I Love the Internet! (Especially for Personal Finance)

I love the internet! I mean I really, really love the net. Yes, of course I love my wife Suzanne very much, but I love the internet. Can’t I just marry it too and pledge my everlasting love and devotion?

While these days it's taken for granted, I love the internet! Here's just some of the ways it has improved personal finance, not to mention everything else.

The internet is always there when I need it (barring a power failure). I thank you batteries and Wi-Fi very much for that. Yes, I can use my laptop or smartphone and take it anywhere I go and that’s a really good thing, isn’t it?

Before the Internet

If you are younger than age 30, you can’t actually remember growing up in an age without the internet like me. For those who are that young, let me tell you it was a very dark period in our history. It was a period where you actually had to look up information in a book to find out facts or even wait ‘til summertime re-runs to watch a missed episode of your favorite TV show.

Can you even imagine being out and about when one of your friends says something you find hard to believe and you don’t have fact checking at your fingertips? It’s true. You were out there all on your own without your friends Siri or Cortana helping you. And you could actually eat an entire meal without talking to your buddy in Cleveland while you dined at the table.

Are you with me so far? I think you are. After all, you feel the way I do and you know the internet is now such an important link in our everyday life in so many areas. Yes, there are internet trolls, and the dark web, and cyber bullying, and other problems, but overall, the internet is truly amazing.

The Internet We Take for Granted

Think about it. Just this brief list off the top of my head tells quite the story.

  • Social Media – 24/7 you can connect with people and info from around the world.
  • Communications – “Text me” or “e-mail me”, you say it a few hundred times a week and believe me…they will.
  • Access to Information – At your fingertips. Encyclopedias died around 1990-something. If you don’t know what they were, just Google it.
  • News, Weather, Sports – It’s instantaneous and in real time, can you say “breaking news”?
  • Entertainment – From games to movies to music and videos, and of course the latest episode of The Bachelor, a must see!
  • Banking – Online banking may be the reason for the demise of the post office. Last year I spent a grand total of $4.90 cents on postage stamps.
  • Marketing – Every business in the world has figured out that you are on the net so…simply click here.
  • Education – Want to get your college degree? Or learn a new skill? From university classes to webinars and how-to videos, the internet has it all.
  • Shopping – Cyber Monday through Sunday and they take all my credit cards, so very convenient.

That’s a great number of things that the internet provides now that we just didn’t have back in the day. But have I left out the area of the biggest impact of all? The mere fact that you are reading this indicates you are a true convert and believer in the new religion known as the internet and its major revolutionary impact on…wait for it…Personal Finance!

Think about this. Personal finance and the entire area of financial education has been turned upside down and on its head over the past 25 years since the internet has been involved in our everyday lives. And its impact is geometrically growing as fast as you can get your speed to 500 megabits per second.

4 Areas Where the Internet Changed your Personal Finance

Here are 4 areas where the net has totally impacted our lives and without it we’d still be in those “dark ages”.

First, with the internet we actually began to talk to each other about that taboo subject, personal finance. It began with the exchange of information between consenting adults, from financial experts to the average Joe. It was the beginning of someone like me starting to understand and learn about literally anything I wanted to know about money and to actually have conversations about things like making my money work for me and what I might do to foster that success. The experts on the net became the gurus of personal finance, a subject which was for the first time becoming very personal and totally accessible.

Blogs and Bloggers

Where would we all be without the next step in guru communications if it were not for blogging? Blogging has become a huge source of information and the blogger is providing opinions, advice, and communications. Blogging has become a real business itself as well as an information source for millions of readers. In fact, the ability to ask questions, comment on what’s written and contribute your own personal experiences has become a central part of the internet today. It has shined a spotlight on personal finance education.

Investments and the Stock Market

Before then internet, the investment markets were really something only a few people understood well and participated in when compared to today. In fact, if you were an investor in stocks and bonds before the 1990, you most definitely dealt with professionals who “advised” you and charged you a pretty penny for the privilege of risking your money with them. It was just the way it was and because of it, many or most of us sat on the sidelines and let the John Paul Getty’s and J.P. Morgan’s dabble and make a fortune investing. It was just not for Mr. Everyday Guy to do that kind of thing.

Boy did that change with the arrival of the internet. The impact of the online broker, the affordable fees, and the information available has made investing an important part of most Americans’ financial education and personal finance plans. It’s easy, quick, and cost effective and doesn’t have the mystique that it had which made the process scary and a feared risk.

There is virtually no information that cannot be obtained in a nanosecond about any kind of investment you may want to know about. You can literally buy, sell, or hold 24/7 online and you may already be doing just that.

Banking and Financial Management

Online banking really has all but replaced the brick and mortar banking experience in just about all cases. In fact, I almost never personally go to the bank because I have so many options available to me through the net that save me both my time and my money.

Besides opening accounts, getting loans, making investments, and managing all of my accounts, I now pay all my bills online. The activities you can perform are literally endless and it’s basically all free if you meet certain relationship requirements. Today, banking is about relationships, albeit “cyber” ones and not as personal as they may have been in your Mom and Dad’s day. But in this world of high speed, high demand culture, the personal in-person banker isn’t as much of a priority as it used to be. What is a priority is getting your business taken care of: cheaply, timely, and with you in control of it all. Online banking and all the trimmings does just that!

If you want to take the notion of banking one step further, there’s the idea of expense tracking and budgeting. Now you have software, spreadsheets, apps, and more to give you better options that ever to manage your finances.

Shopping, Competition and the Cyber Mall

How do you spend your money and shop in the 21st century? Well, I can tell you this much…an awful lot of you are shopping online and that’s a “personal finance” part of life that continues to grow and grow. If you are paying attention at all, you already know that Amazon is a huge factor in the retail world, but that’s just the tip of the cyber iceberg. Every retailer who is anybody has a presence online. And that presence had eroded the “store” at your local mall a ton!

Who would have thought just 25-30 years ago that stores like Sears and Penney’s and so many others would be closing their retail stores at the rate they are and in fact they may be the dinosaurs of the retail world. That’s a direct result of the increase in cyber shopping, its ease, pricing, and low overhead, marketing reach and the strains on the busy consumer’s free time.

Online shopping offers 98% of what in-store experiences did, only without the hassle, battling for a parking spot, and for less money. You do your research, competitive shop, order, return, etc. all from home or work and it’s very easy. It will only become more important as time goes on!

And let’s not forget the ability to comparison shop online, to research and read reviews, and get expert advice and customer support on what you’re buying.

The future is here, especially in the internet world of personal finance and financial education. Learning how to maximize the internet for your finances is not only a great idea, it has quickly become a necessity. Are you doing all you can to keep up with it? If you aren’t, remember that you can do something about your finances if and only when armed with the right information. It’s all there waiting for you. Are you making sure you are accessing all you can to insure your financial success? If so simply say, “I DO”.


  1. You know, it truly amazes me to think back to using the internet pre World Wide Web in the late 80s and early 90s how much it has changed and now permeates our lives. Even in he dot com boom people saw it as a tool to enhance existing things, but really in a lot of ways it has created completely new aspects to our economy. For example the whole sharing economy is based solely on the existence of the internet.

  2. Lars-Christian

    I love the internet because it makes it so simple to build communities, like for instance the personal finance community. You can also build a business with so little overhead by utilizing the web, and even today, twenty years after it truly went mainstream, the business opportunities are endless for those with the will and skills to pursue them!

    I was still in the middle of my teens when I made my first few bucks online, and I thought that wow, this is probably a great preparation for getting involved in real business 🙂

    1. The idea that the internet can actually be a platform for business really hit home to me when I went to my first FinCon and met so many people who are actually making their living on it. It opened my eyes and I have had many thoughts about it since then. If it had been available to me as a younger person, I think that would have been a career path that I would have chosen, whether it had been blogging or operating some other kind of home-based business that I would have worked through the web to promote and propagate. It’s really a viable option today.

  3. Smart phone and wifi have really made it easy to help teach the kids about managing their money. They have never set foot in a bank. I can’t count the amount of times I search for an answer each day via the internet. I almost feel it makes us a bit lazy because we don’t think too hard these days, we just look it up.

    1. I always fear that it is too easy to use our phones and computers, but it’s like many other things in life, Brian. It’s just the way it is today and I’m sure if we look another 20 or 30 years ahead, we will look back at this time and probably think that this is somehow antiquated. I guess it’s called progress.

  4. I’m in the same boat as you. I love in many ways what the internet has done. Being able to shop online and never step in a brick and mortar, the exchange of ideas (especially personal finance) and how quickly I can catch up with friends via social media are incredible. Definitely an incredible time that we are in.

  5. Fruclassity (Ruth)

    “First, with the internet we actually began to talk to each other about that taboo subject, personal finance.” For me, that is the most significant impact the internet has had on my life. The “talking” and “listening” I’ve done has been via blogs, and it’s not something I would have done face-to-face. The anonymity of the internet helps to overcome that sense of shame if your finances are a mess.

    1. Anonymity can be a reassuring reason to reveal information and get some important help with financial problems. You’re not alone in responding in that way. It still accomplishes results and doesn’t make us feel any additional embarrassment due to our situation. So we can thank the internet for that point for sure. Thanks for sharing, Ruth.

  6. Great points, Gary!

    Now that we have the ability to check our accounts up to the minute, I’d like to think another benefit is that the Internet makes us too savvy to fall for a Bernie Madoff. I don’t know whether that’s true but at least we no longer have any excuses for allowing others to be in total control of our financial lives.

    1. I tend to agree with you, Mrs. Groovy, but keep in mind that the Bernie Madoffs of the world are always using their brains for evil rather than good. And because of that, they tend to stay one step ahead of things, including the internet. At least we’re better prepared than we used to be for dealing with them. Thanks for your comments.

  7. I too am old enough to remember when there was “no internet.” Back in the early 90’s my husband was finishing up his Masters Degree. He enrolled in the University’s first on line course. We had to unplug our telephone so he could plug our computer (with a 20 foot cord) into the telephone jack to dial into the school’s computer. We thought that it was so “cool” that he didn’t have to go to class.

    Everything has changed. The internet has entered just about every aspect of our lives.

  8. Troy @ Market History

    I love the internet as well. In the pre-internet era, it would have been impossible for someone like me to start their own hedge fund at a young age. I would have had to slowly work my way up an investment bank, build relationships over 20 years and then start my own fund by the time I was 40.

    1. It certainly is exciting to be a participant in such technological revolution, especially when you’re young and starting your career path. There are opportunities that just didn’t exist 20 years ago. I think it will continue to become more and more a choice for people to earn money and become financially independent. Thanks for sharing your story, Troy.

  9. I had a brick and mortar bank account I opened as part of a rewards card churning project and recently when I went to close it, the older bank worker asked me if I had a bank account somewhere else and I told her Ally. She just couldn’t get over the idea that I didn’t care if I didn’t have brick and mortar bank account somewhere. Ally has been fantastic and I’ve been using it for about 7 or 8 years with no issues and they’ve been better than any brick and mortar bank I’ve ever had.

    1. Internet banking is so easy and 100% dependable that I’d be surprised if just about everyone doesn’t have at least some relationship with them these days. I’m constantly amazed at how many brick and mortar banks seem to be popping up just about everywhere. The only explanation I can come up with is that they are concentrating on the investment side of banking more than ever and some people still feel the need to seek human interaction. Thanks for your comments, Mel.

  10. I was just saying to my husband that some of the older stores failed to keep up with the times. I think they might have thought that the internet wouldn’t take over our lives like it has. Really Who did? To me though there is nothing like trying on a dress before I buy it or my husband jumping on a couple of tractors before he makes his decision.
    I don’t like being connected as much as some people but the information that’s out there like you said is fantastic.

    1. Having spent so many years in the retail business, I started to see in the early 90’s how the internet might affect the business. Didn’t think it would come quite to the magnitude that it has, however. There’s still something to be said for touching and feeling merchandise before you buy it. I could never quite understand the concept of buying a mattress over the internet or by telephone, but people do. Thanks for your comments, Vickie.

  11. Ann

    Had to laugh at the description of what life was like before the internet. That’s so true. My daughters can’t even comprehend a world without it. I tell them about card catalogs and microfiche readers at the library and they look like I’m talking in a foreign language.

    At any rate, you’re point about blogs being available as a source of financial information and ideas is spot on. I’ve learned a lot this year by reading your blog and others; and am making some significant changes because of that. Thank you for continuing to educate and inspire!

    1. Ann, it’s very rewarding to hear that you enjoy the information you get from myself and others. It’s the reason I started the blog originally. It’s such an opportunity for people to learn, and if I have any experience or advice that is helpful, I’m glad to offer it. Nowadays the only place you can find a card catalog or microfiche would be in a museum, sigh.

  12. I remember saying, “What other movie was that guy in?” and NEVER knowing the answer! haha

    I’ve been amazed by the information I’ve learned from the internet for sure. From Demarco to Mr Money Mustache, there was a whole different way of thinking about money that I would never have known about if it weren’t for the web!

  13. Jax

    I can’t imagine not having instant access to my bank account. I know that when I was a teenager I had to use bank statements and a bank register to keep track of my money and that worked at the time. But I can’t imagine going back.

    There is a lot finance-wise that I don’t know if I would have ever learned without the internet. It is amazing that we can read about so many different money management strategies that people from all walks of life use. It definitely makes me wonder how anyone did or learned anything pre-internet.

  14. If the Internet had only been ten years earlier, that might have saved my parents’ finances. I remember growing up at a time when you actually had to read the encyclopedia for research, and you had to go to the library to find books if you didn’t own any (we didn’t). I learned everything I could about personal finance from the year 2000 on and it completely transformed the entire course of my life. I learned how to generate side income as a teenager, how to bank online and find high savings rates, how to research all my money questions. Some of my best friends now were once personal finance bloggers back when blogging first became popular – I have so many connections and resources and mentors because of the connectivity of the Internet. My entire work life is based online – I couldn’t make the living that I do without the Internet.

    So when I hear politicans saying “no one HAS to use the Internet”, I see red. It’s become the place where people can seek employment, even if it’s just the application process. You can’t get a job if you’re not able to access the mode of application! We certainly don’t seek candidates by postal mail. Email is a more normal mode of communication than even phone calls, and for some of us, not having the internet means losing our livelihoods, access to the best health options, and being disconnected from so much information and support.

    1. You have summarized beautifully what the internet offers and provides, Revanche. If it didn’t exist, it would be like imagining a world without telephones and television would have been in my day. The advantage of having the internet is even more so than those things were because it affects your financial well-being as well as communications and entertainment. So glad that you’re making such good use of it.

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