Personal finance technology trends for 2012
Hello and I wish you all the best of health, wealth, peace of mind and success with your financial goals in 2012.
I thought I’d start the year with a few trends; especially in the area of technology, it could help you better achieve your personal financial goals, as there are a host of personal finance services and apps, or apps as they are called, that are going to change the way which we Americans invest, bank, track our finances, shop, get coupons, etc.
Some of these apps use the web, but increasingly many are available on mobile devices, as more than a third of all American adults now carry “smartphones” with incredible amounts of display using processors as powerful than those of your laptop.
In fact, if you’re like many of my clients who have resisted the invasion of technology, you might want to reconsider in 2012. Perhaps this is the year to allow the benefits of these innovations to help you gain better control over your finances.
Maybe now is the time to stop using a pen to write checks, paper to track your expenses, and scissors to cut coupons, to let technology streamline that process a bit for you, and in doing so , to increase your savings and results. . Because, let’s face it, your best coupon deals or discounts on hotels and airline tickets no longer come as inserts or advertisements in your newspaper, but go to those who use the Internet.
So here are some ideas to think about and consider opening up to, and while I encourage you to listen to them with an open mind, only adopt those that you are 100% comfortable with, knowing full well that you might always go back to paper and pen if that turns out not to be your cup of tea, so here are some new ways to think about it:
1. Think “Mobile Money” How does that sound? Well, here’s the truth. With the technology where it is today, you can now wave your smartphone in front of a smart device to make all kinds of payments, and this trend really seems to be catching on as it helps retailers, transit operators and others to sell more while reducing costs. With mobile money, your smartphone is securely linked to your bank or credit card account and saves you the hassle of carrying a card, swiping it, getting a bill, signing it, etc., and it also saves the seller money. Also, I suspect that merchants and service providers, such as Google Wallet, will make this more attractive by offering promotions and discounts to people who adopt this mobile payment technology, just as they offered incentives in the early days of mobile payment. ‘Internet.
2. Consider person-to-person payments. Remember how when you’re at a restaurant with friends and it’s time to split the bill, you either ask for separate bills or look for cash to pay your part of the bill. Well, how about just clicking your smartphones together and you’re done? Companies like American Express, Mastercard, Visa and PayPal now offer a host of services that allow you to easily transfer money between friends using verified bank accounts or credit cards. It makes sending money across the street, neighborhood or country faster, easier and cheaper, and remember that you are ALWAYS the bearer of any expenses your bank or credit card company engages in every transaction you make, so if this technology reduces costs, chances are that some of those savings will accrue to you as well.
3. Think: money management. There are new websites that have also turned into apps on your smart phone, such as Manilla.com which I mentioned a few weeks ago in my interview with Terry Savage, and Pageonce which helps you manage bills, payments, subscriptions, coupons and more. ; free! So you never have to worry about a missed payment, late fees, mail trips, stamps, missed deals where you could have used a coupon to save big, etc. Plus, many of these services genuinely have an eco-friendly agenda and want to help replace the paper clutter with electronic account statements. Other more specialized sites such as savvymoney.com help customers manage their debts: credit card payments, mortgages, car loans, and automatically give you advice on when to refinance or make additional payments to reduce your overall interest charges, etc. Others like betterment.com are designed to simplify investing and finally there’s mint.com, whose CEO I interviewed about a year ago, which was the first site like this to come out of the door. And it’s a good site to collect all your financial accounts. So, with an open mind, check them out and sign up for the ones that suit you. And remember, you can always unsubscribe if you don’t like them.
Now, before I go any further, I want to point out that I am not recommending these specific sites or endorsing what they offer, but simply citing examples of technological advances in personal finance that deserve consideration. be explored further.
4. Think: Personalized offers. We’ve all heard of the promise of personalization, and while it’s happened to some extent with the internet, it hasn’t quite played out in personal finance, until now. In fact, to understand personalization, consider trying this experiment. Take your laptop to a friend’s house and type in the same search phrase: for example, “10 best deals in Miami” on google.com or any other search engine: your friend on their computer and you on your laptop using the your friend’s Internet connection. sitting right next to it, I’m almost 100% sure your search results will be different because search engines personalize search results based on your browsing history. The good news is that with smartphones and location-based services, stores can now know when you walk in, what your shopping history and profiles are, and lure you in with special offers just for you: personalized discounts and on-site offers for customers. willing to participate in these programs. And frankly, for the most part, you have little personal information to lose that you haven’t already lost just by using the Internet, Facebook, email, search engines, or smartphones at home!
I know it’s a little scary: like an Orwellian universe, but it’s not that bad. YOU have the right to accept or refuse any of these services.
5. And finally, think: Social Commerce. The internet generates strange terms like this, but too bad! Apps now allow you to borrow or even legally take money from individuals around the world: who might want to give you a loan when they believe in you more than a bank, helping you in a crisis , lend you money to fit out a kitchen or bathroom, or simply invest in a brilliant idea: individuals reach out and open their wallets in what is called social commerce without borders. Check out sites like weemba.com or kickstarter.com if you have an idea that you think others might want to fund. It’s pretty cool to think that the banks won’t control what you can and can’t do financially anymore. I like free markets.
But don’t think that the big banks and corporations aren’t watching all of this very closely and actively intervening where they sense success: so in 2012 you’re likely to see a lot more happening in the realm of personal finance technology…and as we enter the new year, I urge you to try to “live with it” if you wish, and explore ways to save time and money by using technology to your advantage.