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Cornell Student Articles on Topical Affairs

Taking control of finances has never been so important

When it comes to taking active, continuous control of finances, it can be something that many of us struggle with. Financial understanding is not an easy feat, and to make the concept even more difficult, there is a gradual shift in the financial industry the world over towards digitalisation on an epic scale. Simple things, like consumers opening a checking account with no fee, or paying a bill, are becoming interwoven with digitalisation in banking and the financial sector. And we love it. We love all this digital world that is racing towards us, we want to immerse ourselves in it. Because. More than anything else, complete digitalisation inspires in us a sense of moving with the world, almost with no effort on our part at all. The only things we must do are update our accounts and systems, and let the industries do the rest. The case for digitalisation in the financial industry is far easier to get behind than the case against it, and that has resulted in something entirely revolutionary and not entirely unforeseen: certain evolution.

The reality of our current stance in life is that we are more inherently focused on striving towards a digitally-enhanced future than we have ever been. We want so badly to believe that we can have it all, on a silver platter, with all the trimmings…and we can. But there must be a trade somewhere in the mix…you can never have something given to you for free. There is always a price. In the case of the modernisation of the financial industry, it was not that long ago that it was difficult to make a case for what that price would be, because nobody was exactly sure. Today, it is abundantly clear the trade-off is the gradual redundancy of traditional financial platforms and systems. The financial sector is changing, and in the process, it is going through a clean out of sorts, a revitalisation that is set to change things forever and always.

With so much digitalisation happening in the world, there is no big surprise that the financial industry is feeling the tidal shift of it in its industry as well. Financial decisions feel different to other decisions, and yet the only true difference is simply that we are handling our money, rather than our wardrobes, our careers, our relationships. The concepts are the same, it is only the content that is different. Because so many concepts and gains we deal with in life is a financial purchase in some way or another, there is an innate reality at play that we all have a finite pool of financial resources, and once they are gone they are not typically easy to re-acquire rapidly. Time is money, and money takes time to earn. Even now. Especially now. What digitalisation of the worldwide financial industry promises more than anything else is tightened security and increased accountability on the part of all bank account holders.

Financial stability is crucial because our financial standpoint now can – and often does –have a significant impact on our financial decent into retirement. In short, how we work with, treat, and protect our money now has genuine impact on how much (or how little) money we have when we are retired. Because of who we are and what we have been wired to believe in over this transitory time, we want quite badly to believe that our financial stance will at the very least be able to maintain itself without too much input. The stark reality, however, is just the opposite. We must seek to take active control of our finances now because it will not be long before the systems and holdings that secure our finances become more locked-down, more difficult to understand, and riskier to play around with. There is no choice but to gear up and familiarise ourselves with the shifting landscape that is global digitalisation of the financial industry.

We find it quite difficult to take control of our finances, more than most other aspects of our lives. This is almost certainly due at least in part to the reality that everything in life costs money, and we each have a finite amount of financial resources at our disposal at any given time. Because we have such little conscious awareness of just how important it is to maintain our finances always, we often find ourselves overspending and underappreciating – together, a lethal combination. The digitalisation of the financial industry around the world ensures that our finances are going to be a whole lot securer, but it also means that we are going to be more accountable in all respects. Taking control of finances has never been as important as it is right now. And it is only going to increase in importance the further digitalisation of the financial industry surges onward.

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