In fact, while it’s true that earlier versions of personal money tools required customers to spend a lot of time tediously categorizing transactions, today there is a completely new and improved generation of streamlined, powerful digital financial tools at your disposal.
Ready to take the leap into your personal financial future? Read on…
Why a digital finance strategy?
Money matters are central to our lives and well-being. Yet a survey by MyBankTracker found nearly a third of Americans spend no time at all managing their finances on a weekly basis. And 20% of American adults spend more time planning their vacations than managing their money.
Further, a third of Americans don’t have a family budget and 58% have less than $1,000 in savings.
Can technology turn this state of affairs around?
Absolutely, insists Kimberly Palmer, a personal finance expert with NerdWallet.
"Using a digital strategy helps us automate a lot of the work of managing your personal finances," she says. "It takes a lot of the work out of our heads and puts it on the computer or phone, which is basically doing that front work for us."
Why is now the time to adopt one?
Financial tools have made big strides over the last several years. Early versions of apps and websites made consumers label each transaction. Many weren’t updated promptly or had connection issues. Newer solutions have adapted to the smartphone age.
"Tools are constantly being improved and built upon and innovated," Palmer says. "What's available today is much more sophisticated than the kinds of tools we saw even a few years ago."
How do you know what’s right for you?
The best digital tools for you will depend on your comfort level with technology and your overall needs. “Where’s the hole in your finances?” Bankrate Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Analyst Greg McBride asks. “Where do you need that extra bit of motivation?”
- Budgeting apps. This is, by far, the largest category of digital financial tools available. Generally, budgeting apps not only track your transactions and balances but allow you to see big picture visual representations of your spending. “If you’re paying cash for things, that’s going to require input on your part,” McBride says, “but for credit cards and debit cards that you’re using, the apps are geared to monitor those types of transactions.”
- Saving apps. From rounding up your transactions and depositing the spare change to setting up auto deposits to suggesting smart ways to utilize extra income, savings apps simplify the process of changing your money habits—which can, in turn, change your life.
- Investing apps. Investing apps can empower even a beginner with a small balance to jump into the investing game. “One of the key motivators here is the ability to get started without having an existing nest egg,” McBride says. “That’s unequivocally positive because it helps people get into the game earlier and dispels this notion that it’s not worth considering unless you have a lot of money to invest.”
- Your bank’s apps. If you’re comfortable with your bank, you can use that as your digital financial home base. “You already have so many of your accounts and transactions under that one roof,” McBride says. “It would be easy to incorporate all of that into one solution.”
See what your bank has available to you before you look elsewhere for digital help. PNC’s Virtual Wallet ®, for example, offers a budgeting tool, a calendar that displays upcoming auto deposits and payments, and a Savings Engine® that allows you to make automatic transfers to your Reserve or Growth accounts regularly. You can track progress toward goals and move money around as needed.
Using digital and mobile tools to help you get a grip on your finances isn’t just smart—it’s increasingly necessary. “It’s like outsourcing your personal finance work,” Palmer says. “It just makes it easier for you, as a consumer, to keep track of everything.”
Looking for a fresh perspective or expert advice? Schedule an appointment with a PNC Specialist and discuss your financial opportunities.