It’s hard to believe that the first iPhone came out just a little over 12 years ago. It’s even harder to imagine life without our smartphones. The past decade has seen a tornado of innovation that's mixed our personal lives and our digital lives into an inseparable cocktail that will define this century and beyond. Nowhere has this combination been so powerful than in our wallets.

The finance industry has always been at the forefront of innovation through technology, and for good reason. From open outcry trading at physical exchanges to high-frequency and algorithmic trading via ultrafast networks; from paper savings account passbooks to robo-advisors that track our spending and investing, technological innovation has been a priority for financial institutions and consumers alike, both eager to make their transactions as fluid as possible.

How We Got Here

The 2010s were the era of personalization, platform creation, and the democratization of investing. Online brokers, robo-advisors, financial institutions, and securities exchanges all evolved to create platforms and tools that encourage more people to save, invest, plan, and manage their financial lives. At the same time, the creation of financial and investment products exploded, giving consumers a sometimes overwhelming number of options that, at times, only made things more complicated. All of this happened as the global economy shifted under their feet, creating a rapidly changing, occasionally unstable environment that will shape generations to come.

But where does the convergence of technology and finance go from here? That’s the question we set out to explore through "Investing 2020: The Future of Finance," Investopedia's special report covering how our financial lives will change over the next two decades. 

We explore the rise of China and its impact on the U.S. economy, artificial intelligence, 5G, income inequality, future investing trends, the role of securities exchanges, and the impact of climate change, among many other topics.

To get some answers, we asked experts in the financial world to provide their perspective on what the next 20 years will look like in financial markets, personal finance, the global economy, and financial technology (fintech).

We’ve interviewed legendary investors like Ray Dalio and Stephen Schwarzman on the future of the global economy and investing. We spoke with Nasdaq CEO Adena Friedman on the future of securities exchanges and how developments in artificial intelligence and blockchain are shaping markets. We have guest columns from industry experts like Lex Sokolin on the future of fintech and Julian Hebron on the future of homebuying. Legendary financial advisor Ric Edelman wrote about the future of personal finance, and we also interviewed Betterment’s Dan Egan about the future of financial advice. 

This is just a small sampling of what you will find in this project, which we will continue to build throughout 2020. Technology is moving fast, but nowhere faster than in the world of money. 

Buckle up and enjoy!

Caleb Silver — Editor-in-Chief