Isn’t life more peaceful when your mind isn’t cluttered with thoughts and whatnot?
I mean, why burden yourself with remembering stuff? You’ve got better things to do, right? That’s why I’m a huge fan of automation.
I’ll automate anything.
I auto-save for emergencies.
I auto-invest for retirement.
I auto-pay my bills.
I’ve even auto-fed my goldfish (may he rest in peace).
If you’re prone to forget important dates, like I am, transferring manual responsibility to the machines is one of the smartest money moves you can make.
However, this hands off approach to financial management has its drawbacks.
First, in order for automation to work, you must give numerous entities permission to regularly dip into your cash coffers. Do I really need to explain the pitfalls of granting the likes of Comcast, Bank of America, and AT&T access to your accounts? I don’t? Great. Let’s move on.
Second, automation weakens the emotional bond between you and your money. Tell the truth. When was the last time you reviewed an actual, finalized, account statement for, say, your checking account? your credit card? your electric bill?
I’m not perfect either. Occasionally, I use the ol’ wet-finger-in-the-air technique to determine the reasonableness of a monthly bill. But I shouldn’t . . . ever.
I should inspect my bills for bogus fees, missed opportunities, and potential, albeit legitimate, money wasters.
So what should I do? Am I to enter my username, password, and answer a Jeopardy! style security question to gain access to ten different online accounts each month? I’m much too lazy for that.
Recently, I discovered Manilla, a free, easy-to-use, web-based software that organizes your bills and account statements in one place.
Let me explain how it works.
Sign up for an account, and link providers such as financial institutions, utility companies, and travel rewards programs to Manilla.
When your bills and statements become available, you’ll be able to view them on the Manilla dashboard.
The auto login option speeds up the bill payment process. For instance, if I click the “pay bill” button under American Express, Manilla automatically enters the username and password provided at setup to log in to my account.
To help you avoid late fees, Manilla reminds you when to pay your bills and notifies you when an account is past due.
Manilla offers bank-level security on their website to protect users’ personal information.