If you thought technology is only for the geeks, think again. Technology can be a good tool to help you manage your finances better, provided it is safe and secure.
Technology is no longer an option but a necessity given that managing your finance includes tracking your expenses like credit cards, EMIs, utility payments, insurance payments as also investments like SIPs in multiple schemes of different mutual funds. "Managing personal finance becomes much easier if one is tech savvy and uses the various available applications and portals,'' advises Mr Sachin D., CEO, CFOSME Corporate Services.
Technology helps to save time and effort. "Besides, it also helps to lower the cost of transaction while giving you a snapshot view of all the data in one place,'' says Mr Arnav Pandya, CFP and financial advisor.
There are several free and paid applications available online and in the market. For instance, applications for expense management include Expensify, Spending Tracker, Visual Budget. Similarly, there are many applications for tracking share prices, your mutual fund portfolio, etc.
Given the plethora of applications and software available in the market, individuals are confused which is the best application or software. Experts suggest that we should first list our needs and then choose the product that fits best, depending on the features of the particular product.
"One of the biggest challenges for the user is the initial capturing of all the existing data and the subsequent updating of the data to capture the ongoing transactions,'' points our Mr Harsh Roongta, CEO, Apnapaisa.com.
Incidentally, many companies offer personal finance software solutions that automatically connect with all banks and credit card accounts of the users. "Our strength is the automatic fetching of data and the automatic reading of e-statements. You don't need to type the data manually. Our software can search for data from among 250 different institutions and can read 900 types of e-statements,'' says Mr Aditya Prasad, chief evangelist, Perfios.
Another point of concern is regarding safety and security of all the information of his or her finances. "Although several sophisticated tools are available in the market place, but the level of adoption is still quite low due to, among others, privacy and security issues,'' points out Mr Roongta.
In order to be safe rather than sorry, it is advisable that the user takes all the precautions that he or she would take while using online banking facilities such as protection of password and encryption of data. "The user must check for valid safety certificates of verifications and audits,'' advises Mr Prasad.
Besides, given that machines can be unpredictable at times, there is a danger of losing all the data if the hard drive crashes. "It is advisable that we take a physical back-up, at least one print out of each statement and file the same,'' advises Mr Pandya. The data could also be uploaded on to the cloud or personal mail.
Technology is an enabler that helps us to utilise our finances better and maximise our returns from investments.