Ric Edelman, founder and chairman of Edelman Financial Services, has published eight books. His latest, “The Truth About Your Future: The Money Guide You Need Now, Later, and Much Later,” targets the future of personal finance and what investors need to know for the technological revolution already occurring around us.
ETF.com: Your new book is incredibly research-heavy, with 50 pages of footnotes. How much research did you do for this book?
Edelman: I spent about eight years researching the subjects and the bulk of last summer writing it.
ETF.com: What stoked your interest in this particular subject?
Edelman: I've always been focused on technology. Back in the ’80s, I was cited by a trade publication as one of the most advanced advisors in the country using technology. This was back in the days of PCs—you know, IBM 286 computers with floppy disk drives.
So I've always recognized that technology helps us do things faster and more accurately. That’s never changed, so we’ve always tried to make our firm state-of-the-art, cutting edge, with its technological innovations and solutions. That led to paying attention to the latest technology and computer innovations—artificial intelligence has become a big topic of conversation.
About eight years ago, I became really focused on exponential technologies, which back then was a new phrase. I interviewed Ray Kurzweil on my television show. Ray is widely regarded as the Albert Einstein of our generation and is Google's director of engineering. He has hundreds of patents. He co-founded Singularity University with Peter Diamandis.
Ray helped me set on a path of study. This was 2010-2011, and I eventually went through the executive program at Singularity University. They asked me to become a member of their faculty and to be an investor as well, both of which I have done. I helped them to create Expo Finance, which is a 2 ½-day course in New York for the financial industry to help its members understand where technology is taking us.
My focus has always been very different from the rest of the technologists. I focus on this as a financial advisor, which means I only had two questions: 1) How does my advice that I give my clients need to change? 2) How do I need to change how I deliver that advice?
Nobody had answers to those questions, because that wasn’t the focus of their research. It took me years to figure out answers to those questions. The answers began to emerge about three years ago, and finally crystallized sufficiently that I was able to write this book.