In today’s high tech world there are mobile apps for just about everything your heart desires. From cooking to fitness to travel there is something for everyone. Now that 2016 is here to stay and the noisemakers and confetti has been put in the closet for another year, it’s time to start working towards your financial goals.
Whether it’s to finally build an emergency fund, pay off your truck loan, or pay for your child’s first semester of college, there are lots of apps that can help you reach your goals. We have reviewed some of the most used personal finance apps and created a list of our five favorites.
If growing your retirement savings is your primary personal finance goal this year then Personal Capital is the app for you. Bill Harris, former PayPal and Intuit CEO, founded Personal Capital in 2009. The online tool has over 850,000 users and tracks over $175 billion in assets everyday. Personal Capital has two types of services: free and a fee-based financial advisory service.
While Personal Capital’s bread and butter is retirement and investment planning, you can link all types of accounts, including bank, credit cards, and loans, for a holistic view of your personal finances. The Retirement Planner tool is a great way to see whether you currently have enough saved for retirement and if you’re on the right path.
Mint.com has been around for a long time and for good reason – over 15 million users use Mint for budgeting and meeting their personal finance goals. With a few clicks of a mouse (or thumb if you’re on your phone) you’ll be able to link all your financial accounts for a high level view of your finances.
Mint’s best feature is its ability to help you create a budget and track your expenses. Creating a budget is super easy and your transactions automatically get categorized into predefined categories. Unfortunately, if you pay with mostly cash, Mint is not going to be very helpful. If you’re trying to save more money in 2016 then you should definitely download Mint.
You Need a Budget (YNAB)
While Mint is king among people who primarily pay by credit or debit cards, YNAB is a similar tool great for people who prefer cash or a more proactive approach to understanding your spending and budgeting. YNAB is a great tool for people looking to get out of debt, as it requires manual entry of transactions. While some people might prefer a more automated approach, a manual approach makes the user really think about what they are spending their money on.
YNAB works primarily on your computer, but a mobile app is available to input on-the-go purchases. To sync the app information to the computer program you’ll need to use Dropbox. Unlike Mint, YNAB costs a one-time fee of $60. YNAB is a good tool if you prefer a more traditional ledger/checkbook style, if you pay primarily with cash, or prefer a more proactive approach to your financial goals.
Is saving for emergencies, a wedding, college, or anything else your financial goal for 2016? Digit is a simple mobile app that can help you reach your savings goal. Digit, which is backed by Google, automatically scans your monthly income and spending habits to determine how much you can save.
Digit works by connecting to your checking account and finds small amounts of money that you can safely set aside based on your spending and income. Every two to three days, Digit transfers between $5-$50 from your checking account to your Digit savings account. If you need the money back from your savings account just send Digit a text message and the money will be in your checking account the next business day.
A good credit score is critical for any big purchase, like a house, a truck, or a business loan. Credit Karma is a free tool that allows you to track your credit score over time. But, that’s not it. You can also link your credit card and bank accounts to monitor your spending habits. Based on your habits, Credit Karma will recommend credit cards and loan offers that could improve your finances.
Of course, there are hundreds of other personal finance apps available for iPhone and Android phones, but the above five apps are some of the best and most useful apps for whatever your 2016 personal finance goals may be.