Ever wondered what happened to all your money just a few days after you were paid? Or, what kind of expenses you’ll need to cut down on so you can start saving for something significant?
You’re not alone! In fact, a MarketWatch report in 2017 found that almost half of the households in America currently live from paycheck to paycheck. To top it off, a third of these people have less than USD500 in savings and about 19% of them have nothing at all to fall back on in case of a financial emergency.
When you think about it, a major reason why you bleed financially is the lack of a detailed budget. A Gallup poll found that only one in three Americans have a household budget in place that includes savings and investment goals.
The New Reality of Financial Management
These are pretty poor numbers when you consider the fact that everyone wants to save and be financially strong at all times. Earlier, you may have had to consult with a financial planner, an advisor, or even a John/Jane Doe from your bank to make informed decisions about your finances.
But, the advent of the internet and continuous technological advancements have made this a thing of the past and “FinTech” the buzzword for the present and the future. Born out of the need to make financial services and products a matter of convenience, fintech firms are beginning to revolutionize every aspect of financial management – the first major step being budgeting.
Setting Up and Maintaining a Budget
Gone are the days when you had to type in all your expenses on a spreadsheet and be good at math to keep a tab. Today, tracking whatever you spend is as easy as navigating a couple of screens on your smartphone without needing to be good with numbers.
Fintech apps can now help you set your financial goals, track your investments, and even review your statements. For instance, Mint gives you a glimpse of your financial status and helps you assess multiple saving options.
You can set your budget limits in each category and sync your bank account with the app for automatic updates. With a focus on complete security, Mint also provides 24/7 protection where you can remotely delete your personal information if your phone gets stolen.
Another budgeting app you could try is Toshl Finance. Known to keep things simple and interactive, this fintech tool is popular among the younger people.
But, the world of fintech goes beyond budgeting apps. Whether you’re looking to borrow money for personal reasons or need a credit card, fintech apps have put most financial products and services at the touch of a button.
You can now apply for credit cards, personal loans, or even home loans on an app. To begin with, you can choose from multiple products, get one that suits your spending habits, and make sure that it’s in line with your financial needs. The great part about it is that the entire process is convenient and entirely paperless in most cases.
There’s no need to fret even if you don’t know a thing about these products. You could read up on card reviews, personal finance basics, and debt management tips to be more financially aware. You could even learn about what constitutes your credit score and how you can always keep it on the up.
Handling Everyday Expenses
With fintech apps in town, you don’t need to carry cash around anymore. From paying for groceries to receiving money from someone, online wallets have made day-to-day transactions completely hassle-free.
When compared to the conventional way of exchanging cash, online wallets help you keep a record of all transactions and is much safer to use as there’s no possibility of theft. You can also connect your wallet with your personal account and your credit or debit card for instant payments.
Growing Your Wealth
Investing has never been easier with the advent of fintech apps. Acorns and FinHabits are two popular tools that are meant for basic investing needs. While Acorns focuses on low-cost micro investments like exchange-traded funds, FinHabits is dedicated to finding you options that help you save for the long run – your retirement.
If you need a more personal touch, you could try chatbot-based apps like Penny or Change to learn more about your personal finances. If you’re not one for saving on your own, then you could check out automated saving apps like Qapital or Digit.
Being Aware of Your Credit Situation
A major part of staying financially aware is to know everything about your credit situation—credit score and history—at all times. So, if you need help with credit monitoring, apps like Credit Karma and Credit Sesame have got you covered.
These apps give you a comprehensive overview of your entire credit report and help you understand each aspect of it. This way, you can stay prepared if you’re planning to borrow money for one reason or another.
To sum things up, fintech players may have come into the picture as digital disruptors to the financial world. But, as things get more convenient and simple, it will become the norm rather than the exception.
In such a situation, it only makes sense that banks work in tandem with fintech players than see them as competition. With increased access and convenience, you can keep a tab on your entire financial portfolio and manage your overall finances in a much better way.
This article is written by Archana Permi and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Free Press Journal.