The following post is by MPFJ staff writer, Grayson Bell. Grayson, who runs the finance blog Debt Roundup, is a fan of personal finance, brewing beer, and working on cars.
There is no doubt we are a technically advanced society.
Almost everything we do revolves around technology. Some of our biggest advancements have spawned from the evolution of technology.
Just look at what the smartphone has done to our society. We are now instantly connected with people from anywhere. Not only that, but we can surf the web with a flick of our finger. The smartphone has almost killed the pay and home phone. They also allow us to get information quickly and easily. The same goes with email. Look at what it has done to our communication. The need for letters and mail has been reduced dramatically as we no longer have to write and send communications through “snail” mail. We can instantly shoot a reply right to your computer with a few clicks of a mouse.
By all standards, technology has allowed us to do some amazing things. We have been able to advance our healthcare, build better products and services, and the list goes on. While we all might think technology is the best thing since sliced bread, I do believe there is an evil side to technology. I think it is not always the answer.
Where Technology Goes Wrong
Don’t get me wrong, I love technology. My main job is revolved around it. I wouldn’t be able to blog like I do everyday without it. I do think it is an important aspect of our everyday lives, but it is not every part. At least not in mine. Over time, I feel we have lost some of our ability to comprehend what we learn around us.
Before technology was in mass, we had to absorb the lessons all around us. We would learn from other people right next to us. We would learn most of our skills from our parents, friends, teachers, and family members. We would think for ourselves and come to our own conclusions. I think technology has dumbed that down quite a bit. Have you ever been in a conversation with people who couldn’t answer any questions without looking them up in Google? Well, I have and it is utterly frustrating. I have met people where they couldn’t come to a conclusion to something without checking what people on Twitter said.
I am all for being connected, but it has been pushed to a point where we have lost our ability to think and comprehend for ourselves. Now we have to throw stuff out to the social world and see if they can help. Technology has slowly become the downfall of our basic communication skills.
How Technology Inhibits Us Financially
I have written before about how managing money is all about basic math. There is nothing fancy about it. This number plus this number minus this number. We all think we understand math, but I have seen otherwise.
With the influx of great financial technology like Mint.com or YNAB, we do not have to handle reconciling our money anymore. We can create a budget in software and have it hook to our bank accounts. We set up spending limits and then call it a day. The software takes care of the rest and notifies us when we are going wrong. I loved these services and still use Mint.com today. The difference between now and when I was first in debt is how I manage my money before I even look at Mint.
Now, I go back to basic math. I have brought the skill back where I can calculate how much items will be with tax before I even check out. I was never good at math in school. It didn’t interest me and I didn’t care. After I got into debt, numbers started to jump out at me. I looked everywhere to find numbers and found them in the strangest places. After a few years of getting back on my feet, I realized I had taught myself how to do complex math problems in my head on the fly. The better part is I could do basic math problems really quickly without the need of technology or calculators.
In order to get your finances back in shape, don’t be worried about stepping away from technology and relying on what your brain tells you. Remember, basic math will take you all the way you need to go with finances. If you need any complicated equations, then think about using a calculator or even put your finances in the trusty spreadsheet. Yes, it is technology, but you have to do all of the work and come up with how the math equations are run. I use spreadsheets for most of my numbers. Not only does it become a great budget spreadsheet, but it also is a fantastic math learning tool.
Technology is not always the answer to all of our problems. We have to remember technology was created by people who thought outside of the box and applied things they had stored in their brains. I do believe too much technology does make us a little dumbed down than we should be. Unfortunately, I have come across too many people that back up my statement. If we continue to over complicate how we manage our money, we might not ever understand the real reason we are having money troubles. Technology is going to be a part of our lives, but it doesn’t have to be every part.
How about you all? For your finances, are there certain areas where you prefer to do thing “the old fashion way?”
What technological tools do you use in your finances?
Share your experiences by commenting below!
***Photo courtesy of https://www.flickr.com/photos/katerha/5520292679/sizes/l