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by Hillary Patin

How to Get Your Parents to Manage Their Money Online

Even if your parents’ financial situation is solid, they might not realize how much online money management can help them. Here’s how to teach your parents to manage their money online.
Teach Your Parents

Growing up in the online generation has helped many young people learn financial lessons on their own; lessons that our parents’ generation likely needed courses, classes and mentors to help them along the way. We’ve learned the importance of having account buffers, and have seen the immense benefits that come with investing in my 401(k) at a young age. The internet has not only changed what we do with our money, but how we manage it.

Thanks to online banking, and Simple’s Goal features in particular, money management has never been more seamless. You can plan where you want your money to go, save money over time, and receive instant updates right after making a purchase, all within your bank account.

While your parents may be set with what they are doing with their money, they might not realize that there’s a faster, simpler, and easier way to manage their money than their current pen and paper setup. Here’s how to teach your parents to manage their money online.

1. Listen to their concerns and barriers to entry

Be aware that your parents’ concerns about online banking may be things you take for granted. While you know that online banking is often free, comes with a network of ATMs, and that it’s protected even if you lose your cellphone, they might not. Listen to their concerns to find out why they might be hesitant to start banking online.

Furthermore, a big barrier to entry besides switching banks might be the technology itself. While technology was created to make our lives easier, we’ve all had to learn how to use the technologies that we now take for granted daily. Sit down with your parents and walk them through the different features of the app, and how you use it. Help them see how online banking would fit into their daily lives, and how once they know where the right buttons are in the banking app, it’s not as intimidating as it first appeared.

Another good point to touch on is that, if they aren’t comfortable with online banking after they’ve made the switch, they can still go back to traditional methods of managing their money. In other words, the risk is low, so why not give it a shot when you know it could potentially save you time, money, and more?

Remember: online banking may not be for everyone depending on their level of comfort with technology. If the true barrier to entry includes learning technology basics, they will probably not be on board, and that’s okay.

2. Help them make the transition

Whether or not your parents are comfortable with technology, making the switch to online banking is an inevitable barrier to entry. If they feel like they need it, you can help them open a new account; just remember that you can’t set one up for them. Once they have their new account, you may want to sit with them as the set up direct deposit and other automatic transactions, move their money over, and close their old account if desired.

3. Show them the benefits of online banking

In order to convince anyone to make a change, you have to show them that the benefits outweigh the costs. Here’s a few benefits that you can touch on to get started:

  • Online banking saves you time and heartache

Checks are still a huge thing for many people, particularly those who grew up before internet banking. To help your parents move toward internet banking regularly, teach them that you can let your bank account balance your checkbook for you. Rather than going to the bank to deposit a check, you can do it from anywhere at any time through your phone. Just take a picture of both sides of your check in your banking app and submit them to make a deposit. (For more information on Photo Check Deposit, click here.)

Instead of manually recording transactions and keeping receipts, you can get instant updates on your cell phone right after a purchase is made, and be able to click on them to see the purchase in your bank account to make sure everything is in order.

If your parents enjoy going to a branch, they can get similar support with their finances over the phone. Make sure they know they won’t have to wait for hours, like they do with their cable company! Technology helps make things easier, including making it easier to connect to others.

  • Online banking makes it easy to plan how you’re spending and saving your money

Simple Goals allow you to divvy up your money the old fashioned way with envelope budgeting, all within your online bank account. You can set aside money in separate goals for monthly expenses like mortgage, bills, and loan payments, leaving you with your Safe-to-Spend money for everything else. If your parents have been using traditional envelope systems with cash, switching to Goals could be a great transition into online banking for them.

  • Online banking can help you save money without you even realizing it

With Save-Over-Time Goals at Simple, you can set up envelope goals that pull in a small amount of money to your goal each day. For instance, if you wanted to save up to buy a new pair of shoes that cost $90, and you wanted to save enough to buy them in three months, you could set up a Goal with that information, and it would automatically move about $1 a day to your goal.

  • Online banking makes it easy to send money to others

Many banks offer instant transfers to other people who also have the same bank through their online platform. Quick and easy, particularly if a family member is in a bind.

  • Online banking makes it easier to see your spending habits and past transactions

While many online banking platforms allow you to search your history, Simple allows you to dive deeper into your spending habits—if you dare! If you want an easy way to track your spending habits, you can tag transactions into categories and let your bank account do the data crunching.

4. Show them how to navigate the technology

To make sure they get full use out of their new online banking system, make sure they know where to go online to photo deposit a check, send money to others, and how to save money into Goals. Connect those initial benefits you talked about to their real lives so that they know they’ve made a smart decision.

5. Be there to answer questions

Once you set them up, be there to help them when they can’t figure something out. You can also show them where they can go to get their questions answered online, like an FAQs page, if they are the type to try to figure things out themselves before asking questions.

Disclaimer: Hey! Welcome to our disclaimer. Here’s what you need to know to safely consume this blog post: Any outbound links in this post will take you away from Simple.com, to external sites in the wilds of the internet; neither Simple nor our partner banks, The Bancorp Bank and BBVA Compass, endorse any linked-to websites; and we didn’t pay/barter with/bribe anyone to appear in this post. And as much as we wish we could control the cost of things, any prices in this article are just estimates. Actual prices are up to retailers, manufacturers, and other people who’ve been granted magical powers over digits and dollar signs.