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10 Personal Financial Management Apps You Need To Build Wealth

10 Personal Financial Management Apps You Need To Build Wealth

Building wealth is a long-term that takes not only time, but also the use of a variety of tools to make it happen. It requires the monitoring of various aspects of your spending and saving life. When there is a fault in one aspect or the other, it can impede you reaching your goal in a timely manner. Today, we will take a look at 10 personal financial management applications that will ensure that you are on the right track to building wealth and a large nest egg for the future.

1. Acorns

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    Acorns is an application that is set to be released in July 2014 on the App Store. The app allows you to invest the small spare change, or any amount you choose, into a diversified money market account. Through this, you can gather profit from small and large companies, government bonds, and more.

    Love: Makes investment more approachable for the average individual who may be scared off from the idea of a sophisticated investment portfolio.

    Hate: You must use your bank account for investments. Understandable to prevent credit card debt, but some individuals may prefer other options.

    iOS ($1/month) – Android ($1/month)

    2. Mint

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      Mint allows you to get a holistic view of your finances, including advice on problem areas. When your active accounts are connected, you are able to get a full view of your cash flow, taking into consideration credit card charges and income as well.

      Love: You are able to stay on top of your finances and even get emails when you are falling off the wagon of financial health.

      Hate: Sometimes, budgets aren’t accurate, which requires having to stay on top of the application more than your finances sometimes to ensure things are properly allocated.

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      iOS (Free) – Android (Free)

      3. Level Money

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        The main appeal of LevelMoney are the informative info graphics that allow you to stay on top of your finances, savings as well as spending habits. Plus, as shown above, you can get an easily digestible view of your day, week, and month.

        Love: Simple, easily digestible, and informative.

        Hate: Some may want a little more out of the application, in terms of financial management.

        iOS (Free) – Android (Free)

        4. Scanner Pro

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          Having a digital form of your receipts and financial forms can allow you to ensure that you can easily access important documents dealing with your money. Scanner Pro brings scanning capabilities to your iPhone, allowing you to export as a PDF all within your iPhone itself.

          Love: Great way to digitize papers on the go.

          Hate: For $2.99, the capabilities that come with the app may not be worth it to some, who may simply substitute by taking a photo instead.

          iOS ($2.99)

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          5. Spendee

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            Spendee is a very minimalist financial advice application that analyzes your spending habits to provide you tips on how to spend your money wisely. Your savings activity is also monitored to ensure that you are working toward a plan of building wealth for the future.

            Love: The ability to export your spending and income into an Excel document. I also love the ability to take photos of bills and receipts all in an app worth gorgeous graphs.

            Hate: Financial information focuses more on the month to month, rather than continuously offering your financial state.

            iOS ($1.99) – Android ($1.99)

            6. BillGuard

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              BillGuard allows you to stay on top of your finances to build wealth through keeping track of the bills and other aspects of spending to ensure that you are on a path of financial health. The “guard” aspect of BillGuard comes with the fact that your cards are protected from fraud.

              Love: Security of cards through notifications of suspicious charges and activity.

              Hate: Improved categorization needed.

              iOS (Free) – Android (Free)

              7. Expensify

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                Simply attach your accounts and get expense reports easily downloadable on the application. Several of the features in the application make it welcoming to frequent travelers and business users alike.

                Love: Currency conversion is a great pull feature for travellers, including the ability to import flight information.

                Hate: iPhone seems dependent on the web component.

                iOS (Free) – Android (Free)

                8. Credit Karma Mobile

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                  The most important gate to building smart wealth is through having full knowledge of your credit score and history.  Credit Karma is a big name in credit scores and the application allows you to stay on top of it while also keeping track of your financial accounts connected to the app.

                  Love: You truly get your full credit report for free, without any hidden fees.

                  Hate: None.

                  iOS (Free) – Android (Free)

                  9. Check

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                    Stay on top of your due dates and credit limits. This is the application that ensures that you are on top of bills and ensures that you aren’t going to have a high utilization percentage on your credit cards.

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                    Love: Beautiful application that alerts you when due dates are nearing.

                    Hate: Account management issues; including separate accounts under the same company.

                    iOS (Free) – Android (Free)

                    10. Bloomberg

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                      Staying on top of market news and updates of the stock market will help you to come to a better conclusion on the right time to invest in a specific company. Bloomberg for iOS and Android ensures that you become well versed in all things in financial current affairs.

                      Love: Easy to use and minimalist, while continuing to give a determined and serious user interface. This is the app to get the news you need on finance without fluff.

                      Hate: Geared toward those a little bit more versed in the financial markets, not exactly for fresh beginners yet.

                      iOS (Free) – Android (Free)

                      Featured photo credit: Frontspace via frontspace.com

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                      Last Updated on September 2, 2020

                      How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

                      How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

                      Personal finances can push anyone to the point of extreme anxiety and worry. Easier said than done, planning finances is not an egg meant for everyone’s basket. That’s why most of us are often living pay check to pay check. But did anyone tell you that it is actually not a tough task to meet your financial goals?

                      In this article, we will explore ways to set financial goals and actually meet them with ease.

                      4 Steps to Setting Financial Goals

                      Though setting financial goals might seem to be a daunting task, if one has the will and clarity of thought, it is rather easy. Try using these steps to get you started.

                      1. Be Clear About the Objectives

                      Any goal without a clear objective is nothing more than a pipe dream, and this couldn’t be more true for financial matters.

                      It is often said that savings is nothing but deferred consumption. Therefore, if you are saving today, then you should be crystal clear about what it’s for. It could be anything, including your child’s education, retirement, marriage, that dream vacation, fancy car, etc.

                      Once the objective is clear, put a monetary value to that objective and the time frame. The important point at this step of goal setting is to list all the objectives that you foresee in the future and put a value to each.

                      2. Keep Goals Realistic

                      It’s good to be an optimistic person but being a Pollyanna is not desirable. Similarly, while it might be a good thing to keep your financial goals a bit aggressive, going beyond what you can realistically achieve will definitely hurt your chances of making meaningful progress.

                      It’s important that you keep your goals realistic, as it will help you stay the course and keep you motivated throughout the journey.

                      3. Account for Inflation

                      Ronald Reagan once said: “Inflation is as violent as a mugger, as frightening as an armed robber and as deadly as a hitman.” This quote sums up what inflation could do your financial goals.

                      Therefore, account for inflation[1] whenever you are putting a monetary value to a financial objective that is far into the future.

                      For example, if one of your financial goal is your son’s college education, which is 15 years from now, then inflation would increase the monetary burden by more than 50% if inflation is a mere 3%. Always account for this to avoid falling short of your goals.

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                      4. Short Term Vs Long Term

                      Just like every calorie is not the same, the approach to achieving every financial goal will not be the same. It’s important to bifurcate goals into short-term and long-term.

                      As a rule of thumb, any financial goal that is due in next 3 years should be termed as a short-term goal. Any longer duration goals are to be classified as long-term goals. This bifurcation of goals into short-term vs long-term will help in choosing the right investment instrument to achieve them.

                      By now, you should be ready with your list of financial goals. Now, it’s time to go all out and achieve them.

                      How to Achieve Your Financial Goals

                      Whenever we talk about chasing any financial goal, it is usually a two-step process:

                      • Ensuring healthy savings
                      • Making smart investments

                      You will need to save enough and invest those savings wisely so that they grow over a period of time to help you achieve goals.

                      Ensuring Healthy Savings

                      Self-realization is the best form of realization, and unless you decide what your current financial position is, you aren’t heading anywhere.

                      This is the focal point from where you start your journey of achieving financial goals.

                      1. Track Expenses

                      The first and the foremost thing to be done is to track your spending. Use any of the expense tracking mobile apps to record your expenses. Once you start doing it diligently, you will be surprised by how small expenses add up to a sizable amount.

                      Also categorize those expenses into different buckets so that you know which bucket is eating most of your pay check. This record keeping will pave the way for cutting down on un-wanted expenses and pumping up your savings rate.

                      If you’re not sure where to start when tracking expenses, this article may be able to help.

                      2. Pay Yourself First

                      Generally, savings come after all the expenses have been taken care of. This is a classic mistake when setting financial goals. We pay ourselves last!

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                      Ideally, this should be planned upside down. We should be paying ourselves first and then to the world, i.e. we should be taking out the planned saving amount first and manage all the expenses from the rest.

                      The best way to actually implement this is to put the savings on automatic mode, i.e. money flowing automatically into different financial instruments (mutual funds, retirement accounts, etc) every month.

                      Taking the automatic route will help release some control and compel us to manage what’s left, increasing the savings rate.

                      3. Make a Plan and Vow to Stick With It

                      Learning to create a budget is the best way to get around the uncertainty that financial plans always pose. Decide in advance how spending has to be organized

                      Nowadays, several money management apps can help you do this automatically.

                      At first, you may not be able to stick to your plans completely, but don’t let that become a reason why you stop budgeting entirely.

                      Make use of technology solutions you like. Explore options and alternatives that let you make use of the available wallet options, and choose the one that suits you the most. In time, you will get accustomed to making use of these solutions.

                      You will find that they make it simpler for you to follow your plan, which would have been difficult otherwise.

                      4. Make Savings a Habit and Not a Goal

                      In the book Nudge, authors Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein advocate that, in order to achieve any goal, it should be broken down into habits since habits are more intuitive for people to adapt to.

                      Make savings a habit rather than a goal. While it might seem to be counterintuitive to many, there are some deft ways of doing it. For example:

                      • Always eat out (if at all) during weekdays rather than weekends. Weekends are more expensive.
                      • If you are a travel buff, try to travel during off-season. You’ll spend significantly less.
                      • If you go shopping, always look out for coupons and see where can you get the best deal.

                      The key point is to imbibe the action that results in savings rather than on the savings itself, which is the outcome. Focusing on the outcome will bring out the feeling of sacrifice, which will be harder to sustain over a period of time.

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                      5. Talk About It

                      Sticking to the saving schedule (to achieve financial goals) is not an easy journey. There will be many distractions from those who are not aligned with your mission.

                      Therefore, in order to stay the course, surround yourself with people who are also on the same bandwagon. Daily discussions with them will keep you motivated to move forward.

                      6. Maintain a Journal

                      For some people, writing helps a great deal in making sure that they achieve what they plan.

                      If you are one of them, maintain a proper journal, where you write down your goals and also jot down the extent to which you managed to meet them. This will help you in reviewing how far you have come and which goals you have met.

                      When you have a written commitment on paper, you are going to feel more energized to follow the plan and stick to it. Moreover, it is going to be a lot easier for you to track your progress.

                      Making Smart Investments

                      Savings by themselves don’t take anyone too far. However, savings, when invested wisely, can do wonders.

                      1. Consult a Financial Advisor

                      Investment doesn’t come naturally to most of us, so it’s wise to consult a financial advisor.

                      Talk to him/her about your financial goals and savings, and then seek advice for the best investment instruments to achieve your goals.

                      2. Choose Your Investment Instrument Wisely

                      Though your financial advisor will suggest the best investment instruments, it doesn’t hurt to know a bit about the common ones, like a savings account, Roth IRA, and others.

                      Just like “no one is born a criminal,” no investment instrument is bad or good. It is the application of that instrument that makes all the difference[2].

                      As a general rule, for all your short-term financial goals, choose an investment instrument that has debt nature, for example fixed deposits, debt mutual funds, etc. The reason for going for debt instruments is that chances of capital loss is less compared to equity instruments.

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                      3. Compounding Is the Eighth Wonder

                      Einstein once remarked about compounding:

                      “Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it… He who doesn’t… Pays it.”

                      Use compound interest when setting financial goals

                        Make friends with this wonder kid. The sooner you become friends with it, the quicker you will reach closer to your financial goals.

                        Start saving early so that time is on your side to help you bear the fruits of compounding.

                        4. Measure, Measure, Measure

                        All of us do good when it comes to earning more per month but fail miserably when it comes to measuring the investments and taking stock of how our investments are doing.

                        If we don’t measure progress at the right times, we are shooting in the dark. We won’t know if our saving rate is appropriate or not, whether the financial advisor is doing a decent job, or whether we are moving closer to our target.

                        Measure everything. If you can’t measure it all yourself, ask your financial advisor to do it for you. But do it!

                        The Bottom Line

                        Managing your extra money to achieve your short and long-term financial goals

                        and live a debt-free life is doable for anyone who is willing to put in the time and effort. Use the tips above to get you started on your path to setting financial goals.

                        More Tips on Financial Goals

                        Featured photo credit: Micheile Henderson via unsplash.com

                        Reference

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