High levels of financial stress can impact people’s wellbeing, with studies showing that there is a clear link between financial stress and depression. One study published in the Journal of Family and Economic Issues has given verisimilitude to the fact that there is a strong link between financial worries and psychological distress among adults in the US. This distress is stronger among people who are unmarried, unemployed, and who earn lower incomes and rent rather than own a home. Fortunately, people now have many more opportunities and resources to ace their financial game. From money management apps to AI-powered analytics, there are so many ways that technology can reduce stress and help people stay on top of financial matters.
Top Budgeting Apps to Use Right Now
Budgeting apps can save you time, ensure you don’t miss a single expense, and help you identify expense categories you are spending too much money on. Today, there are a host of budgeting apps that connect to your financial accounts, track spending, and categorize expenses, so you can identify overspending and make a sound budgeting strategy based on your needs and wants. These apps automatically sync with your bank accounts and create different expense categories, so you can clearly see where your money is going. Top apps that can help you start budgeting more effectively include Mint (a great all-rounder), YNAB (for zero-based budgeting), and Goodbudget (which follows the “envelope budgeting system”). These apps help you battle stress proactively, by giving you more control over how you spend your money and enabling you to feel organized, competent, and confident about your ability to live within your means and provide for yourself and/or your family.
DIY Tax Software
Tax is another big source of stress for people across the globe. As stated by The New York Times’ Jancee Dunn, money makes everyone nervous, and tax period in particular can make those who struggle with calculations and complex form-filling a real bugbear. To lower stress, many people rely on the aid of tax advisors. A customized plan with a tax advisor sets people back between $1,300 and $2,000, though this figure can be higher depending on where you live. If you are filing your tax in Canada and paying over $873,345 over your lifetime, you will also have to add the cost of an accountant, which can range from $30 to $400 per hour—quite a hefty sum. You can lower your cost significantly by relying on personal tax software. A typical package coasts less than $30 and covers simple federal tax returns. If you are investor, you can invest in slightly more expensive software, which will cost you less than double but help you maximize deductions and get your federal and one state return in place.
Blockchain Smart Contracts
Security of financial transactions can also be a worry. Many investors complete transactions online, and worry regarding the security of these transactions can wrest from one’s peace of mind. If you are a trader, investor, lender, or borrower, then you may already have signed more than one smart contract. These contracts are stored on the blockchain, and they boost security in a host of sectors—including real estate, gaming, and healthcare. Smart contracts are self-executing codes that carry out a set of instructions. For instance, if you are selling an NFT, then you can instruct the contract to pay you a commission every time the NFT is sold subsequently. For people who are accustomed to using cryptocurrencies or selling blockchain-based items, the security that can be afforded by the blockchain is second-to-none when it comes to guaranteeing peace of mind.
If you enjoy making your own investments, then having a little help from robo-advisors can go a long way. Because they are automated, these advisors offer services that can save you significant time and energy. Robo advisors charge you a percentage of what you invest. Usually, the fee stands at around 0.25% annually. As such, For instance, for every $20,000 you invest using their services, you pay around $50 per year. For EFT funds, meanwhile, you are typically charged between 0.08% and 0.15%. Robo advisors can help you by suggesting a portfolio of investments based on your time frame and risk tolerance. They can also automatically rebalance your investments to ensure your return and risk are matched throughout the year. Finally, they can aid in tax-loss harvesting. The latter involves selling an investment when you’ve lost funds, so you can reap tax benefits and offset future gains.
Digital Payments and Mobile Wallets
The vast number of digital payment options and mobile wallets has made financial transactions more convenient, with the added value of optimal safety. Being able to use Apple Pay or Google Pay at stores enables you to get your shopping done quickly, while reducing the need to carry and keep track of cards. It also removes the need to cancel cards that have been lost or stolen, or worry about carrying expired cards. The ease of smart payments enables you to spend more time with family and friends, which in itself is a big boon for your mental health.
Feeling like your financial situation is disorganized or under threat can be a major source of stress. Technology is paving a way to a far calmer, more secure state of mind. Just a few technologies that are making it easier to feel safe, secure, and organized include budgeting apps, smart contracts, robo advisors, and digital payments and mobile wallets. Together, they are freeing up the time of countless individuals, and making online interactions safer and more effective.