Is it time to update your financial toolkit?

(Fotolia)

(Fotolia)

Barbara Stewart, Special to QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:38 PM ET

Many people tell me they should know more about financial matters, but they feel they have no time. Maybe technology can help!

A Swedish contact of mine who sits on corporate boards shared one of her secrets of success:

"My husband and I met as engineering students and we made our first investment together: a sophisticated calculator. We felt it was important to understand the power of that technological and financial tool — we have always been early adopters of new technology. "Being smart is thinking forward and that means about your financial situation. You have to be in charge of your own economy."

Deloitte recently presented its tech, media and telecommunications predictions for 2014 and this inspired me to consider the ways in which we can use today's technology as a financial tool. Here are three ideas:

Phablets

Deloitte predicts that in 2014 shipments of phablets (smartphones with 5- to 6.9-inch screens) will represent one quarter of smartphones sold.

So with the same accessibility as our smartphone, but with a much bigger screen, we'll have many more opportunities to watch our favourite financial news channels and even look at the information we might need to trade our stocks.

MOOCs

Deloitte predicts more student registrations in Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). The growing awareness of online education is likely to lead to increased adoption by corporate training groups.

It makes sense to me that other industry groups (such as financial education) might start trying out the MOOC format. Particularly as the No. 1 aspiration is to learn more about a subject area, but not to complete a prescribed curriculum. All those people with no time will now be able to study finance at their leisure. Class time is whenever and wherever you want it to be and you can even enjoy a glass of wine while you are at it (but not two!)

Gamification

Full disclosure. My husband is one of the co-authors of Deloitte's TMT Predictions report. Gamification was discussed, but it didn't make the final list. He shared a draft with me, and I love it for the purposes of this article: More than 90% of Fortune 500 companies worldwide will use gamification as a tool to increase engagement, either internally or externally.

Games are a powerful tool to combine behavioural learning with fun and entertainment. Using aspects of game play can make a process more attractive: badges, leader boards, points, virtual currencies, competitions, teams, passports, and so on. The idea is to link the game to a goal, which could be financial literacy. According to Katharina Norden at Three Coins in Vienna: "It's not just financial knowledge, but also psychological challenges and social pressure that inform our spending and saving decisions. Our Facebook game called Cure Runners (www.cure-runners.com) allows people the opportunity to practise how to deal with finance, resist spending incentives and understand how money decisions today will affect their future."

If you think you should know more but you don't have enough time, try adding some technology to your financial toolkit.

 


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