The numbers don't lie: debt-to-income ratios have gone up with numerous consumers saving much, much less. 50 years ago, savings were at a 12% mark; today, we're looking at a measly 3%. That's a nasty drop. Moreover, you can see that the average incomes just don't offset the number of debt people is in these days -- the same five decades prior, the ratio was just 15% whereas people are now struggling at 22%. Not a lot of money to save, yes -- but here's the reason why.
Technology Has Truly Made It That Much Easier to Spend Your Money
Think about it. Long gone are the days when you had to wait in line at the grocery store with your shopping cart filled with produce, cartons of milk, and more, along with your checkbook to write out all your information on. The societal standard developing from that model was the age of the active shopper clipping coupons and energetically comparing products for the better buy, just to save some money.
Nowadays we have...
1-Click Checkout Technology
DIY Cash/Charge Transactions
Browser Credit Card Storage Capacity
Amazon Dash Buttons
And who knows what else... It's increasingly easier and easier to just go somewhere and buy something without even thinking about the fact that you're, well, actually buying something. Convenience is the new currency. And people are going into more and more debt because of it.
You can see that online shopping truly may be the culprit with Amazon helming the ship toward this metaphorical iceberg of financial downfall, thanks to the newest innovation technology will triumph within the Amazon GO store, a brick-and-mortar that allows you to simply walk into the store... And walk out with what you bought most likely at home on your phone.
However, the fact that it's easier to buy doesn't mean that we should buy more and more! Ultimately responsibility still does fall on the consumer to make the right decisions and not fall into the trap of going from "active shopper" to "mindless consumer."
This Is Why Technology Is Balancing That Corporate Convenience Model With Consumer Empowerment From a Personal Money Management Perspective
Chances are good you've seen a lot of these personal apps and platforms out there on iOS or Google Play. They emphasize the balance in the financial "Force" of money management: whereas businesses offer convenience and brand recognition for consumers, app companies boost what matters to the consumer: access.
When a consumer can access and manage their money more effectively, it allows them to be even smarter about what they have, what they should buy, what they should spend, and of course when they can spend it. With the increased ease of spending, there's increased ease of financial management without having to go to the bank, get a consultation, or balance a checkbook. These days this is all a consumer has to do now: sign up for one of these two apps:
Mint & Mindsight's
We're lucky to have this little beast featured by Intuit as a way to develop better financial habits. Technology has seen the writing on the wall. Consumers need more open eyes especially when shopping with such ease, and Mint makes it easier to budget when it matters.
The app was founded in 2006 with an eye to improve the metric that 37.8% of users do set monthly budgets and yet exceed them consistently. Self-control simply isn't there. To make it worse, 16.25% of that percentage exceed their budgets by an alarming 40% or more! That's a travesty.
With Mint and Mintsights, one of their advisory tools, people can access their bank, credit card and investment accounts with ease, plus receive free credit score information for easy monitoring. The Mintsights tool goes even further -- it actually feeds you tips and personalized advice based on your spending limits and budget requirements. When you're treading the line pretty much, this tool keeps you focused and on your toes.... Almost like having a personal financial adviser on staff 24/7 in your phone.
Best of all, the entire app is completely free. 20MM users currently have it downloaded for use.
This app goes on a different track, and you'll see honestly why it's important to have both this and the previous innovation: instead of being a budgeting app, this beast simply helps you save money. Taking the old-school practice of saving loose change makes way for technological automation, rounding up all your purchases from linked credit and debit cards and sweeping them all into a managed investment portfolio for savings growth.
The bonus with Acorns is that it tackles the demographic that matters: college students. This is where spending habits do matter. We learn early in our lives. The app is free for that demographic for obvious reasons: the obvious boost after four years may be the push a person needs to get off on the right financial foot.
This is especially the case when other investors pay typically a $1 fee per month on taxable investment accounts and even $2 a month for any individual retirement accounts. Making sure hardworking students don't have to pay anything is simply big bonuses especially when the entire process automates right under your nose. Case in point.... If you're not even thinking about saving (because it's being done for you), you're more likely to save a lot.
The Hope Is That With These Apps (and Quite Honestly Many, Many More), the Debt Trend Trickles Down
For sure this paints technological advancement on a positive note. We don't want technology to turn us into mindless zombies, of course! Especially when it involves our money. Be mindful.
Try these apps. Let's balance that consumer convenience with a bit of consumer personal financial management that makes you a master of your money wherever you are. Your income and revenue just might like you a whole lot more.
Any other apps that fit the bill from a technological standpoint and personal finance? YOU'RE WELCOME TO WRITE ALL ABOUT IT RIGHT ON VIGYAA WITH YOUR FREE ACCOUNT!