According to Dictionary.com, “automation” is the technique, method, or system of operating or controlling a process by highly automatic means, as by electronic devices, reducing human intervention to a minimum. In layman’s terms, automation means you set up a system to run automatically, taking out the need for consistent, manual actions.
Automation can be set up in any area of your life! Today, we’re focusing on automation for your finances. Checkout how you can automate your finances in 5 steps. Automation makes your life so much smoother, so don’t procrastinate getting your systems up and running!
What Can Be Automated?
Before we get into how to automate your finances, let’s talk about what financial aspects of your life can be automated. If you work for an employer, or your business has a payroll company, the income you received can be automated. This happens through the process of direct deposit. Your income for the pay period is automatically placed in your bank account (or accounts). This means you don’t have to take your paper paycheck to the bank!
Thanks to automatic bill pay, your bills can be put on automation. You set up the day you want the amount due for the bill to come out of your account, and voila…your bill is paid, without you having to do a thing.
Technology is an amazing thing! There are now robo-advisors that invest your money for you. You can set up a certain amount of money be transferred to your investment account, and the robo-advisor will invest it for you, based on your goals. This takes the need for an actual advisor (or you) to manage your account. It also reduces the fees associated with the account.
Lastly, your savings transfers can be automated. You can set up a recurring transfer from your checking account to your savings account. You get to dictate the amount transferred and the frequency of the transfers.
How to Automate Your Finances in 5 Steps
#1 – Create your budget plan to understand your situation
Now that you know what can be automated, let’s move into how you can start automating your finances! The first step of the process is manual (don’t roll your eyes). In order for your automation efforts to be effective, you need to know what you can afford to automate and when. To know that information, you need a budget plan.
Create a budget plan, based on the month, or your pay periods, and make sure you know how much income you have to allocate to your expenses. Your budget should outline when you get paid and when your bills are due. When you know this information, you can match up your pay periods to the bill due dates.
You never want to be in a position where automatic bill-pay tries to take money out of your account that isn’t there! That will lead to fees, late payments, and unnecessary stress. Your budget will give you the path to follow for setting up all of the other automations of your finances.
#2 – Open the appropriate accounts for your situation (if necessary)
Now that you know what needs to come out and when, you’ll want to make sure you have the proper bank accounts opened for your situation. At minimum, you’ll need a checking and a savings account. However, if you are saving for multiple goals, you’ll want a savings account for each goal you have.
This is a manual process as well, but thankfully, it’s one and done. Once you have the accounts you need opened, you’ll be able to set up your automatic transfers and deposits accordingly.
#3 – Set up direct deposit into the accounts
With all of your proper accounts opened, it’s time to set up your direct deposit. Your employer (or your business’ payroll company) should offer the ability for your income to be deposited into your bank account. Some employers allow for deposits into multiple accounts. This makes your life easy!
Set up your direct deposit into the accounts you need consistent deposits in. This would be your checking account, or accounts, as well as your savings accounts. Refer to your budget to make sure you have the proper amount being deposited into each account.
If your employer doesn’t have direct deposit capabilities, or only allows you to deposit into one account, you won’t have the ability to fully automate where your income goes. However, you can set up automatic transfers within your bank to send amounts to your other accounts on payday. This would be your next option.
#4 – Set up automatic bill pay based on your budget
Once all of your direct deposits (or automatic transfers) are set up, you’ll want to get your automatic bill pay set up. You can do this through your bank for all bills, or you can do it through each of your bill companies’ websites. I’d recommend the latter.
While it’s a little more work setting up bill pay with all of your bill companies, it guarantees that they have your billing information on file. That means if something ever happened with your bank’s bill pay system, the billing company would still be able to get their payment.
Either option is fine, so leveraging my recommendation is not necessary!
#5 – Open a low-cost investment account and set up your transfers
Finally, the last step to automate your finances is to open a low-cost investment account that functions with “robo-advisors”. Companies like Betterment, Robinhood, Wealthfront and Acorns are all good examples of robo-advisor investment accounts.
I have been using Betterment for years and I would highly recommend them! You get to dictate how much you want transferred to your investment account and when. From there, Betterment’s robo-advising platform invests your money on your behalf. Investing is one of the best ways to build wealth, so whether you automate it or not, it’s a necessity!
Why Wouldn’t You Want to Automate?
There you have it! You learned how to automate your finances in 5 steps! If you’re wondering why you should automate your finances, my question to you is why wouldn’t you automate your finances?! If you can take some of the responsibility of remembering bills and due dates off your plate, you certainly should.
Automation helps you create a flowing system with your finances, and allows you to focus your energy and brainpower on other things. I’m not saying automation is always fool-proof, but it is a lot less work than doing everything on your own.
If you’re struggling to allocate your income properly, schedule a free consultation with me now and let’s work through it together!
Related: 7 Ways to Organize Your Finances
Automating your finances can make your financial life so much easier! Do you currently automate any aspect of your finances? If so, which aspects? Do you have any other ways a person can automate their finances? Share your thoughts, tips and experiences by posting a comment below!