It’s 2021 and Moore’s Law is in full swing: With each passing year our technology grows exponentially more powerful. As our processors grow in strength and speed, the barriers to entry shrink, and this technology becomes more accessible to the world at large. As it becomes more accessible to those not straddling the cutting edge of the latest tech trends, this bullet train of technological progression becomes entrenched in our everyday lives.
These days, the ever-increasing speed with which technology is growing and weaving its way into the very fabric of our being tends to take on a sort of spooky dystopian air. Discussions of how big tech has gradually and almost invisibly removed any reasonable expectations of privacy, coupled with an eerie codependency on that technology, are commonplace.
However, this entrenchment isn’t entirely bad, and has brought with it a number of positive quality of life changes, including ways to better understand debt and it’s intricacies. Let’s explore three ways that technology has positively impacted the personal finance world.
We’re all carrying around a bank teller in our pockets. Having on demand access to your accounts, investments, and credit scores is an important tool for staying financially proactive. If you aren’t among the one-third of Americans who check their bank accounts daily, make it a priority to put yourself in that demographic. Additionally, your bank might be charging you to receive a monthly statement in the mail. Save a tree, save yourself some time, and save a dollar by going entirely paperless with the power of electronic banking.
Electronic bill payments
I can still visualize it: My mother sitting at an enormous desktop computer in our kitchen, the robotic screeching of a dialup modem logging her into America Online, and then several hours of frustrated typing and clicking as she tried to teach herself how to pay the Con Edison bill through the magic of the World Wide Web. We’ve come a long way from dialup and CD-ROMs. I pay all my bills online through my smartphone, and I’m willing to bet that you do too.
Because you have unfettered access to your statements right at your fingertips, you’re less likely to miss payments and incur late fees. Some services, like my credit card issuers and car insurance company, even send email reminders about payment due dates and upcoming automatic withdrawals, both of which help me stay as up-to-date as possible on where my money is going. Services that use electronic payments also usually offer a discount for paperless statements, just like your bank.
While the rise of online retailers isn’t technically directly related to your finances, there is something to be said about it. The fact that you can shop for anything you can think of from the comfort of your own home might not sound great for your wallet, but if you’re smart and responsible about it, it can be a good thing. The fact of the matter is that time is money. Being able to conserve the one resource that you can’t accrue more of is invaluable.
From a less metaphysical standpoint, there are more straightforward benefits to the infinite possibilities of the online marketplace. The ability to shop around with ease to seek out the best deals for the things you need can undoubtedly help keep your bank account healthy and full.
John is a finance writer based in Brooklyn, NY. He studied Journalism & Media at Rutgers University.