The typical middle-class American family is not prepared for a major financial shock.
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I was “hanging out” with some lady friends a few weeks back. And the discussion came up about banking and using online banking. Of course, I had to weigh in on this discussion.
One lady expressed that she was upset that Social Security was about to require electronic deposits for Social Security funds. She was upset by this change, and further, she noted would never trust using the internet for banking.
Change is hard! I expect that when Henry Ford introduced a motorized vehicle, that many expected that invention would never take hold. Look at us now! At the time, I expect it took a little while for that horseless carriage idea to catch on.
In the early 1940s, women worked primarily in the home and were the primary child bearers and caretakers. With the advent of WWII, a much greater need came about for women to leave the homes and go to work in all sorts of industries supporting families and the war effort for the United States. And I would venture a guess that the multitude of ways women make a difference in & outside the home since that time have multiplied exponentially – think Melissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo! Yet, it was likely difficult for some of those women of the 1940s to leave the home and learn a trade, go in to an office to work, and contribute in a different way.
I grew up in a simpler time as well. In the 60s, there were no cell phones, no computers, and no computer games. I remember a time when we didn’t even have a television in our home – we couldn’t afford one. We had to actually talk to one another, go outside to play in the neighborhood, use our fingers to dial a telephone, and once we got a TV, we had to get out of our chair to change a television channel. My daughter today has no concept of this. Change is hard.
I was an Office Manager in the 90s when the fax machine was ‘born.’ Now I think of the fax as antiquated technology. Likely, many of us balked at moving from receiving our wages in cash, to receiving a hand-written paycheck. Then we moved to a typewritten paycheck, still hand-delivered. Today, it is all automated – the money gets into our accounts faster than ever before with the same or better accuracy, because of technology. Change is hard.
I expect folks in my age range (notice I’ve gone from a certain age, to a “range”) – in our 50s and more mature– are somewhat divided on technology. Some are very ”techknowlegeable,” and some are not. Making that change is, no doubt, difficult. As few as five years ago I absolutely refused to try or use LinkedIn or Facebook. I’m now regularly using both, learning Twitter, and using Klout, and even blogging in and outside my bank.
I continue to advocate, even gently encourage, my fellow 50-somethings to consider using the internet – and in particular, online banking & bill pay. It is not going away. In terms of safety and the risk management of using such things as online banking and bill pay, everyone must be diligent. I am confident the same was said of using dollar bills instead of gold pieces, checks instead of dollar bills, mail instead of hand delivered payments. Give careful consideration to learning to use the internet for your banking needs. I use a colleague’s example. His son is in his 30’s and has lived all across the country, including New York City. He has been with the same bank since college, and he has never set foot inside a brick & mortar building. (By the way, did you know you can open a checking account online and apply for a mortgage online!?) Change is hard – yet, it is all around us.
You have heard me share some of the positives of moving to online banking & bill pay – the most precious to me, is the time I have back in my life. I also just got a discount on my personal car insurance by moving to electronic statements – one less piece of mail to track. Sometimes it doesn’t take much to make me excited. And yet, change is, indeed hard.
What names are on your checking account? This sounds like a pretty simple question, but you would be surprised how many people are unclear about it. If you are married, perhaps you do not have both you and your spouse on the same account. There are many reasons why this may be the case. Maybe you and your spouse have separate accounts. Perhaps when you opened the account, the other person wasn't present or maybe you have had major life changes. There can be many reasons why.
Think back to when you opened your account one, five, 15 or more years ago. Is everything the same as it was back then? Have you revisited your account set up to ensure your account reflects the stage of life you're in now? Let's discuss why it might be important to do a quick review of your accounts. It's something that may take you a few minutes, but can be very worthwhile.
Account titling can be something that we would be glad to help you with at your local MutualBank Financial Center. You should have an account review on at least a yearly basis to make sure your present life situation is reflected in your bank accounts. This is very important as banking becomes more dependent on electronic banking, such as mobile banking, online banking, etc. Also, as an estate planning tool, you need to be sure that your assets pass to who you want them to go to in the event of an unexpected tragedy. This is important whether you are 18 or 80!
Let us at MutualBank help you live a better life!