This is a guest post by Patty Moore, a blogger writes about careers, family, and personal finances. Follow Patty on Twitter @WorkMomLife!
Automate everything from saving for retirement, to paying bills, even staying in touch with family
If you’re still not automating bills, investments, and some of your emails, then you’re wasting a lot of time and brainpower on things that you need to stop worrying about. Your time is precious, and you don’t have to waste it on every little task. Automation is the answer. It might sound a little overwhelming to begin with, but for a busy or forgetful person, automating certain things is a true life saver.
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What is Automation, anyway?
Automation is the act of setting up an automatic system to take care of tasks that you would normally handle yourself. Examples include bill payments, bank transfers, or even emails. Chances are, there are plenty of things that you’re doing daily or even weekly that can easily be automated so you can move onto more important tasks.
So Why Should You Automate Things?
Well, the truth is, automation can lower your stress levels, free up time, and even free up more money. When you automate recurring bills, you release yourself from worrying to make sure you pay it by the deadline and you avoid late fees. Sometimes companies even offer discounts for setting up automatic drafts! You can automate your bank transfers and drafts too. When it comes to finally starting that savings account you’ve been talking about all year? Automatically draft 10% of your paycheck to a private savings account. Savings? Done. And you never have to think about it again.
Money is the easiest thing to automate in this day and age, but there’s a ton more ways to save money and stress with automation. Let’s talk about some different things that can be automated:
Your Bills and Loan Payments
Companies actively encourage automating loans and bills because they don’t have to send reminder calls out to you, you don’t have that five dollar late charge, and there’s never an interruption in service. The main thing people worry about with automatically drafted payments is that it will cause bounced checks or overdrafts, but many companies have created programs to help you manage your automatic payments.
These companies will send you a warning either by text or by email saying that they will be drafting your account for the bill on or before a certain date. Often, you’ll then have the option to cancel the automatic draft temporarily, reschedule it, or pay early. These kinds of options give you total control over your bills being paid without the hassle of having to remember when all of your bills are due. Just be careful. If you are not on top of your bank account, then you could end up over drafting your account which would lead to more problems.
Savings Plans and Retirement
The easiest way to have a savings account and continuously put money in it is to have that savings money automatically drafted from your account, and the best time to do this is right after payday. Using your paycheck to directly fund your savings account takes the guesswork out of building your “rainy day fund” and allows you to truly set it and forget it. Saving for retirement can be the same way.
With a Roth IRA account, you can set up automatic drafts as frequently as you want to add to your retirement fund. If you have a retirement age in mind, an online advisor can help you calculate just how much you would need to deposit into your Roth IRA account per year, month, or even day to reach your savings goal. Moreover, there are several other accounts where online advisors can help. For instance, you can invest in stocks, ETF, and some bonds.
Emails, Facebook Posts, and More
It’s easy to automate your emails from setting filters for incoming emails or saving templates for emails you send all the time. Social media can also be automated. Don’t tell your family I said this, but you can automate talking and keeping up with them, too. If you’ve got a big family and you find it difficult to keep up with sending birthday, anniversary, and graduation cards, you can setup automated emails and social media posts at the beginning of every month or whenever you like. If you’re not a social media person, there are apps such as Brewster. These apps organize your contacts by frequency of communication, allowing you to see the email history and social media history for each of your contacts; they also provide notifications to remind you about old friends and messages.
No matter how much free time you think you have, there is always more time available to you. All you have to do is set up some automations to take care of the little details in life from paying bills to saving money. With things like automatic drafts, email templates, and reminder apps, you can streamline your life and get technology to work for you.