Financial planning and budgeting can be critical for those who want to achieve long-term financial security. Otherwise, you may find you can’t retire the way you planned..
In the past, most planning and personal budgeting tasks were done by hand. People, for example, used to balance their checkbooks manually at the end of each month.
In the digital age, it comes as no surprise that it’s possible to take financial planning and money management to the next level by incorporating a suite of apps designed to help you gain better control over your finances.
A credit score is a metric that reflects the likelihood that an individual will repay their debt. As such, credit scores can play an important role in our financial lives. Your credit score may help you get a car loan, secure a favorable mortgage rate, get a better credit card interest rate, negotiate a better car insurance rate, and more.
Federal law allows everyone with a credit score to request a free copy of their credit report once a year from the three main reporting bureaus: TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. Head over to AnnualCreditReport.com to begin the process of doing precisely that.
Instead of finding out about your credit score once a year, you can use a free credit score monitoring site such as Credit Karma to keep tabs on your score every day. This enables you to easily identify where your score stands—and whether you’re the victim of identity theft.
Based on your financial profile, Credit Karma serves up credit card recommendations. The site also enables certain individuals with simpler tax situations to file federal and state tax returns for free.
Clarity Money is an app that comes from Marcus by Goldman Sachs. It’s designed to help you grow your savings through high-yield savings accounts, track your cash outflows, and even cancel unwanted subscriptions in just a few clicks.
From the minds at Intuit comes Mint, a great app that helps you manage all of your finances and create budgets in one convenient place. At a glance, you can find out how much money you owe on bills, how your investments are doing, what your cash status is, and what your credit score is, too. The app sends you notifications ahead of due dates to try to help make sure you pay your bills on time and simplify budget tracking.
Acorns is an investing app designed to help you convert your spare change into bona fide shares of stock. You can use Acorns to route your leftover change from the things you buy every day into assets and other securities. Acorns also offers a retirement savings tool that can help you get a better hold on your financial future. The service is available for $1, $2, or $3 a month, depending on which plan you choose.
Digit is an app that studies your spending habits and automatically sets aside funds based on those habits to help you save for the things you need and want to pay for without even having to think about it. Simply put, Digit makes it easier to set financial goals and actually stick to them.
One of the first services to offer commission-free trades, Robinhood is a pioneer among the wave of new investing apps. Companies such as Charles Schwab and Fidelity have followed Robinhood’s lead, eliminating their own trading fees. With Robinhood, you can buy and sell stocks, funds, and even options—all without incurring any commission fees.
Technically, it’s a bookmark, but the Personal Financial Website from EP Wealth Advisors that enables you to see your entire financial picture in one place—including investments, cash flow, and credit card rewards. You can also use Personal Financial Website to store important documents—including estate planning information, passports, and tax returns.
Add it all up, and this functionality enables EP Wealth to accurately and proactively monitor your financial plan, asset allocation, and individual investments to make sure that you stay on your path.
Managing money is important no matter what situation you find yourself in. During particularly volatile market periods, it can be even more critical.
With so much at stake, there’s no reason to make it any harder than it needs to be. In addition to using some of the apps above or similar ones that make sense for your specific situation, you may also want to look into whether partnering with a financial planner can help you work toward your financial goals.
For more information on the value financial planners bring to the table and what you should look for in one, check out this free guide: How to Choose a Financial Advisor.
The EP Wealth Advisors financial planning process starts with the relationship between you and your financial advisor. How do you value a financial coach? Developing a partnership that ensures we understand your goals lets us help you prioritize and organize your financial decisions—so you can achieve peace of mind and live your life.
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