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Personal Finance Technology Trends For 2012
Hello, I wish you all good health, wealth, peace of mind and success in achieving your financial goals in 2012.
I thought I’d start the year with some trends; especially in the area of technology that can help you better meet your personal financial goals because there are a number of personal finance services and apps, or apps as they are called, that will change the way we Americans invest, bank, track our finances, shop, get coupons and so on.
Some of these applications use the web, but increasingly many are available on mobile devices, as more than a third of all American adults now carry “smartphones” with an amazing amount of display with processors as powerful as those in your laptop.
In fact, if you’re like many of my clients who are resisting the invasion of technology, you may want to rethink your decision in 2012. This may be the year that the benefits of these innovations help you gain more control over your finances.
Maybe right now is the time to stop using pen to write checks, paper to track your expenses, and scissors to clip coupons, and let technology make the process a little more efficient for you, increasing your savings and your bottom line. . Because, let’s face it, your best coupon deals or discounts on hotels and flights are no longer coming as inserts or ads in your newspaper, but are going to those who use the Internet.
So here are some ideas for you to think about and consider opening up to, and while I encourage you to listen to them with an open mind, only adopt the ones you are 100% comfortable with because well you know you can always go back to pen and paper if it turns out not to be your cup of tea, so here are some new ways to think:
1. Think “mobile money” How does that sound? Well, here’s an overview. With technology where it is today, you can now wave your smartphone in front of a smart device to make all sorts of payments, and the trend seems to have really caught on, helping retailers, mass transit operators and others sell more while keeping costs down. With mobile money, your smartphone is securely linked to your bank or credit card account, saving you the hassle of carrying a card, swiping a card, getting an account, signing, etc., and also saves the seller money. Additionally, I believe merchants and service providers like Google Wallet will make it more attractive by offering promotions and discounts to people who use this mobile payment technology, much like they offered incentives in the early days of the Internet.
2. Think: Personal payments. Remember, when you’re at a restaurant with friends and it’s time to split the bill, you’ll either ask for separate bills or fumble for cash to pay your share of the bill. Well, how about just snapping your smartphones together and you’re done? Companies like American Express, Mastercard, Visa, and PayPal now offer a variety of services that allow you to easily transfer money between friends using verified bank or credit card accounts. It makes sending money across the street, neighborhood or country faster, easier and cheaper, and remember that you ALWAYS bear any expenses your bank or credit card company incurs on any transactions you make, so if this technology reduces costs, it’s it is likely that some of these savings will be passed on to you.
3. Think: Money Management. There are new websites that have also turned into apps for your smartphone, like Manilla.com, which I mentioned a few weeks ago in an interview with Terry Savage, and Pageonce, which helps you manage your bills, payments, subscriptions, coupons and more. ; free! That way, you don’t have to worry about missed payments, late fees, trips to the post office, stamps, missed deals where you could have saved a big coupon, and so on. What’s more, many of these services have a truly green agenda and want to help replace paper clutter with electronic bank statements. Other, more specialized sites like savvymoney.com help customers manage their debt: credit card payments, mortgages, car loans and automatically give you tips on when to refinance or make extra payments to lower your overall interest costs and so on. Others like betterment.com are designed to make investing easier, and finally there’s mint.com, whose CEO I interviewed about a year ago, which was the first such site out of the gate. And it’s a good site to gather all your financial accounts. So go through them with an open mind and sign up for the ones that make sense to you. And remember, you can always opt out if you don’t like them.
Now, before I go any further, I want to emphasize that I am not recommending these particular sites or endorsing what they have to offer, but merely giving examples of technological advancements in personal finance that are worth exploring further.
4. Think: Personalized offers. We’ve all heard of the promise of personalization, and while it’s happened to some degree with the Internet, it hasn’t quite caught on in personal finance until now. To understand personalization, try this experiment. Take your laptop to a friend and enter the same search phrase: say “10 best deals in Miami” on google.com or any other search engine: your friend on the computer and you on your laptop using your friend’s internet connection while I’m sitting right next to him, I’m almost 100% sure that your search results will be different because search engines adapt search results to your browsing history. The good news is that thanks to smartphones and location-based services, stores can now know when you enter, your purchase history and profiles, and entice you with special offers just for you: personalized discounts and on-the-spot customer offers. willing to sign up for these programs. And frankly, for the most part, you have very little personal information to lose that you haven’t already lost just by using the Internet, Facebook, email, search engines, or smart phones at home!
I know it sounds a bit scary: like an Orwellian universe, but it’s not as bad as all that. YOU HAVE the right to opt-in or opt-out of any of these services.
5. And finally, think: Social business. The internet spawns weird terms like this, but what the heck! Apps now allow you to borrow or even legally take money from individuals all over the world: who might want to give you a loan where they believe in you more than a bank, help you in a crisis, lend you money to furnish your kitchen or bathroom, or simply invest in a great idea: private individuals reaching out to each other and opening their wallets in what is called borderless social commerce. Check out sites like weemba.com or kickstarter.com if you have an idea that you think others might want to fund. It’s actually pretty cool to think that the banks will no longer financially control what you can and can’t do. I love free markets.
But don’t think that the big banks and corporations aren’t watching all this very closely and actively stepping in where they feel success: so in 2012 you’re likely to see a lot more happening in personal finance technology… we’re starting a new year, I appeal to you , to try to “get along” if you will, and explore ways to save time and money by using technology to your advantage.
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