6 Smart Ways to Manage Your Finances Online
Image via Flickr by GotCredit
A recent Gallup poll revealed that only 32 percent of Americans create a monthly budget, and just 30 percent have a long-term financial plan. Clearly, Americans have quite an aversion to financial planning. Why do so many fail to plan their financial futures?
Two of the most common reasons cited are that money management is too time-consuming and too complex. Fortunately, online financial management tools can solve both of these problems. The following six online tools make budgeting and financial planning convenient, quick, and simple. Read on to find out what each tool can do to improve your financial condition.
Mint: Money Management Tool
As far as free online tools go, Mint.com is arguably the web’s best resource. Once you sign up, you provide information to link your checking, savings, credit, and investment accounts. Every day, Mint will update your account information and provide you with a financial snapshot — a big-picture view of what you have, what you owe, and where your money goes. For each account, Mint labels your spending categories and offers personalized savings tips to help you trim your financial fat.
BudgetSimple: Taking the Headache out of Budgeting
Budgeting by hand is a tedious, painstaking process, but budgeting software can get pricey and overly complicated. BudgetSimple.com offers the best of both worlds — automated budgeting help that is free and delightfully user-friendly. BudgetSimple will evaluate your finances, create a budget plan, and point out areas where you can cut costs or beef up your savings. In fact, the site is so confident in its services that they guarantee they will find at least $5 of saving opportunities in your budget.
Mobile Banking Apps: Finance on the Go
With virtually every major bank now offering a mobile app, not tracking and planning your spending is getting harder and harder to justify. Mobile banking apps let you turn your smartphone and tablet into financial-planning tools. Instantly, you can pull up your account deposits and view recent activity to track how and how much you’re spending. The capabilities of most mobile banking apps extend even further, allowing users to instantly send money online and even deposit checks using their smartphones’ cameras.
Buxfer: Individual and Group Budgeting
Like Mint, Buxfer helps you organize all of your financial information in one place for a big-picture view. You can see where your money goes, reduce excess spending, and even predict your future earnings and expenses based on previous spending patterns, balances, and earned interest. What makes Buxfer unique, though, is its ability to manage shared expenses. The site allows groups to split up bills easily and make payments to one another online, which makes it an ideal budgeting tool for roommates.
Cleaning up Your Credit with SavvyMoney
SavvyMoney has a unique niche in that it helps subscribers focus on the credit and debt aspects of personal finance. At no cost, you can sign up with SavvyMoney for a free monthly credit score as well as a personalized analysis of your credit and debt situation. Your credit report comes with helpful tips on how to reduce your debt and improve your credit score. For example, every month, the site will show you your revolving debt ratio and tell you how healthy your ratio is.
Jemstep Portfolio Manager
Jemstep.com allows you to manage your retirement savings and grow your nest egg. When you sign up, you provide information like your age, annual income, expected age of retirement, and existing retirement savings to see what you can expect in Social Security benefits. You can then specify the level of risk you’ll tolerate and the kinds of investments you prefer. Finally, you’ll link your current retirement accounts for the site to analyze. With this information, Jemstep creates an action plan with suggestions on what to buy and sell for a secure retirement.
With these online tools, you can handle virtually every aspect of your finances, from creating a budget to improving your credit score to saving for retirement. These six web-based tools make budgeting and planning so easy and convenient that you won’t have any more excuses not to get your finances in order.