Car leasing programs on the rise due to mobile apps


In a survey of millennials (those aged 18 to 37) about financial milestones, Moneyish found that millennials on average thought that the ideal age to lease or buy a first car is 21. 14% of millennials believed that people should buy or lease their first car before their 18th birthday.

When it comes to car leases, monthly payments are decreasing right now. Kelly Blue Book (KBB) estimates that the average transaction price for a smaller vehicle was $35,511, an increase of $736 over the last year and $118 higher than at the end of May. For car leasing programs, however, that story is different.

“We’re seeing an increase in discounts and aggressive summer pricing beginning to permeate across trucks and SUV’s for lease deals,” said Executive Vice President Scot Hall. “Consumers are increasingly searching for aggressive deals on everything from small trucks to large, as well as mid-size and luxury SUVs.”

In July, the Nissan Sentra had the lowest monthly payment of all cars, even lower than the Ford Focus, which used to hold the lowest monthly payment spot.

With car sales dropping 2% this year and fewer millennials getting into new vehicles, “car subscriptions” are starting to gain popularity. This service allows drivers to swap cars in and out of their local dealership however often they want. Ford, Cadillac, and Volvo are three of the biggest car brands that are using this new type of service for a $950 monthly fee. This covers costs for delivering the car, maintenance of any kind, and insurance.

“Auto makers are charging a premium for subscription services because you do get the convenience, you do get the flexibility,” Cadie Thompson, a Business Insider transportation editor, said. “That’s priced in.”

Turo, also known as the ‘Airbnb for cars’, is offering a service that allows people to lease their Tesla cars to strangers in order to better afford them. Car owners can list their vehicles on Turo and lease them daily. According to Turo, the average host in San Francisco makes $672 a month through Turo, which is more than enough to cover the average monthly car payment in the United States for a new vehicle. Users of Turo can charge anywhere from $29 to $200 a day, depending on the vehicle.

When Turo users were asked what they do with the money from renting their vehicles on Turo, over half of respondents said that they use the money to pay down their car loan or lease, while a third said they put the money into savings.

Turo currently leases vehicles in over 56 countries and 5,500 cities around the world.

Rolls-Royce is stepping up the car industry game by prototyping a flying car. This is not long after Uber announced plans to introduce flying taxis in Dubai, Dallas and Los Angeles by 2020, raising the possibility of flying vehicles being offered by fleet management companies in the distant future.

The British company unveiled an electrical vertical takeoff and landing (EVTOL) vehicle in the UK at the Farnborough International Airshow, creating new competition in the vehicle marketplace.

The EVTOL is said to carry up to five passengers while traveling at speeds of 250 MPH for around 500 miles. They anticipate the vehicle being available for use by the early 2020s, but plan to create the prototype within the next year and a half.

“Building on our existing expertise in electric technologies and aviation, Rolls-Royce is actively exploring a range of possible markets and applications for electric and hybrid electric flight,” said the head of Rolls-Royce’s Electrical team, Rob Watson. “We are well placed to play a leading role in the emerging world of personal air mobility and will also look to work in collaboration with a range of partners.”

The vehicle would be powered by six electric propulsors, which are “specifically designed to have a low noise profile”. To take off or land, the vehicle’s wings would rotate 90 degrees, and then would fold away once the vehicle reaches cruising height, relying on rear propellers for momentum.

“Electrification is an exciting and inescapable trend across industrial technology markets and while the move to more electric propulsion will be gradual for us, it will ultimately be a revolution,” Watson said.

The company, based in the UK, makes commercial jet engines, but is not associated with Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, which is owned by German car manufacturer BMW.

Digital Banking in the Digital Age: Perceptions of Current Day Reality


Money is the bloodline of the modern day life and its processes, while banking is the system that keeps it all together, regulating and operating the functions and features of such life. The digital transformation that the world is going through has affected the fields of banking and finance as well, giving birth to the age of digital banking. With supercomputers, gigantic super-fast databases, tens of millions of customers and fortunately in some cases, no fee banking services, digital banking of today’s world is a blessing to those who seek to access money and other financial instruments. Carrying out numerous functions for people of all sorts of intentions and interests, the modern day figital banking system is also a rapidly changing one, providing its users with new features on a daily basis. As long as one is on track with such developments and novelties, they have a higher chance of achieving success with their operations to minimize costs and maximize utility/profit.

Millennials are youngster who were born in or after the year 2000, ‘the millennium’, and as they have grown up, they have become the most dynamic generation among all generations of modernity, having access to virtually every opportunity and service that modern life provides. Mobile banking is one of such services and it has already become a hit among millennials, enabling them to utilize their money and financial assets with speed and ease. With easily accessible investment options, digital banking provides features such as ‘Electronically-Traded Funds (ETFs)’ to such millennials to make the most out of their money and invest into reasonable options. Virtual primary banking options are also available, enabling millennials to access their bank accounts from anywhere in the world to keep track of their finances and access money at the touch of a button, mobilizing them to travel, shop and enjoy life with financial security. Budgeting and wealth management also have become easier for the youngsters as the digital banking procedures and applications make it possible for them to keep track of their finances with ease. As a result, the millennials have become simply the most dynamic, capable and mobile generation in human history regarding finance and financial matters and there is no sign of slowing down for such leadership either.

As the market grows and data begins to replace physical money, many speculate that banks will also be eliminated as institutions of mediation, regulation and authority. The recently developed ‘Atom’ project is a great example for such a reality as the system is “actually a data company that happens to have a banking license.” Plagued with crisis and shocks, the credit markets have turned millions of customers away from reasonable financial management but companies like Atom are promising more than the traditional methods to regain their trust. The company entered the market with online options such as virtual savings and checking accounts, as well as debit and credit cards at 2% interest rate, which was a significantly lower number than its competitors at the time. Since traditional banks use 55-70% of all their profits to support and sustain their physical operations, digital banks such as Atom have a higher chance of survival and success in the business. In addition, these institutions utilize and operate on data analytics, which grants them a significant element of security not applicable to traditional systems. Consequently, digital banks also have a more direct and constructive relationship with their clients and such close proximity makes it possible for them to develop more reasonable and comprehensive business strategies.

Naturally, technological developments almost directly translate into investment for digital banking with CapWay being a great example of such harmony. Tech professionals such as Sheena Allen have taken notice of the unnecessary sums of money being spent on traditional procedures such as “payday loans and check cashing services” to put their computer skills to work and help improve the situation. The CapWay system seeks to bring easy and profitable banking procedures into the lives of “the unbanked, underbanked and people living paycheck to paycheck” by providing connectivity between their existent accounts and the CapWay database. Through online transactions and prepaid cards, such users can access money easily at cheaper rates. The system also makes user based recommendations based on the customer’s spending habits to maximize efficiency in investment and educate such users about the details of digital banking. The developers of the system have their eyes currently on the millennials market, seeking to attract their attentions before they enter the traditional banking market and face the consequences. To accomplish this, the company is partnering with schools, employers, financial institutions and community organizations to target younger people in the American society and explain to them the benefits of digital banking and why they should create an account with CapWay to enjoy secure, transparent and profitable banking applications.

In many ways, the given technological paradigm signs a drastic change in the banking business: the establishment and utilization of smartphones as bank branches. Today, banks send more than 16 text messages and notifications every second to their users, showing how smartphones are already operating as personal banks for millions of people. Ranging from salary information to obligatory monthly down payments, these notifications usually work in conjunction with installed banking applications to initiate processes immediately upon reception.  The banks are helpless against the developments observed in the communications technology industry and need to play along because 59% of millennials, people of 16 to 25 years of age, are currently using smartphone based banking applications while 69% of 25 to 24 year olds and 49% of 65+ year olds are also doing the same thing. Smartphones have already replaced computers in this sense, with numerous applications enabling direct access to financial data and records for billions of people every day. As transactions and transfers become easier and trackable this way, the banking industry is spending more time, resource and capital to develop more sophisticated and utile applications to integrate new digital users and expand their customer networks existing in their secure and functional digital systems.

Naturally, as the trend of digitalization in banking become more popularized, banks and retailers are seeking for ways to optimize their businesses by tracking user interactions such as typing, swiping and tapping to create customer profiles and fight fraud as well as identity theft. Such profiles are used to categorize services for increased protection against attacks and use ‘behavioral biometrics’ to have a more professional comprehension of such customers’ identities. The process is secretive, meaning that the users are not aware of what is going on and therefore the companies obtain the most honest and utile biometric data available to construct their security and identification strategies. Considering how common it has become for cyber thieves to attack bank accounts and steal information, such a measure has become a necessity for security officials to protect their customers and their assets. As identity is moving forward on its path to becoming the new digital currency, it is also becoming a weapon of sorts to be used against people, making information security a crucial issue and justifying the mentioned biometrics operations. However, there are also opponents of such procedures who believe that this is a direct violation of personal privacy and who believe that such procedures might lead to more catastrophic consequences in the future. With so much personal data gathered from such high numbers of people all around the world, the banks are becoming more powerful than any other institution, which might enable ill-minded employees or administrators to take advantage of the situation. In addition, in the case that such data is stolen by third parties, no one is really sure what will happen and who will be held responsible. Such a possibility is deterring millions of smartphone users to even touch such banking and retailing applications in fears of losing precious personal data to hackers.

Instant gratification causes a society stricken with addictive personalities


Instant gratification is what society has become used to. With the world at our fingertips, it’s hard to learn patience when everything is an instantaneous fix. If we become ill, suddenly search engines are filled with a possible diagnosis. The art of makeup is now learned from online tutorials and beauty vloggers. Instead of going to the store to buy the essentials, it’s ordered with a click of a button and dropped off at the door within 3-5 business days of standard shipping. All of these things can cause a society that is saturated with addictive personalities. Every new thing becomes and addiction and obsession. Every digital screen has the potential to create and addiction. Humans have an addiction to their phone as they rely on it as a continuous source of entertainment. Boredom is the epitome of a bad day and during times of being alone or boredom, cell phones or computers become a safe haven for hours of endless internet entertainment. It is crucial to one’s mental health to find many outlets of happiness outside of digital entertainment. It’s not just digital screens that creates addictive personalities. Drug and alcohol abuse can also create deadly addictions that need time to heal. Addiction is a disease and should be treated as such.

The world was historically a much slower place. Throughout history the main goal is to eliminate wait periods. Now where most people essentially do not have to wait for many things, learning the art of patience is necessary. Things used to take years to build. Some of the of the greatest wonders of the world like the pyramids in Egypt and the Great Wall in China took 20 years to build. Great things take great time to build. Things take time and patience is a necessary skill to learn in life to be emotional well.

Mental health is important and as more and more people suffer from a society that emanates anxiety and depression. Mental health professional can provide expert counseling, but they can’t change the external stressors that society brings. Developed global societies are saturated with digital reputations that become hard for people to just do things alone. Society is slammed with continuous duties, responsibilities, and tasks and goals that must be met. The continuous stress and being around people, create an addiction to routines, addictions to objects, and addictions that may be harmful coping mechanisms for the mind and body. In order to deal with all the stress of life people use escapism techniques that allow them ways of coping. For example someone may use social media or television as a way to escape from the world, but too much of anything is a bad thing. Some other individuals may turn to alcohol or drugs to cope with external environmental life stressors. These harmful coping mechanisms can quickly turn into addictions that makes it hard to get away from. People become reliant on the thing that helps them escape and replace the emotion of happiness and well-being with the harmful coping mechanism such as drug use. Every time the person uses drugs they will think everything in their life is okay because this coping mechanism has helped them before and will continue to be the crutch and abuser of their life. Eventually, emotional and physical damage can happen to the mind and body if not treated in a timely manner.

An outstanding solution to helping with these addictive personalities is by visiting The Holistic Sanctuary. The sanctuary can provide a healing place for individuals to regain control of their life and get everything back on track without harming their bodies. They can learn healthy coping mechanisms along with working through their issues instead of learning ways to deal with them. By learning natural and holistic ways of dealing with external or internal stressors, one can set themselves on a healthier life path. The sanctuary is a holistic medical spa that helps with curing a variety of disorders and issues like PTSD, depression, alcoholism, addiction, etc. They help with curing mental health, spiritual, and physical issues. Instead of taking a western medicine approach, they work on healing the mind, body, and soul. This is done using the Pouyon Method by healing patients from the inside. According the the sanctuary, this is one of the most effective treatment methods for deep healing of the brain and helps take it back to the pre-addictive state. The sanctuary also offers plant-based medicine and holistic one-on-one therapy. Rather than the western viewpoint of talk-therapy and addictive medication, the sanctuary provides non-addictive approaches to their healing process. Guests at the sanctuary even get a holistic diet to help with their healing process from all angles. Their ancient and advanced approaches to healing really can help people suffering from a variety of mental health issues.

Online learning transformed the traditional classroom setting


Education is necessary to the advancement of humanity. Whether that is an academic education with degree requirements, general education, professional certifications, or learning technical skills, it in crucially important that humans participate in some form of institutional education. As the term goes, knowledge is power. This means that knowing things that others do not automatically makes you an asset to company, political campaign, or even a classroom as a teacher. In ancient history times, women weren’t even allowed to know how to read. Reading was something that was regarded only for the richest and most powerful. The high priests and government officials were the ones able to read because this gave them power over the illiterate. Now, education has completely transformed. As more and more men and women obtained high school and bachelor degrees, they were able to even go on to become doctors and professors in their fields. The people with the most education are often at the top of their fields doing research and working to advance their fields. Because college and higher education is so expensive, it is still regarded as something that only well-to-do families can afford. With student loan debt on the rise and the massive inflation for college tuition, some students are opting for technical or two year degrees.

Although learning and education used to be something that was just in a formal classroom with books and teacher heading discussions, it is quickly changing with the increase in online learning. Many classrooms online offer so many different things from ways to applying a powerpoint background to learning more about cooking or research. Online classrooms can be found in a number of ways. Just by using an internet browser to see what is available will help in online learning. Online classrooms are also available at many universities as well if one is looking to receive college credit.

There are basically two options when it comes to online learning. There is the decision to self-guided online learning or learning from an actual live professor. Self-guided is often videos, powerpoints, and all the material necessary to teach oneself. This can be beneficial for those who need to learn at their own pace or just enjoy teaching themselves. Doing a self-guided session can have great benefits for people have limited time to learn. Opting for an actual online classroom has many benefits as well. In this setting, students are able to actually learn via video chat classroom from an actual teacher. The live virtual communication platform allows students to actually participate in discussion as well as ask the instructor any questions they may have about the material and receive automatic responses rather than waiting for an email or doing further research alone to find the answers.

When deciding to do an online course, the main thing is deciding how much of a budget one has. Budgets are important because most all education costs money. There are however, free websites that offer educational videos or materials, they may just not be as in depth as an actual online course is. If one chooses for the their online course to be with a higher education institution, these often do cost money. Sometimes employers will pay tuition rates for their employees to take online courses as it benefits the company, in these cases it is important to discuss when the employee will have time to allocate to their student responsibilities whether that is in a work setting or at home.

Education and learning takes time. A college degree takes four years alone to complete. Educated people hold a great value in society. Deciding when one has time for an online course is another measure and decision in itself. With some who have families or careers it is hard to decide when to get an education or when they would have time to allocate to their online class. Often, online learning is much more flexible with time than a traditional formal classroom. This can be highly beneficial for working moms and dads or even grandparents looking to be more tech savvy. Finding a way to prioritize the online class over a short period of time, with in return have long term benefits. Although education may not be the most pleasurable way to pass time in the short term view, it has unexplainable long term benefits to individuals.

Online courses are completely changing education as a whole. It makes it much more available to students. With a computer and video chat, virtually anyone can now be a student. Although many online courses can be costly and seen as a financial burden for some, there are some free and less costly options where someone can be education. With the internet at our fingertips, it’s just click and a search bar away from discovering new ways of learning and growing through education.

Basic technology skills a necessity for success in the workplace


Possessing the basic skills to use technology for personal or professional use is necessary to succeeding in most work environments. Technology even 20 years ago wasn’t a basic skill that everyone had to everyday use. Now as it becomes an integral part of the workforce, it’s necessary for workers to understand the skills that go into understanding how to learn technology. All jobs require some sort of technology whether it’s for communication or for actual job use purposes, more than likely employees will have to learn how to use some sort of technology for daily use. Some companies require employees to have a mobile work phone that is provided to them in the event someone would need to get ahold of the employee. Although it is thought that something like knowing how to work and use a mobile phone is widespread knowledge that everyone knows, it actually is not true. There are still plenty of working class people that struggle to use smart phones. Smart phones were not thing even twenty years ago when mobile phones were first becoming popular. Back then, a military bag phone was and was something that looked similar to a landline without a chord. It’s not just mobile phones either, many companies require their employees to use some type of computer or tablet to either log information, look things up, or utilize software. Some people are at a loss with applying for jobs that require technology literacy. Some applications even require that they be filled out online. For those who were used to paper applications may have trouble filling out the online application if they aren’t comfortable doing that.

There is a defined generational gap in technology skills in society. It is often discussed that grandparents and elderly people do not possess the technology skills that are demanded of the current workforce. As younger generations do not possess the required patience to teach these skills, they grow frustrated with the older generation creating a technology and communication gap when it comes to technology. Working class citizens born in the 80’s and 90’s basically grew up with video games, the rise of mobile phones, and computers in their homes and classrooms. They had technology integrated into their lives from the time they were born where as their grandparents saw the rise of broadcast radio and television. They were alive when the internet was military packet switching. The reason the younger generations may face difficulty in teaching the older generation is that they grew up basically always knowing how to use technology and have a hard time teaching the basics. What is a swipe and down to technology users is brand new to someone who has never even logged into a computer. Many people in the older generation didn’t have typing classes or even know how to open a laptop. As they taught the younger generation life skills, it’s somewhat the duty of the younger generation to have patience and try their hardest to teach them. Rather than grow frustrated, it’s easier to just help.

There are varying depths of technology literacy as technology is so fast. Technology literacy can simply be understanding electronic machines or devices powered by the internet. Some jobs may demand that an employee has a professional degree in technology management information systems, coding, or computer science. Other jobs may request that applicants have advanced skills in certain softwares. When deciding on a job, knowing what type of technology literacy required is beneficial to understanding the job itself. When getting a professional education before entering the workforce, the classes offered in each emphasized major will often include the technology and software skills needed for that field. For those who did not attend a professional higher education institution, there are always online classes offered that can help them learn the skills they need.

Bbasic knowledge of different types of computers, phones, makes and models and what they do. There is becoming a standard that most people should now possess the required skills for different types of software and understand what is compatible with what. Technology literacy expands into understanding the varying types of computers and the softwares that are compatible within them. For example Windows is often the software on a PC whereas Mac is powered through iOs sierra systems and utilizes a safari internet browser. Although these technologies can technically be downloaded on different things, these are the standard when purchasing the computers. Mac computers are Apple brand and often can be synced to Apple iPhones and watches. PC’s have many brands like Samsung, Toshiba, Dell, and now the Microsoft surface has taken the technology scene with intricate details and high technology software. Within these devices Microsoft Office or R-Studio for Mac can be used. Technology is ever evolving and can only continue to grow if the people using it know how it functions. Reading manuals, online forums, and staying educated is the best way to maintain continual technology literacy.

Technology in healthcare changing lives


Most industries have been the subject of great technological innovation over the last ten years or so. Business is going digital. Education has embraced ed tech. The legal system continues to adopt more digitisation, making their processes easier and more effective than ever before. Almost every industry has embraced technology as in integral moving function within their sector. Healthcare is one of the last industries to play catch up, finally making the chances and welcoming the innovations that will improve the industry tenfold, leading to a better experience for all users and a healthier industry overall. Healthcare and the life sciences are undergoing a monumental wave of innovative restructuring, with computer-based technologies being at the centre of the takeover in all healthcare companies (see iSelect for example).

Having some aspects of healthcare go digital has been a source of panic among some – the privacy of their information and medical histories is obviously quite important to them, and because technological advancement in the industry is relatively new, it is causing concern among those that have yet to grasp the concept properly. There is the beginner guide to internet privacy for anyone that feels (understandably) concerned with the digital movement in the industry. The reality is that healthcare is traditionally quite slow at adopting new technologies, but the great bursts of innovation as of late are proof that the industry is catching on that the only feasible way to make their systems and processes as convenient and easy as possible for the individuals using them.

Technology is providing the healthcare system with the shake up that it so desperately needs.

There are online portals available now that allow patients to book appointments online, making it easier than ever to take control and be active with their healthcare. There are programs and digital machinery that allows patients to track their health, their progress, and have real-time access to their doctor or another trusted medical practitioner should they need help – this has sufficiently limited the number of individuals showing up to the hospital or crowding the waiting room of a doctor’s office with issues that could be easily solved through technological connection and engagement. Of course, there will always be some medical aftermath that absolutely requires in-person medical attention, but this new technological advancement is allowing the healthcare industry to give patients a smoother transition period post procedure or treatment.

As well as these seemingly simple changes in the industry, there are the technological takeovers that exist on the back of the data systems that protect patient information. These systems are being given complete takeovers, being replaced with entirely-digital systems that make the institutions not only physically tidier, but overall more smooth and efficient. This evolution in the industry is the most rapid yet, and furthermore it is likely to be the most impactful in the foreseeable future. Going digital is allowing the healthcare and life sciences industry to improve their entire industry from the ground up, giving them and those that are subject to the industry a newfound trust, reliability, convenience, and overall satisfaction.

Why FinTech Is A Key Player In The Fight Against Student Debt


FinTech isn’t just a term describing unicorn-status enterprises disrupting Wall Street. As a growing industry that represents any financial service that relies on technology to deliver its goods, FinTech has representation all over the world — including campuses across the U.S.

FinTech is transforming education in more ways than just the updated college syllabi offering blockchain tutorials. Some FinTech companies could provide financial support to students struggling with record-high student loans.

FinTech targets the underserved

FinTech is a broad category of data-driven companies, ranging in size, scale, and direction. It’s a term that fits the backend processes of traditional banking institutions just as well as it defines an emerging group of mobile banking apps. While it’s a comprehensive definition outlining much of the financial world in the post-tech-boom, FinTech has a specific meaning when used in a certain way.  The kind of FinTech that’s making the news is a particular subset of customer-facing services that benefit an emerging market of digital consumers.

The youngest Millennials join Generation Z as the first digital natives, so they’re uniquely positioned to take advantage of these digital services — as are other consumers traditionally excluded by legacy banking services. There’s an overlap in those who are young, uneducated, and poor; they’re all financially vulnerable.

FinTech is a stepping stone to financial literacy

According to Investopedia, financial literacy is the understanding of topics relating to personal finance, money, and investing. More specifically, it involves understanding key concepts like inflation, diversification, and compound interest according to Standard and Poor’s global financial literacy survey.

Financial literacy is the cornerstone of financial stability. Everything from student and personal loans to credit cards and auto loans have rates, terms, and conditions. If borrowers can’t decipher their meaning, they can lock into a product or service that doesn’t serve them to their best abilities. For a student, not grasping these products could mean locking into a student loan’s variable interest rate when they should have chosen a fixed rate — or vice versa.

FinTech companies educating its customers by offering real-world budgeting tips, cash loan terminology, and savings guides. These online resources are an opportunity to learn about online lending solutions, interest rates, the best practices of credit, and other basic yet fundamental aspects of healthy finances.

Fintech simplifies money management

Next to knowing basic financial terms, understanding your personal financial situation is an important step towards stability. It’s easy to overspend when you aren’t sure what you should be spending in the first place. A budget can help you with that. When you know your income and your expenses, you’re in a better position to recognize your limits. It’s also a great way to anticipate or save for future expenses.

In the past, a budget was a relatively low-tech addition to your financial toolkit, but FinTech companies like LearnVest and Mint are digitizing this document. They sync with your existing financial accounts to create an accurate financial profile that includes income, expenses, and debts. In aggregating these accounts into one convenient place, customers are granted a bird’s eye view of their finances at any given time. They also track expenses in real time. These apps update a user’s profile accordingly and can send out notifications when they’re in danger of overspending.

While not explicitly an educational resource like MoneyKey’s guidelines, there are a number of apps like LearnVest and Mint and solutions like that provide insights into a student’s relationship with their money. At a time when you’re learning how to pay rent, grocery shop, and save for the very first time, money management is an essential tool for students looking to limit their reliance on loans.

FinTech follows you off campus

Even with saving and working throughout your undergrad, the sheer cost of post-secondary education is too high for most students to pay without financial assistance. According to the College Board’s Trends in College Pricing, tuition has seen unfettered growth — with post-education institutions raising tuition faster than the rate of inflation. Their report compared the costs faced by the Class of 2018 to graduate with a four-year degree from a public institution to that of the Class of 1988 and found that modern students paid 213 percent more.

Unfortunately, wage growth hasn’t seen similar increases, making these costs hard to cover without help. About 44 million graduates share $1.521 trillion in student loan debts — which a new record according to the National Reserve.

A vital part of money management for students is managing their debt by addressing the issue of interest and minimum payments. Like many people struggling with debt, students tend to pay the minimum monthly payments on their student loans. According to the Federal Reserve, that averages out to just $393 per month. If they followed these basic payment plans, they could be spending more than $60,000 in interest fees in addition to the loan itself.

A FinTech app like ChangeEd aims to help students repay their debts faster to avoid this added weight of interest. Like LearnVest or Mint, the app syncs with the user’s financial accounts. It automatically rounds up every purchase they make from their checking account and invests the differential towards their debt repayment.

Debt can seem like an inevitability when it comes to earning a higher education. Until the student loan system changes, students will have to look towards alternative means for help when managing their finances. While FinTech represents a broad category of services, its core principles offers students a way to take control of their finances on and off campus. It includes free services from mobile apps that help them improve their financial agency. There’s no need for an account with a traditional bank that comes with fees; students can access these services with just a smartphone and some Wi-Fi.

Evolving Trends in the Digital Marketing Industry


The world is changing, and technology is taking the lead. Everything from entertainment to healthcare and banking is going digital in our times. Digital channels are playing a vital role in engaging, acquiring and retaining customers. In this age of increasing social media usage and declining ad spends, businesses are clamoring to ramp up their online presence and expand their marketing reach with the help of digital marketing.

Digital marketing encompasses all marketing efforts that rely on electronic devices or the internet. It makes use of online branding assets such as digital advertising, email marketing and online brochures to connect with the customers. Social media is the major playground of digital marketers as more than 3 billion people are active on the social media.

The digital marketing space is evolving in a big way as the consumer of today is no longer constrained by geography, language, time zone and age.

Social marketing is a low-cost, high-returns approach to digital marketing. Some businesses are promoting stories on Facebook’s News Feed in order to gain direct mileage on social sites. Other companies are giving offers such as discounts and/or cash to encourage the social media users to promote the brand’s products and services.

A billion hours of video are being watched on YouTube and 100 million hours of video are watched on Facebook; while Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat generate billions of video views every day. Moreover, the social media platforms have recently altered their algorithms to favor video content. The social users are seeing an endless scroll of video playlists and fewer photos. It therefore makes immense sense for businesses to incorporate video into their marketing strategies.

Chatbots have become the rage lately and for a great reason. The technology combines text, voice and messaging to converse with the consumers, resolve their issues and even close a business deal in some cases. Chatbots also collect data about the users in order to improve user experience in the future. The main reason for the success of chatbot technology is its ability to provide quick and accurate information to the consumers.

AR and VR are one of the most transformative advancements of this era. As mobile devices are become technologically powerful and social apps are getting better integrated with AR and VR, brands are using these tools to engage better with the consumers. Facebook and Google Cardboard are offering 360-video publishing and Snapchat is allowing users to project their virtual self into the surrounding as an animated 3-D bitmoji. IKEA has developed a virtual shopping application that lets a prospective buyer to preview furniture in one’s house prior to making the buying decision.

Artificial intelligence has taken a huge leap in recent years. AI now drives customer conversions by interpreting the date and leads generated. AI also helps in evolving a personalized marketing strategy by predicting what a customer wants to buy next and when. With the help of SMS, email marketing and content recommendations, AI can make suggestions in conformity to customer needs and interests. AI also identifies the best engagement points in the buying journey. AI innovations such as chatbots are changing the ways in which brands plan their marketing campaigns and enhance customer experiences.

There is an incredible amount of data at our disposal today, thanks to technology. It is a challenge to draw out insights and do something useful with the data. There comes Data Mining. A ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to marketing is no longer viable. Brands are connecting with the individual consumers by tapping into the behavioral data generated by technology platforms such as AI, chatbots and augmented/virtual reality. Marketers are leveraging the potential of AI-driven tools to analyze the data for insights into what can work.

The mobile usage is spreading at a breath-taking pace. Companies are optimizing their websites for the mobile. Google’s announcement that uninterrupted user experience on mobile websites would yield a higher search ranking has hastened the development of mobile-friendly websites. Marketers are therefore finding ways to optimize the user experience of a brand on mobile devices and reap the resulting benefits.

The use of voice search and voice commands is increasing as people are constantly on the go. AI-enabled voice assistants are empowering mobile users to access information online and execute tasks like never before. Unlike conventional online searches, which throw up pages and pages of results, voice searches only provide the top-most answer to a query. Digital marketers are optimizing content to conform to such voice searches and emerge as the top result that matches a voice query.

A successful digital marketer differentiates himself by his ability to create unique and captivating messaging in a saturated market. He/she should be able to covey the right message, raise brand awareness, drive traffic and promote customer engagement. Such a digital marketer, whether it is a digital marketing agency in hong kong or any other part of the world would be always in demand. Brands that create experiences that inspire, educate and entertain, will make it big in the years to come.