Do you enjoy researching and buying the newest tech for your boat? Like most South Floridians, I do, and I often peruse the Electronics & Gear section of Southern Boating magazine or Yachting magazine to find the newest toy. Drone fishing? Sure, why not?
Just like staying up to date on the newest boating tech, I’m always keeping tabs on the latest tech in the financial world. I wanted to share with you some platforms, processes, and pitfalls of the latest fintech.
Fintech Tools to Supercharge Your Financial Plan
Cash flow is the lifeblood of your financial plan, and thankfully there are some pretty good tools available to you to help manage your income and expenses.
1. Cash Flow Management Tools
Popular example platforms are:
- YNAB (You Need A Budget);
- and Tiller Money.
- Banks like Chase or Wells Fargo also offer some cash flow analysis tools on their banking platforms.
These tools require you to link your accounts and will then categorize your inflows and outflows. While the classifications assigned to your expenses aren’t perfect, they are a helpful start. Be sure to keep an eye on the account links to make sure they don’t disconnect or go stale before you start any cash flow analysis.
Online investment platforms, or robo-advisors, were the talk of the town earlier this decade, with slick user interfaces and promises of massive disruptions to the investment management industry. It didn’t happen quite like that, but the platforms still offer value to consumers with a defined set of investment needs and uncomplicated situations.
Popular robo-advisor platforms include:
- and even discount brokerages like Schwab and Vanguard.
Be mindful of the investment strategies and risks of funds the platforms offer, the fees associated with the fund offerings, and how the robo-advisors treat your idle cash.
3. Cybersecurity Tips & Tools
Digital account statements and online storage are beautiful things (I do enjoy walking to the mailbox with my son after work, though). However, having all of your personal and financial information in the cloud introduces new cybersecurity and data risks.
While popular document storage platforms like Google Drive and Box have implemented cybersecurity protocols, other companies that collect your data may not be as secure. Plus, it’s all too easy to send personal information and documents unencrypted over email.
The low-hanging fruit to help tighten up your digital security is to:
- Introduce multifactor authentication for sensitive logins;
- implement a password manager;
- and make sure your antivirus software is always up to date.
You’ve Bought the Shiny New Object. Now What?
It’s easy to get wrapped up in the new, shiny object in tech (fin or otherwise), but all of these platforms and tools are useless without one important input: you. Will you take the time to learn all of the functionality, read the terms of service, and properly set up your accounts, preferences, and other data? If you have a drawer full of old instruction manuals somewhere, perhaps reconsider just how automated you want your financial life to be.
You will also want to develop a framework for how you will use the tools periodically. I’d recommend time-blocking or setting up recurring meetings so you don’t lose momentum after the first few tries. Include your significant other, or anyone intimately involved in your financial life.
Fintech platforms were designed to perform a specific set of tasks efficiently while offering a seamless and friendly user experience. And many do! However, the world’s slickest hammer can still only connect a nail to wood. It can’t help design the first floor so it has the home office you really wanted while also accommodating the kid’s playroom (preferably not side by side). In other words: While these fintech tools can be helpful, a real-life financial advisor also takes in account the emotional side of financial planning.
You will need to ask yourself if the recommendations generated by the fintech algorithms fit your full financial picture. How do they interact with other aspects of your financial life? Are these recommendations based on your current situation, and not where you want to be in five or ten years? What do you do if you have to care for an ill parent or child?
Want a Fintech Test Drive?
We use some serious fintech at our firm so we can craft holistic answers to your individualized questions about your finances. For instance, we use an interactive financial planning tool that lets clients rehearse future life scenarios, weigh risk and trade-offs to better inform their decisions, and make real-time changes to their financial plan. Click here if you want to learn more or give our tech a try.