All Sections

Home | Business

Jack Falvey's Investor Education Briefs: Automating a mess makes a bigger mess

September 23. 2018 10:05PM

Be careful what you wish for. Our age of technology is a blessing, but it comes complete with its own set of speed bumps in the electronic super highway.

Keeping things simple is not easy. The Amazon electronic gold standard seeks to keep everything within three taps or clicks. Would that life were that way.

Automated payment systems are a wonder unless or until things get mixed up, and then they can be one of the great interruptions in life.

Luddite blood flows to some degree in all of us. There is a natural reluctance to give up our imagined control of life to a place in the cloud, or wherever technology proposes to take us next.

We all must go where the world takes us. You are allowed to drag your feet a bit. You are not required to be on the leading edge of everything. Hard copy records of key documents, and some form of backup somewhere are prudent in managing your financial affairs.

The bank’s statement is not always right, and reconciling your checking account every 30 days is a discipline you should not give up easily. If a statement is generated, you have to be sure everything looks right and there are no apparent surprises, even if you don’t tick it off transaction by transaction.

Putting your life in your smart phone works until it doesn’t! Trying each new app as it comes to life is cool, but this is your financial life, and caution is required. Identity theft is now a greater risk in life than in the past. You can’t totally shred or wipe clean life, but a little paranoia can’t hurt.

The drug store knows when you are about to run out of toothpaste! Who knew? They know because you present them with a discount card each time you visit them. They can count, and you are a part of their mega data bank. Life goes on. Keeping track of all this is required. You still have to be able to count. Be sure to do so at least every 30 days.

Jack Falvey is a frequent contributor to the Union Leader, Barron’s and The Wall Street Journal. He can be contacted at


More Headlines