Remember the days when you had to sit down at your kitchen table with a stack of bills, stamps and your checkbook and pay the bills for a few hours? Then you would do something that very few younger households know how to do anymore: balance a checkbook. Those were the days! (Find out how to assess and evaluate both these values in the market and your portfolio. Check out Which Is Better: Dominance Or Innovation?)

IN PICTURES: 8 Easy Ways To Slash Your Holiday Budget

The way we run our financial house has changed drastically. Technology has evolved so much that, despite there still being some baby boomers balancing their check book (and walking around with teased hair) most modern households use financial software to track their expenses. Let's take a look at four of the most important technological innovations that have changed how we attend to our personal finances.

  1. Electronic Trading
    Your only exposure to the stock market may be when they read the numbers on the nightly news, or you may have a retirement fund that is managed by somebody else. Nonetheless, there are millions of people trading stocks and other investment vehicles. Electronic trading dates back to 1971, when the NASDAQ first opened. Although this wasn't an actual trading platform, it quickly evolved into the world's first major electronic stock exchange.

    Prior to electronic trading, each of us had to call our stockbroker, who would call a person on one of the stock exchange floors, who would sell the stock to another broker on the floor. The system was labor intensive and expensive, and it often kept smaller investors from participating.

    Now, electronic trading, where computers match buyers with sellers, has allowed individuals to access the stock market. Because computers allow those who aren't in the financial field to access instant information and trade stocks for only a few dollars, the stock market is now an eclectic mix of large financial institutions and individual traders. (Learn how British coffeehouses helped give rise to the juggernaut that is the NYSE. Read The Birth Of Stock Exchanges.)

  2. Electronic Banking
    Instead of balancing your checkbook, you probably match up transactions in your financial software by either instantly downloading information directly from your bank or signing on to your bank's online banking website. Nearly all of our day-to-day banking activities can be accomplished from the comfort of our homes. In fact, some of the larger banks now have mobile applications where customers can take a picture of a check they want to deposit and send the image to their bank for deposit.

    Online banking started in 1981, when four New York banks offered a service using the videotext system. This service never took off in the United States, so this online banking service was rarely used. In 1994, the first true internet banking service was introduced by Stanford Federal Credit Union and since then, online banking has become the norm.

  3. Ecommerce
    A shopper's dream was born in 1991, when the internet was opened to commercial use. By 1994, ecommerce, shopping for products online instead of traveling to a brick and mortar business, was in full use and has not only made for a more convenient shopping experience, but has also changed the face of the retail business model.

    No longer is a business only competing against another business in their community. They are competing against businesses all over the world, and that is good for the average consumer. Before purchasing, the consumer can now find detailed information that allows them to make a more informed choice, and more competition means lower prices.

IN PICTURES: Top 6 Mindless Money Wasters

  1. E-coupons
    Coupons have come a long way since their introduction in 1894. And if you're an avid coupon clipper, you know about e-coupons. Rather than hunting through the newspaper and coupon sites, we can now go to a website and have the coupons we want on our mobile device. Then, we scan our cell phone and the coupons are automatically applied. We'll soon be done with the days of the grocery store clerk hunting through our bags to find an item because the coupon didn't scan correctly. (The average American household has four credit cards, but does that mean more is better? See How Credit Cards Affect Your Credit Rating.)

The Bottom Line
Technology has brought about innovations that have made life more efficient. If you still enjoy balancing your checkbook, shopping at malls, and clipping coupons, have at it. But if you want to save time and money, get onboard with 21st century financial technology. For the latest financial news, see Water Cooler Finance: Rising Markets And Buffett's Successor.

Related Articles
  1. Stock Analysis

    The Top 5 ETFs to Track the Nasdaq in 2016

    Check out five ETFs tracking the NASDAQ that investors should consider heading into 2016, including the famous PowerShares QQQ Trust.
  2. Bonds & Fixed Income

    Simple Math for Fixed-Coupon Corporate Bonds

    A guide to help to understand the simple math behind fixed-coupon corporate bonds.
  3. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    The Top 7 ETFs For Day Trading

    ETFs that offer cost efficiency with high liquidity are ideal for day trading. Here are some of the top ETFs for day trading.
  4. Budgeting

    How to Manage Your Grocery Budget

    Managing your grocery budget can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn't need to be. These simple changes in the kitchen will help.
  5. Stock Analysis

    The 3 Most Shorted Nasdaq Stocks

    Learn about the three most shorted stocks on the technology-heavy NASDAQ exchange. Understand why investors are so bearish on these companies.
  6. Bonds & Fixed Income

    A Guide to High Yield Corporate Bonds

    The universe of corporate high yield bonds encompasses multiple different types and structures.
  7. Fundamental Analysis

    What's eBay Without PayPal?

    In July 2015, eBay completed its spinoff of PayPal and sold its Enterprise segment. We take a look at eBay's remaining lines of business.
  8. Chart Advisor

    ChartAdvisor for September 11, 2015

    Weekly technical summary of the major U.S. indexes.
  9. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETF Analysis: PowerShares Preferred

    Read an in-depth analysis of the PowerShares Preferred ETF, a preferred share-based ETF that focuses on generating investor income.
  10. Markets

    The 2000 Nasdaq vs. The 2015 Shanghai Composite: How History Repeats Itself

    The Shanghai Composite is in a correction, and it's very similar to the NASDAQ of 2000.
  1. When did Facebook go public?

    Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) went public with its initial public offering (IPO) on May 18, 2012. With a peak market capitalization ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. How do financial advisors execute trades?

    Today, almost every investor invests through online brokerage accounts. Investors often believe that their trades are directly ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Who do hedge funds lend money to?

    Many traditional lenders and banks are failing to provide loans. In their absence, hedge funds have begun to fill the gap. ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. Why is the Nasdaq more volatile than the NYSE?

    The Nasdaq exchange does tend to regularly evidence more volatility than its major competitor, the New York Stock Exchange ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What are the advantages and disadvantages of listing on the Nasdaq versus other stock ...

    The primary advantages for a company of listing on the Nasdaq exchange are lower listing fees and lower minimum requirements ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. Why is the Nasdaq more heavily weighted to tech stocks than other stock exchanges?

    The Nasdaq became the world's first electronic stock exchange at its inception in 1971. The exchange's dedication to advancing ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Bar Chart

    A style of chart used by some technical analysts, on which, as illustrated below, the top of the vertical line indicates ...
  2. Bullish Engulfing Pattern

    A chart pattern that forms when a small black candlestick is followed by a large white candlestick that completely eclipses ...
  3. Cyber Monday

    An expression used in online retailing to describe the Monday following U.S. Thanksgiving weekend. Cyber Monday is generally ...
  4. Take A Bath

    A slang term referring to the situation of an investor who has experienced a large loss from an investment or speculative ...
  5. Black Friday

    1. A day of stock market catastrophe. Originally, September 24, 1869, was deemed Black Friday. The crash was sparked by gold ...
Trading Center