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Investing Basics

The Benefits of Automating Investing

How much time do you spend on your personal finances? Chances are it’s too much time. Automation is the answer

Articles by Betterment Editors

By the Editorial Staff
Betterment Resource Center  |  Published: January 18, 2013

If you include everything in your financial plan – the everyday stuff like paying bills and transferring money; the longer term items like saving for future vacations or figuring out a smarter budget; or the big, life items like paying down your mortgage or investing for retirement – chances are you spend too much time managing, and not enough time achieving.

Time is one of our most precious resources these days. Do you really want to spend yours spreadsheeting?

Automate your investing for an easier financial path.

Automation is the answer

Automating your personal finances frees up time you can spend in other ways, with family, friends, on your passion project, or your career.

But automation rocks for many more reasons. Like —

It keeps you organized

Many a time I’ve sat down and made an epic plan for my finances, usually around the same time I submit a healthy grocery list to fresh direct, schedule in some workouts, and pin pictures of “The Big Chop” for my next chop.

It’s the better me! And it feels great to get organized… but it doesn’t get me anywhere. Automating the things I want to achieve actually keeps me organized.

It keeps you from yourself

Humans are wired to favor the path of least resistance. So if you automate the allocation of your funds to the right place in the first place, you make it very hard to use the money for something it’s not intended for. It ensures that no matter what pops up you stay on the right financial track.

It keeps you from going crazy

Just ask any behavioral economist – the way we manage our money is nothing short of crazy. People pull money out of the market when it drops, selling at a loss. So essentially they invest in order to lose money – totally loco! Or we place too much value on our own willpower. Thinking we’ll save more if we just try harder (how’s that working out?). Also, the more we place on the to-do list, the less efficient we become. Complexity creates inertia, but doing nothing is terrible for you too.

Automation is the smartest approach to managing money because it doesn’t rely on human effort. Allocate and automate cash to investments, bills, mortgage payments, and load up a pre-paid debit card with cash for spending just for fun. You will know that every penny of your income is going to work where you want it to, and you won’t need to give it a second thought.

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