Skip the landline; use Facebook instead


One simple cost-cutting measure for many households is eliminating their telephone landline. With the proliferation of wireless, instant messaging, social networking sites, and services like Skype, it seems to be such an unnecessary cost. Even a stripped-down version of a landline with no extra features would cost me over $28 a month. When you start thinking about that in terms of how many groceries it would buy or how much gas it would put in a car, not having a landline becomes even more appealing.

And the Information Technology director at Amherst College has shown us just how savvy the younger generation is in this regard. He took a look at the technology habits of incoming freshmen, and came up with what he calls the "IT Index." Wouldn't you know it... Only 1% of incoming freshmen have a landline, while 99% have a Facebook page.

I'm not silly enough to think that social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter will completely eliminate the need for telephones or other technology. But the younger generation is definitely a good barometer for where our communication is going. I personally don't need a landline, and prefer to go wireless only with my personal phone. I have a landline at my office because I require the reliability that comes along with it, as well as the sound quality necessary for teleconferences and the like. I have no doubt that more consumers will be moving away from landlines quicker than ever as technology continues to evolve and offer free or low-cost options for communicating with others.

Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.