Internet access has changed everything about how we live. It affects how we shop, eat, sleep, work and vacation. One aspect of everyday life that it has had a huge impact on, however, is our finances.
The world of personal finance has evolved in leaps and bounds over the past decade or two, and this is almost entirely due to the evolution of how we get online.
Below, you'll find a list of four of the most significant ways that technology has completely changed the way that we handle our personal finances.
This one is so commonplace now that you might not have even considered it at the start of this article. It can be difficult for anyone under 30 to truly remember what it was like to have to perform banking services at an actual brick-and-mortar institution.
Online banking has completely revolutionized the finance industry. Big banks and small credit unions alike now offer customers access to online account reviews, and many of the larger institutions have smartphone apps that enable instant balance checks, money transfer and other useful services.
A lot of people may take this for granted now, but it was only in the not-so-distant past that people would have to make time to drive to a bank or call a service desk to do these simple tasks.
Paying bills online is another way that technology has completely changed the way we handle finances. The thought of having to write a check or obtain a money order to send by mail is absurd to most of us now, and younger generations don't even have a concept of paying bills any other way.
Being able to see and pay bills with a few simple clicks means that you can eliminate the worry of making payments on time, avoid "convenience fees" for paying over the phone and stay up-to-date with automatic payment scheduling.
Learning to manage your finances is not an easy task, but prior to the internet, your options were to struggle alone with paper budgets or spend time and money consulting with a financial advisor.
MoneyManagement.org notes that technology has made creating good financial habits much simpler by introducing tools that are easy to understand and even easier to use.
Personal finance apps and websites are now readily available to help anyone manage his or her finances whether it's by creating a budget, offering ways to make informed choices or simply making sure bills are paid on time.
Because technology can connect people across states, continents and time zones, this means that there are so many more possibilities surrounding what can be accomplished in the financial sector.
A single person with a business idea can be connected with an investor halfway across the globe to make that dream a reality without the hassle and fees of going through a traditional bank.
Online-based companies like Uber and Airbnb give average people the ability to make extra income by connecting them with those who need rides or rooms for rent.
The San Diego Financial Literacy Center also points out that technology has made it possible for people to participate in all kinds of activities to earn extra cash or pursue a dream.
With the way that online technology is constantly growing and adapting to our needs, there is a good chance that, if you have a personal finance problem, there's at least one solution available or in the works.
There are currently platforms that cater to a broad variety of financial needs, including issues such as:
From online banking to better financial hygiene, there is no question that technology has played an integral role in the evolution of personal finance. The constant state of connectivity we live in has made it much easier to for people to manage their finances, make some extra cash and solve money problems they may not have even realized that they had in the first place.
As for what the future holds, nobody can say for sure. However, it's obvious that traditional banking institutions will have to seriously rethink how they provide goods and services to the general public if they want to have any real chance of keeping up with the financial technology revolution.