In the past, managing your personal finances was something that required time, effort, and thought. For example, managing a checking account meant logging each check written, deposit, and transaction. The checkbook had to be balanced on a regular basis to avoid overdrafts and pay bills. Today, many consumers in their late 20s or early 30s can probably remember someone balancing a checkbook at some point during their childhood.
However, personal finance management has changed considerably. Many consumers today probably don’t give the old checkbook a second thought. Why exactly? Technology has stepped in firmly to offer new and simpler solutions to tracking your money.
There are various ways to both simplify and streamline how money is managed, and these improvements aren’t limited to tracking a checking account either. For instance, consumers can automatically allocate part of their pay check to multiple accounts, make investments on the fly, or even automatically split a dinner bill with a friend.
With all that in mind, here are some of the most popular ways to automate your finances, make your life easier, and keep things simple and concise along the way.
Automatic Direct Deposit
Automatic direct deposit is an online banking perk that has already been mentioned, and it’s one of the most widespread perks of technology in finance. Now you can split up your paycheck automatically and deposit certain amounts to your checking, savings, or any other account. This saves plenty of time and a trip to the bank.
Automatic direct deposit can also be a helpful tool for consumers to allocate their money more effectively. If you have trouble saving money, then you can put the lion’s share into savings to be left untouched. This can be an effective budgeting tool. By limiting your checking account, you can check your spending habits more easily which can be done with minimal effort.
Automated Retirement Savings Funds
Saving for retirement is something a lot of people don’t think about until it’s too late, but this can be automated in a similar way as direct deposit. Many employers offer retirement benefits and 401(k) plans to their workers who have the option to enroll. If enrolled in one of these plans, then workers can devote a percentage of their pay to a retirement account. Oftentimes, they won’t even see the money in their paycheck (unless you check your account).
The automated aspect makes it easier and simpler to save. Employees can usually adjust their contributions as a percentage of their pay, and they typically have access to resources that offer advice on how to effectively save & invest for retirement.
Automatic Bill Pay
In the past, before the era of automation, paying your bills meant sitting down once a month, opening all of your mail and writing out checks for everything. This was an important aspect of balancing your checkbook which was mentioned earlier. However, paying bills is much easier now.
Today, consumers can sign up for automatic bill pay, allowing for automatic drafts directly from a bank account on a monthly basis. You don’t have to worry about spending time paying bills, and you don’t have to think about late fees or the consequences of missing payments. Automated payments can be set up for everything from utility bills to credit card payments. Just keep in mind that you should keep tabs on your extraneous spending because you will need to have funds in your account to avoid an overdraft.
The world of financial technology and in particular robo-advisors has grown significantly in recent years. Before fairly recently, investing money meant visiting a financial advisor or wealth management advisor. Even with the introduction of online investment platforms, people still had to learn the basics of investing or risk losing a lot of money.
Now, robo-advisor platforms offer specialized portfolio management without hefty wealth management and investment management fees. These robo-advisors allow consumers to set up automatic transfers to investment accounts if they choose, and they also rebalance portfolios automatically when necessary to ensure the user can continue achieving their financial objectives. Robo-advisors deliver personalized and tailored investment advice, for a small fee in most cases and a minimal amount of effort on the part of the investor. All of this can help contribute to making more money.
By Andrew Rombach, a Content Associate from LendEDU – a financial product marketplace and consumer education website.