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Financial Planning > Behavioral Finance

Online Tools Make Investors More Diligent

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About 70% of people who use online financial tools and apps say they make them more diligent in tracking their finances, according to the COUNTRY Financial Security Index survey, released Tuesday.

However, the survey found that while more than half of respondents use these kinds of tools, just 46% say regular online access has improved their ability to save.

Rasmussen Reports surveyed more than 3,000 Americans for COUNTRY Financial’s index.

More than one-third of respondents said they used online tools and apps to pay bills, and 26% said they used them to check account balances. While just 3% of respondents said they go online to use budgeting tools or manage investments, 31% said they go online for “all of these functions.”

“It’s great to see a majority of Americans are more aware of their finances thanks to online banking and investment applications,” Joe Buhrmann, manager of financial security support at COUNTRY Financial, said in a statement. “Still, people spend more time online planning their vacations than planning for retirement. Online budgeting tools make it especially easy to always see where you stand, which can help turn your awareness into a benefit on the bottom line.”

The survey found that while women are more likely to use financial apps, men who use them are more likely to say they help them save (49% versus 44%) and track their finances (72% versus 68%). Men and women used online tools similarly, although women were slightly more likely to say they used online applications for budgeting (3% versus 2.5%) and were more likely to use them to check their balances (29% versus 22%).

The survey found nearly three-quarters of respondents between 30 and 39 used online financial tools, compared with 60% of those between 40 and 49, and 54% of those between 18 and 29.

Nearly 60% of people who said they worked with a financial advisor use online tools very or somewhat often, most frequently for paying bills. Just 5% of respondents who work with a financial advisor use online tools to manage their investments, although the survey found nearly 32% of respondents use online tools for multiple functions, including paying bills, viewing balances and managing investments.

Unsurprisingly, people who make financial decisions on their own were most likely to use online tools for help (57%), but even people who share decision making responsibilities with another person were likely to use online tools very or somewhat often (55%).