Where technology is concerned, there are three groups of people.
There are the radical bookends: the 10% early adopters who are gung-ho, the first in line to sign up for new, cool anything… and the 10% laggards, who staunchly hold on to last-century devices for dear life.
And then there’s the group in the middle: the average Joe or Jane, the 80% who will come around at some point, once they’ve figured out WIIFM — what’s in it for me.
If you’re part of that 80%, pay attention. Today, I’m going to tell you why you should be using a personal money-tracking app.
Because there is a lot in it for you.
There’s an App for That
Now, even if you have an accountant or financial adviser of some kind, you’re probably still doing most of your daily financial tracking manually — on the computer or perhaps even on paper. That means you may only get to view your complete financial picture occasionally.
And you’re probably still logging in to multiple bank, credit card and investment accounts manually, too.
Unless you have your head completely in the sand, you know there must be a better way. But there are so many apps out there, you don’t know which one to use.
So you just keep doing what you’re doing…
There are two big advantages to employing a personal financial tracker:
- Better oversight and control over your money. An app allows you to tap in from anywhere 24/7 and see exactly where your accounts stand — all in one place. No guessing, no logging in to multiple accounts, no calling your accountant, adviser or banker.
- Time-saving convenience. If you add up all the time you spend balancing checkbooks managing multiple online accounts and updating ledgers or spreadsheets, you’d see how much of your time is wasted. Time you could use to do more important things or things that are actually fun.
If you’re ready to let go of the old ways, I already did the legwork to vault you into the 21st century. Depending on your lifestyle and what your goal is, here’s a shortlist of the top financial tracking apps.
The Whole Enchilada: Track Income, Spending and Investments
If you want a complete financial picture with some advice on investments, a robo-adviser app could be helpful.
Personal Capital is the current gold standard of app-based robo-adviser services. However, it’s best for people who have at least $100,000 to stash in an investment account. (That’s the minimum account available.) If you have $200,000 or more, you qualify for a personal account representative.
Bonus tip: For those who do socially responsible investing (SRI), Wealthsimple is the most useful tool out there right now.
Your Personal P&L: Track Income and Spending
If a robo-adviser is overkill for your needs, these next three apps are robust crowd-pleasers. Each of them gives you a handy centralized space for managing all your inflows, outflows and budget.
Mint — launched in 2006 — is probably the most common, as it’s been around the longest, but Wallet and Clarity (which was acquired by Goldman Sachs in 2018) also receive high approval ratings from users.
Bonus tip: For die-hard spreadsheet users, there’s an app called Tiller that will gather and drop all your information into a Google spreadsheet. However, this one isn’t free; access starts at $5 per month.
All Together Now: Track With Your Partner
If you and your spouse work as a team on your finances, it can be complicated (and annoying) to share one personal tracker.
Your best bet is an app that’s built for sharing information. These three below were specifically built to serve couples.
Good Company: Track Your Business Cash
If you have a small business, do freelance work or are a serious trader, these apps can help you track your cashflow.
Tycoon Freelance is a quick and dirty way to stay on top of who owes you what when — which can be challenging when you have multiple clients.
Expensify allows you to capture your expenses on the go by just taking a picture. If you hate doing expense reports as much as I do, you’ll love this app.
Finally, if you are into day trading or being hands-on with your stock portfolio, Robinhood takes the cake. Even sweeter, you can make investments commission-free. No — there’s no catch. They make their money on premium services, so they can afford to offer free trades.
At the End of the Day…
I’m not here to give you another tool you have to monitor. My goal is to help you choose the best personal finance app for you to give you more control over your finances…
And uncover unconventional opportunities to help you build even more wealth to manage.
To your wealth,
Editor-at-large, Unconventional Wealth
Steffi Baker is the editor-at-large of Unconventional Wealth. For the past 10 years, she worked with a small strategy consulting firm that dealt exclusively with wealth-management companies, helping them market themselves to ultra-high-net-worth clients.
Through this line of work, Steffi attended events in London and New York and hobnobbed with household names and international...