Life gets busy and complex. You have a huge project due at work. You are taking a night class and have an exam next week. Johnny needs to go to basketball practice. Jenny is late for her ballet class. And your parent’s health is not doing well.
You are just trying to survive so the last thing on your mind is money. You are late on a few bills and you keep postponing investing for retirement. Fortunately, there some things you can do with a few clicks of your computer’s mouse. You can leverage today’s technology to automate many pieces of your financial picture. And most can be done using your basic checking account and your bank’s online bill pay service.
Here are 5 ways to make financial health automatic:
- Automate giving. Most non-profit organizations give you the ability to set up recurring gifts on their website. You usually can also do this from your bank’s online bill pay service. For example, if you desire to give 10% of your gross (before taxes) paycheck to your church, first calculate the amount you wish to give (for a $1,000 paycheck, this is $1,000 x .10 = $100). Next, note the frequency you wish to give (determined by paycheck frequency). Then, find the address where you want the gift to go. Fill out this information on the online bill pay site, and most banks will cut a check on your behalf and send it to the church. Of course, check with your bank and church before setting this up.
- Automate savings. If you have struggled to set aside 6 months of savings, consider setting up an automatic transfer from your checking account to a savings account. So that you are not tempted to spend the money, have it transferred as soon as your paycheck hits your checking account.
- Automate retirement. Some organizations offer a 401(k) or a 403(b). You are able to make pre-tax contributions to these retirement accounts from every paycheck. If this is offered, talk to your human resources department to figure out what steps are needed to set it up. If your organization does not offer a retirement account, you can still automate your retirement. Set up a Roth IRA, which take after-tax dollars, and have contributions set up through your bank’s online bill pay service.
- Automate bills. Never miss a bill by setting up automatic bill pay. Many companies allow you to do this. Once the bill is due, the bill will deduct that amount from your checking account. Of course, you need to make sure there is enough money in the account for the company to deduct.
- Automate debt payments. Don’t forget to make additional debt payments to reduce your debt load more quickly. Simply set up an additional amount to pay each month through you bank’s online payment service, and watch your debt go away.
Life is busy and complex. Fortunately, today’s technology can simplify your finances. Leverage online systems to automate your giving, savings, retirement, bill pay, and debt payments. Let today’s technology be a benefit to your financial future.