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Plan Well, Retire Well

Saving and investing your money

A New Financial World

Do you use your debit card daily? Do you check your bank balance online? Do you bank using a smart phone app? The pace of change in the financial world is dizzying. New isn't always better, but I do like learning new ways to simplify my financial life.

It can take awhile to adopt new habits, but often new technology can save time and help you manage your finances more easily. I'm comfortable using new technology to do the following tasks with money, Have you tried these?

  • Withdraw cash from an ATM versus from a bank or credit union teller.
  • Pay bills using an online payment system rather than mailing a check.
  • Compare prices for purchases on the Internet instead of driving to a variety of shops.
  • Pay for purchases with a debit or credit card rather than writing a check or carrying cash.
  • Sign-up to have regular bills (such as mortgage and insurance payments) automatically debited from your checking account.

The place I do most of my banking is a local institution. However, my college-age sons use an online bank that does not have a brick-and-mortar location; this works well for them. An online account can be very helpful to people who live in different locations during the year whether they are college students or snowbirds. Plus, it's available 24/7.

Recently I've added these new financial practices to my life. You might like to try these too.

  • Transfer money from one financial account to another using an electronic transfer.
  • Receive bills online rather than through the postal mail.
  • Deposit a check to an account with a smart phone app that takes a picture of the check.
  • E-file federal tax return.

Do you use the self-serve checkout at the grocery store? One of our local grocers has this option, but I still feel very uncomfortable using it. Every once in awhile, when I have just a few grocery items, I practice using the self-check system again. Financial habits, like most habits, take time to become accustomed to and require practice. Can you identify a financial habit or two that you'd like to add to your life? Here are a few more to consider.

  • Check financial account balances using a smart phone app or with a phone call.
  • Use an online budget website to track and budget expenses.
  • Use chat services online to resolve a problem with a purchase.

Not all new ways of handling finances fit each person's needs. It's wise to evaluate both the pros and cons before adopting new practices. But you may find that newer ways of doings things pay dividends. For example, when you manage your financial accounts online, you're free to shop for better interest rates even if the bank is in another state. Having bills automatically debited from your checking account can assure that you never pay another late fee. In our complex daily lives, finding ways to simplify our financial "life" is a plus.

Use the Comment link below to share new financial habits you've developed and to suggest ones I might like to use too!

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