Automation Domination: Streamline Personal Finance

by Ryan Yates

Today, just about every type of financial institution offers online banking, automatic bill pay, automatic transfers, an easy-to-use website interface, and minimal-to-zero account fees.

Not only that, but almost every savings account, retirement plan, payment account, and bill that you receive has an option for automatic payment.

Even our church has begun to accept online automated giving.

No matter how many automated options are out there, the question still lies with you; are you ready to automate your personal finances?

Putting Your Personal Finances on Cruise Control

Automating your finances saves time. Whether it’s the routine daily transactions or the monthly savings contributions, automating these will put more time in your wallet.

When you create a sound financial automation strategy, you’ll begin to see improvement in many areas of your finances because your system will be making the right decisions for you.

Improving Your Savings – Do you want to save money, but you’re left with next to nothing at the end of every month? Instead of trying to save the leftovers of your budget at the end of the month, set up an automatic transfer at the beginning of your budget cycle when there’s more money to move around.

Go beyond a simple savings account. You can set up automatic transfers into your IRA, your 529 College Savings Plan, your vacation fund, your emergency fund, your house down payment, your car maintenance fund, and a host of other accounts that you might have.

Automating transfers takes the decision out of your hands every month. It helps to strengthen your financial self control by allowing you to make savings decisions when you’re of sound financial mind, and it continues to make the right decisions for you every 30 days.

An automatic money transfer doesn’t have to decide whether or not to save this month or blow your cash on stuff you might not even use.

Paying Bills On Time . . . Forever – If you’ve ever missed a due date, automating online bill payments just might be your saving grace. Automating your bill payments will ensure that you never miss another due date, never incur another late fee, and never lose a low interest rate because you forgot to pay on time.

For me, it was hard to want to automate bill payments at first. My conspiracy-driven mind assumed that mistakes could run rampant. I worried that I would get over charged or that automatic payments would be impossible to keep up with.

After more than 7 years being fully automated, I can tell you that it’s truly more difficult to ignore your payment information than it is to miss something pertaining to your payments.

Emails, text alerts, phone calls, and snail mail keep me updated and informed on anything and everything to do with my automatic payments.

Automating Opposition

No matter what sort of strategy you use, can we all agree that it takes a certain amount of self control to steer your personal finances toward success?

Sure, if you nitpick enough you can find flaws in any system for any topic anywhere in the world. And with a quick internet search of ‘automating your finances‘, you’ll quickly find that there’s plenty of people for and against this seemingly practical system of personal finance.

The reason nothing is foolproof is because every financial plan is dependant on its user, and we all make mistakes from time to time.

The opposition to automating your personal finances says that taking away your attention from your monthly budget can lead to distractions, disconnections from your financial situation, and overspending due to these factors.

This might be a possible outcome, but the likelihood of overspending due to automation still depends on your self control as an individual.

I look at it like this; for me, automating my necessary monthly transfers and payments gives me an extra financial safety net. And each month I find ways to encourage myself and increase my self control and dedication to a positive financial future.

So what’s your story? Which side of the Automation Fence are you living on?

Photo By i_yudai


krantcents December 7, 2011 at

I put some of bills on automatic, however I like to review them before I ppay my bills each month.

Kristine December 8, 2011 at

I don’t agree that an automatic approach to personal finances builds a gap between you and your financial situation. There are just so many things to keep in mind, that one day you may feel overwhelmed and wake up with a bunch of late payment fees. I’ve been using to keep track of my daily expenses and set my monthly budgets. Definitely a personal finance software can’t solve all of your problems, but at least it this takes care of the basic things while I can concentrate on the most important financial issues.

Adam December 25, 2011 at

While I do not have all my bills on automatic payment, I am a huge fan of automated savings plans. I have the transfers occur just a day or two after I get paid, and my checking account appears bloated, while towards the end of a pay period my account may look slim (just encourages me to spend less), it is a lot more painful to log into one of my savings accounts with the intention to transfer money back to my checking than it ever does to transfer the money to savings.

Great post, and you are right I have had next to no complaints about automated payments/ transfers.

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