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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 August 20, 2019

                      How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

                      How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

                      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. And 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 on how to set financial goals and then actually meet them with ease.

                      5 Steps to Set Financial Goals

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

                      1. Be Clear About the Objectives

                      Any goal (let alone financial) 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 is for. It could be anything like kid’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, however small they may be, that you foresee in the future and put a value to it.

                      2. Keep Them 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 out of the line will definitely hurt your chances of achieving them.

                      It’s important that you keep your goals realistic in nature for 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”. And this quote sums up the best what inflation could do your financial goals.

                      Therefore account for inflation whenever you are putting a monetary value to a financial objective that is far away in the future.

                      For example, if one of your financial goal is your son’s college education, which is 15 years hence, then inflation would increase the monetary burden by more than 50% if inflation is mere 3%. So always account for inflation.

                      4. Short Term vs Long Term

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

                      As a rule of thumb, any financial goal, which is due in next 3 years should be termed as 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.

                      More on this later when we talk about how to achieve financial goals.

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                      5. To Each to His Own

                      The journey of setting financial goals is an individualistic affair i.e. your goals are your own goals and are determined by your want to achieve them. A lot of times we get on the bandwagon of goal setting only to realize later on that it was not meant for us.

                      It is important that your goals are actually your goals and not inspired by someone else. Take a hard look at this step at all the goals you’ve set for after this step, you will be on the way to achieve them.

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

                      11 Ways to Achieve Your Financial Goals

                      Whenever we talk about chasing any financial goal, it is usually a 2 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. So let’s get down to ensuring healthy savings.

                      Ensuring Healthy Savings

                      Self realization is the best form of realisation 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 monthly expenses. Use any of the expense tracking mobile apps to record your expenses. Once you start doing it diligently, you would be surprised to see how small expenses add up to a sizeable amount.

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

                      2. Pay Yourself First

                      Generally, savings come after all the expenses have been taken care of. This is a classical mistake which almost everyone of us do. We pay ourselves last!

                      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 then manage all the expenses from the rest.

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

                      Taking the automatic route will make us lose control of our money and hence will compel us to manage in what’s left with us thereby increasing the savings rate.

                      3. Make a Plan and Vow to Stick with It

                      Budgeting is the best to get around the uncertainty that financial plans always pose. Decide in advance how spending has to be made.

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                      Nowadays, several money management apps and wallets can help you do this automatically. It’s easy and who knows, you may just end up doing what people fail to do.

                      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. Rise Again Even If You Fall

                      Let’s be realistic. It’s not like the world will come to an end if you made one mistake. This isn’t called leniency but discipline.

                      If you fail to meet your budget for a month, don’t give up the entire effort just like that. Instead, start again.

                      Remember that flexible plans are the most realistic plans. So go forward and try to follow your financial goals as planned but if for some reason, the plan gets out of hand for you, do not give up on it just yet. This has a lot to do with your psychology rather than any material commitment.

                      All you have to do is to stay on the road and vow to stay on it, no matter how much you fall down.

                      5. 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 counter intuitive to many but there are some deft ways of doing it. For example:

                      Always eat out (if at all) during weekdays rather than weekends. Usually weekends are expensive. Make it a habit and you would in turn be saving a great deal.

                      If you are travelling buff, try to travel during off season. Your outlay will be much less.

                      If you go out for shopping, always look out for coupons and see where can you get the best deal.

                      So 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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                      6. 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. And it would be rather easy to lose the grip over your discipline.

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

                      7. Maintain a Journal

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

                      So 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.

                      Use this journal to write down all essential points such as your short term, mid term and long term goals, your current sources of income, your regular expenses which you are aware of and any committed expenses which are of recurring nature.

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

                      At this point, you should be ready with your financial goals and would be doing brilliantly with savings; now it’s time to talk about the big daddy – Investments.

                      Making Smart Investments

                      Savings by themselves don’t take anyone too far. However savings when invested wisely can do wonders and we are at that stage where we will talk about making smart investments.

                      8. Consult a Financial Advisor

                      Investments doesn’t come naturally to most of us therefore rather than dabbling with it ourselves, it is 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.

                      9. Choose Your Investment Instrument Wisely

                      Though your financial advisor will suggest the best investment instruments, it doesn’t hurt to know a bit about them.

                      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.

                      Do you remember we talked about bifurcating financial goals in short term and long term?

                      It is here where that classification will help.

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                      So 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 as compared to equity instruments.

                      10. 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.

                      So make friends with this wonder kid. And sooner you become friends with it, quicker you will reach closer to your financial goals.

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

                      11. 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; taking stock of how our investments are doing.

                      If there is one single step where everything (so far) can go wrong, it is at this step – Measuring the Progress.

                      If we don’t measure the progress timely, then we would be shooting in the dark. We wouldn’t know if our saving rate is appropriate or not; whether financial advisor is doing a decent job; whether we are moving closer to our target or not.

                      Do 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

                      This completes the list of tips for you to set financial goals and actually achieve them with not so great difficulty.

                      As you can see, all it requires is discipline. But guess that’s the most difficult part!

                      More About Personal Finance Management

                      Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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