Without technology, my finances would be a lot weaker than they are today, period. I believe that technology has and will continue to help me in achieving my overall financial goals.
And I believe the more people embrace technology the better it can help them achieve their financial goals as well.
Many of us have a natural habit to learn more, excel in our career, develop a system to be able to consistently invest our savings. Technology is something that can optimize these habits to yield stronger results.
Technology – Tools Helped My Finances
I used to track my finances in an excel spreadsheet in a very simple way. I still track on an excel spreadsheet, but I’ve optimized it a bit (i.e., took advantage of its technological capability) to present a clearer and more transparent picture of my finances.
More than a decade ago, I would simply track my bank balance week after week to see if it was increasing. But tracking evolved into different income streams, expenses, and transfers in and out of accounts to gain both a macro and micro view of where things are good and where they can be improved.
Apart from excel, I also use Personal Capital to better understand my finances and specific investments. This is a free tool and I encourage everyone who doesn’t already, to use it. You can read more from my Simple Personal Capital Review here.
And not too long ago, I began using Robinhood for my after-tax investments. Ever since I learned about unlimited free trades, I thought why not use them. Robinhood’s platform is simple, yet has everything I need to manage my account. And it’s super easy and intuitive to use. For more, check out my Simple Robinhood Review here.
Technology – Online Education Helped My Finances
Before using certain tools to improve your finances, you need to learn more about finances. This is where the evolution of the internet comes in.
In particular, I would say the biggest aspect of the internet that has helped improved my finances is from reading other personal finances websites and blogs. The authors put a “personal” touch on their articles, which has allowed me to gain confidence that I may be able to achieve the same goals.
Many of us already know in order to improve finances you should have a job that pays well, save more than you earn, and invest wisely and consistently. But it’s the stories that lead to these principles that are motivating. For example, the story told by Justin from Root of Good where his family went from zero to millionaire in ten years is truly inspiring.
He and his family achieved millionaire status in a traditional way through savings and investing while living with a modest salary throughout their career.
I would not have known about this story had I not stumbled upon this blog, probably from another website or blog, and all due to the advancement and efficiently of publishing information on the internet, which is ultimately the result of powerful technology! 🙂
YouTube is another great example. When something just isn’t sinking in the way I want it too, I go to YouTube to learn about it in a different way. For example, I learned how to install wallpaper by watching someone do it on YouTube because I wasn’t able to fully grasp the step by step written instructions. As a result, I was able to complete this DIY project and save hundreds – a benefit to my finances.
Another example: I learned more about REITs while watching YouTube Videos. If you want to further diversify your portfolio into real estate, but want a passive approach and don’t have a lot of money to invest into a real estate property. REITs may be an option for you.
Here’s a simple video explaining REITs that helped me learn and become more comfortable around this type of investment:
Technology – Free E-Books From Library
I’ve listened to so many audiobooks for free from the library. Some of them include:
- The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy
- The Richest Man in Babylon
- The Little Book of Common Sense Investing: The Only Way to Guarantee Your Fair Share of Stock Market Returns (Little Books. Big Profits)
Each of these books has provided valuable insight and tangible action. They have allowed me to think differently in terms of analyzing investments when buying and selling, consider lifestyle changes when preparing for retirement and, embracing savings in an easier manner without feeling deprived.
Libraries are great places to learn about any subject. Libraries in my county also offer evening classes and workshops with stories, arts, and crafts for both kids and adults. They are a great place for families to come together and to connect with other families and the overall community.
Technology – Free Calculators And Visuals
You can find a calculator for almost anything personal finance related: retirement, savings goals, investment returns, debt payoff scenarios, paycheck distribution, and so much more.
There are even graphs that will plot the output of the calculators.
How does this help? If you’re thinking about saving more for retirement, but are unable to visualize the impact, a calculator may help you see the benefit of contributing more (like it did for me).
Of if you’re paying a high interest rate on a car loan, you can see how much interest can be saved by paying it off earlier. If your car loan has a low-interest rate, you can even compare to see it’s worth it to pay the car loan off earlier or instead invest that money in the market.
Technology – Easy To Find Great Deals
A button I have on my web browser is for Ebates. It provides cash back for shopping online. You don’t have to do anything extra. If you’re shopping online, you just click the button whenever you visit a merchant website (e.g., Walmart, Target, etc.) and soon enough you’ll get a check in the mail for the cumulative cash back you have earned as a result of shopping.
At the same time, I don’t treat this as a reason for shopping more.
Apart from this, I and many I know will frequently google almost any product to see who’s offering the best deal. Over the years, I’ve saved a lot of money from Googling to find the best prices on the internet.
Additionally, I’ve saved from not buying certain products as well by reading customer reviews and experiences.
Technology Has Its Risks
It would be unfair to talk about the benefits of technology and not mention the risks. Cybersecurity is a big threat in today’s world.
It’s important to be proactive and use preventative measures to ensure your information stays safe and secure. Things like incorporating strong passwords, regularly monitoring your credit report, using trusted banks and financial institutions for your accounts, never disclosing your pin number, and making an effort to stay below the radar of cyber predators may be ways to stay safe from cyber threats.
Technology, like art, is a soaring exercise of the human imagination.
Join The Discussion:
- How have you used technology to improve your personal finances?
- Do you believe your financial situation would be different if technology weren’t as prevalent?
- Has embracing certain technologies hurt your financial situation?
I use Personal Capital because (1) it’s free, (2) it tracks all of my accounts and overall net worth, (3) my account balances automatically update, (4) it shows how my investments are diversified and allocated in various sectors, and (5) can use built-in tools like “Investment Checkup” to get….wait for it…free personalized advice!