The Carr Report: Money tips from ‘AI’ and ‘DC’

by Damon Carr, For New Pittsburgh Courier

A few years ago I was listening to an audiobook titled, “The truth about your future” by Ric Edelman. Ric is a renowned money expert with concentration on investing.  When I downloaded the book, I was expecting to hear his take on the future of investing. I’ve read and researched countless books, magazines and articles on investing. I’ve written several articles on investing. I thought the audiobook would share more of the same information I’ve read already. This book was different. In fact, this book wowed me. What really caught my attention in this book is his breakdown of exponential technology. In short, the book goes into detail about how technology, science and medicine continues to evolve at a blistering pace. He delves into how these advancements have extended our life expectancy and continues to render various jobs obsolete. He talks extensively about robotics, 3D printing, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Machine Learning.

We experience AI in our everyday lives. We’ve witnessed toll booths move from working people to EZ Pass.  We’re witnessing more and more cashier’s checkout aisles turn into self-checkout.  Various stores are starting to use Smart-Carts where you can tally your groceries as you place items in the cart. You can then pay at the cart. You wouldn’t need to stand in a checkout aisle. Amazon is using robots at its warehouses. Self-driving cars are becoming more common.  3D printing is building both residential and commercial buildings at superhuman speed. 

The one thing that really wowed me while I was listening to the audiobook is this: AI, or artificial intelligence, is actively writing headline news stories and articles in nationally published newspapers and magazines.  As a financial journalist/columnist, I was shocked by this. As you can imagine, we humans can’t keep up with the bots. They’re able to produce more content in a day than humans can produce in a year. Will journalism as we know it be completely different 10 years from now?

Recently, I was listening to a random podcast on SiriusXM, when I heard them talking about CHATGPT. CHATGPT is an Artificial Intelligence ChatBot. CHATGPT was developed to generate human-like text in conversational context. It answers questions and can do things like write a poem in Snoop Doggy Dogg style. It can even write articles. I downloaded the CHATGPT app to get a feel for how it works. I used it to co-write an article with me. The article was titled, “New Year, New Me.” I also used it a few times on my Facebook page. I asked CHATGPT for a money tip for the day. It gave me a money tip. I provided my unique perspective. 

Below are money tips from AI and DC (Artificial Intelligence and Damon Carr):

AI:  Make sure to track your spending and keep a budget to stay on track with your finances. Set a limit for each category of spending and stick to it.

DC:  The very mention of the word budget sets off a feeling of confinement, restriction, limitation and loss of control. I admit there is a sense of confinement, restriction, and limitation associated with managing money—but it has nothing to do with a budget. What confines, restricts and limits us is our income!  So if you want to spend more, have more, and save more without sacrificing your lifestyle, you simply need to earn more. A more formal definition of a budget would be a plan for spending, saving, and investing money.

AI: Start tracking your spending so that you can identify wasteful habits.  Keeping a record of where your money goes will show you where you can make adjustments and save more money each month.

DC: You are the boss of your money! If you don’t tell your money where to go, you’re going to wonder where it went. Money is the greatest magician. It can disappear right before your eyes without you knowing where it went. That’s because we tend to be reactive when it comes to spending money as opposed to being proactive. We spend first then we’re dismayed by how much we spent later. We should plan and decide how much we’re going to spend first and avoid spending more than we allocated. Call it what you will, cash flow planning, tracking your spending, or financial planning. It all boils down to the dreaded “B” word—Budgeting! Simply put, if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.

AI: Make sure you pay yourself first. Setting aside a portion of your income as soon as you receive it and allocating it to savings or investments can help you create a financial cushion and grow your wealth.

DC: “Pay yourself first” is age-old, sage advice but very few people do it.  It’s not practical they say.  The reason why it isn’t practical for a great majority of people is because their outgo (debts, expenses, lifestyle) exceeds their income or their outgo and income is neck-to-neck. In other words—No wiggle room between income and expenses.  As a result, I redefined conventional. I say “Free yourself first”—create some wiggle room or margin between your income and expenses so that you can breathe, pay yourself first, save for other goals and have a life.

AI: Treat yourself to one money splurge each month to reduce money-induced stress. This could be anything from a night out with friends to a new item of clothing —the key is to find something that brings you joy without breaking the bank!

DC: You work too hard to earn money and not do something you enjoy on a consistent basis! Life isn’t fun when zero funds are allocated for you to spend on you. Establish a category in your budget and label it “blow money.” Keep it reasonable relative to your overall income and expenses. With this ”blow money” you can do whatever you want to do. Consider setting aside and saving this “blow money” with a couple of paychecks. That way you’ll accumulate a lump sum to blow on something more extravagant than usual from time to time.

The future of journalism may be to use Artificial Intelligence to our advantage. AI can generate ideas we didn’t think to write about. AI can quickly help us fact-check some things that take time to research.  Those of us who are writers can add our unique personalities and perspectives to give it that true human spirit.

(Damon Carr, Money Coach can be reached @ 412-216-1013 or you can visit his website @ www.damonmoneycoach.com)

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