial professional can do more than any technology platform by helping you figure out what’s important to you, navigating any personal financial challenges that arise and setting you on your path toward success.

At its most basic level, technology-driven financial advice is an appealing idea. Just spend a few minutes filling out an online quiz about your goals, financial resources and attitudes about risk. Then out pops a financial plan, complete with an asset allocation, recommended funds and contributions, all at low cost.  

But if you’ve ever spent time on an automated help line, you might find the system to be very good at answering obvious questions, but perhaps not so much when you need to ask about anything complicated, personal or non-standardized.

A personal financial professional, in contrast, spends time getting to know you. They’ll help you sort through your priorities, so that you can focus on financial strategies that address your most important concerns. They’ll help you adapt to changing circumstances, like getting married, having a baby or taking a new job. And, they’ll be there to get you through the rough patches, helping you take the long view when markets turn volatile.  

Plenty of people get along just fine with technology driven solutions like apps or robo advice, but other people need the more personal guidance and relationship that comes with a human financial professional. If you’re on the fence, consider these questions.

How much coaching do you need?

Some people are self-motivated enough to stick with their financial plans, investing a set amount of money in every month and staying calm even when the markets go down. But many people can benefit from a financial professional who can be a sounding board, a coach so to speak, and a source of reassurance when things get difficult.

How complicated are your finances?

Apps can do a perfectly adequate job of allocating your assets across stocks bonds and cash, but they’re less helpful when you need to address more complex concerns, like what to do with a retirement plan rollover or how to set up the financial elements of a new business. A financial professional can walk you through your options and recommend tailored strategies for addressing your challenges.

Do you want to invest beyond the traditional?

Some apps build portfolios out of what can generally be considered traditional and standard asset classes and investments. But if you’re interested in exploring alternative investments, you may wish to consult a flesh-and-blood financial professional with experience in these areas who can help you assess what may be suitable and appropriate for you, based on your time horizon, risk tolerance, goals, and overall unique set of circumstances.

Would you rather talk to a human?

If you have a problem with your investments, are you comfortable trying to fix it through an automated chat bot or by searching through an online FAQ? When you have a relationship with a financial professional, you can call them and get service from someone who is very familiar with your situation.  


Investing involves risk, including loss of principal invested. This informational and educational article does not offer or constitute and should not be relied upon as financial or investment. Equitable Advisors, LLC and its associates and affiliates do not provide tax, accounting or legal advice or services.

Equitable is the brand name of the retirement and protection subsidiaries of Equitable Holdings, Inc., including Equitable Financial Life Insurance Company (Equitable Financial) (NY, NY), Equitable Financial Life Insurance Company of America (Equitable America), an AZ stock company with main administrative headquarters in Jersey City, NJ, and Equitable Distributors, LLC. Equitable Advisors is the brand name of Equitable Advisors, LLC (member FINRA, SIPC) (Equitable Financial Advisors in MI and TN) 

GE-4366877.1 (03/2022) (Exp. 03/2024)