Money and Machinery: How Has Technology Impacted Our Finances?
A few weeks ago I went to a museum featuring life and society in the 1800â€™s. Seeing the stark contrasts between life then and now got me thinking about how the technological developments that have happened in that span of time have impacted the way we handle daily tasks.
Some have said that there have been more technological changes in the last 100 years than in the previous 1,000 years before that. Certainly such changes have impacted every aspect of our lives, from travel to dining to housing to healthcare. Despite the obvious inflation that has occurred since the 1800â€™s, there have also been developments in how we make, manage and spend our money as a result of technological developments. Here are my thoughtsâ€¦
Earning: People today are finding many new ways to make a living than they did in the past. Such job titles as webmaster and blogger certainly did not exist when our kindergarten teachers first asked us the question, â€œWhat do you want to be when you grow up?â€ Between experts that develop the new technologies weâ€™ve come to depend on and those of us that employ that technology to make a part- or full-time income, people are earning money in ways that were never dreamed of in the past.
Spending: With the increase in technology, consumers have many more options when it comes to spending their money. I see this having an impact on two fronts: how consumers spend their money and what they spend their money on. Online shopping has revolutionized the way individuals compare prices between stores and actually make many important purchases. Avoiding crowded stores and the pressure of sales people, shoppers can now make purchases on their own time from their own homes. Technological gadgets, such as iPods, cell phones and GPS devices, also provide many tempting ways for shoppers to spend their money. With constant innovations and updated products, consumers have plenty to choose from, whether theyâ€™re shopping for business or pleasure.
Money Management: The days of going to the bank for every transaction are seemingly gone! With the option of Web banking and surge of online bill payment, paper checks are nearly obsolete and human contact is virtually eliminated from the equation. Picking up the phone to speak with a broker is also not nearly as common as it was in the past, as traders use sites like E-trade to get real-time stock information and make immediate trades. Aside from the obvious convenience offered by these high-tech options, many vendors also offer benefits such as lower interest rates for those using online bill payment and the cost of stock trades now averages $7 rather than the $60 charged in the past.
Finance Information: True to its name, in this information age knowledge is literally at our fingertips. Websites such as 22Dollars and Yahoo Finance seek to provide immediate access to stock prices and investment advice. Individuals also have access to their bank account status, credit card balance and other financial facts 24/7. With this overflow of information, however, itâ€™s more important than ever for individuals to keep a critical eye and use caution to avoid letting private information get into the wrong hands.
My question to you is: has technology helped or hurt our financial situation? Iâ€™d love to hear your thoughts!