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My own digital banker

By Hans Timmerman (EMC)

Leaving the monthly chores of your personal financial management to a digital assistant, how appealing is that to you? Hans Timmerman, CTO of EMC Netherlands very much likes the idea of having a personal banker at his fingertips. Even if that means entrusting some of his financial details to his banking partner.

As a technical kind of guy, I was never over-interested in financial management. Sure, I did my classes at school and gained good enough results. And later, in my professional life, I did several short MBAs for financial management, but I knew I would never become an experienced professional in this craft. So I learned, early on, that it was much better to invite and align with a financial professional in my team, who took care of the financial aspects.

Also, in my personal life, financial administration is the mandatory homework every month. I set myself this chore if it’s really necessary, due to required payment terms or, sometimes also, reminders. Also, my tax return is done in the last days before the last possible moment. So finance is not a real hobby of mine.

Sure, I’m well educated and know, pretty fast, what’s good or less good. So I read the papers and know what’s happening in the world. I have done many investments and am already living in my third, owned house, all based on well-organized mortgages. So, if needed, I know the basics or can find the professionals who can consult or support me during those bigger financial decision-taking periods.

You stay in charge and take the final decisions​

But the idea of the availability of an own financial assistant makes me enthusiastic. I could delegate all those boring duties to this assistant. Paying my bills automatically, not too late but also not too early. Recognizing my yearly expenditure pattern and automatically saving each month the needed amounts. Reporting when unusual trends appear or whenever potentially lucrative opportunities arise and balancing my saving and normal accounts.

It’s self-evident that whenever I have to call on my digital banker, I’m open to learn new stuff and would amass additional knowledge on lucrative possibilities. And, at the end of the day, it’s just an assistant: ultimately, you stay in charge and take the final decisions.

I remember from the past – before the internet age – that my building society visited me each year in the evening and discussed, explained and informed me about potential new opportunities. Asking, also, if my family had any plans to move... At every time that we moved to larger houses, she was well aware of our financial situation and was able to give us the best advice to upgrade and renew our mortgage. When I look back, that personal attention and support has given my family a successful residential ‘career’ with sound financial basics.

Since the internet age many financial institutions have scaled down that active personal care and I must say that I really miss it. I realize that deflated margins and stiffer competition were a death knell for simple personal services, but anyhow I bewail it. So the new opportunity to create again my own personal financial assistant gives me new hope and interest.

I would have no problem in sharing all my personal finance data with a digital assistant from a trustful company. Even consolidating my financial products to fewer vendors, whether there be value now or in the future. Delegating most (or all?) of my financial administration to the assistant – and the supporting back-office systems – to relieve me of those personal financial duties. And, for sure, that relief from financial chores is worth some nominal subscription or other charges, but that’s all in the game. Because it would not only release me from my boring monthly homework, but also give me the trust that I have my own personal banker at my fingertips, whenever I need him (or her)...

Read more blogposts by Hans here (Dutch only).

EMC a partner in the Think Forward Initiative.