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How Putting Your Finances on Autopilot Can Help You Reach Your Goals

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The personal finance drill can feel pretty familiar: know how much money you’ve got coming in, how much money you’ve going out, and set money aside for things like college tuition, business opportunities and of course, retirement.

All good things right? The sticky part is making them happen because when it comes down to actually taking the time to move money from one account to another, it can become easy to say “I’ll get to that next week.”

Get this: it’s not just you. It’s all of us.

If you put off making financial changes, you’ve got company

According to folks from Goldman Sachs’ leadership development organization Pine Street, which regularly looks at human behavior, it’s totally normal to avoid change. One of the things they told us in an earlier conversation was that humans are so hard-wired to resist change that “any small barrier” can stop us from taking action. 

When it comes to managing finances, the barrier is taking the time to log in and move money. After all, if you’re choosing between taking time to finally catch up with an old friend and calling it a night so you can take care of online payments, there’s no contest.

If you’ve scheduled funds to pay down a balance, it should shrink at a steady pace.

Plus, everyday financial decisions are involved. Not convinced? Let’s look at say, loan payments. These are just some of the questions that may roll in when you start thinking about an upcoming payment:

Do you want to make an extra loan payment? Do you want to pay early? Do you want to wait until the payment’s actually due? Do you even know when payment’s due? Wait, are you already late?

It’s a lot of noise. And it’s just one item on the list of financial topics to wrestle with in a single month. Add credit card bills and the savings decisions you “should” be making on a regular basis and . . . it’s kind of amazing that financial earplugs aren’t a thing.

Automating your finances could make follow-through easier

Automatic transfers – say to savings or retirement accounts – could make it easier to turn a financial goal like saving for a home renovation, into a financial plan that will help you reach it. When you automate payments, you just need to log in and make decisions for each of your goals once. This shortens your to-do list and leaves you free to think about pretty much anything but making sure you transfer money next month at the same time. 

From there, money you’re saving can sit and, if it’s in an interest-earning account (which ahem, it should be), earn interest. If you’ve scheduled funds to pay down a balance, it should shrink at a steady pace. And you won’t need to worry about being late or missing a payment.

How to get started with automating your finances

Many banks, including Marcus, make it simple to set up automatic transfers.

With Marcus, for example, you can set up recurring deposits to your savings account or enable automatic loan payments via AutoPay, right from the app. If you prefer the desktop experience, you can also just log in at marcus.com. 

Few financial actions are as simple to take as automatic banking. Plus, for those of us who feel like it could be too much of a commitment, it’s covered: you can increase how much you’d like to transfer and you can cancel recurring transfers whenever you’d like, no questions asked. 

So, why wait? Log in.

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This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for individualized professional advice. Articles on this site were commissioned and approved by Marcus by Goldman Sachs®, but may not reflect the institutional opinions of The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., Goldman Sachs Bank USA or any of their affiliates, subsidiaries or divisions.