There are hundreds of finance apps that people use for a variety of reasons.  The best way to manage your finances is simplicity, and mobile technology has made our lives easier through innovative applications. Managing your spending, savings, investing and retirement has never been easier. Whatever your financial goals are, you can make them more easily attainable by taking advantage of the following apps.

Mint: Personal Finance & Money

            Mint is the top budgeting app on the app store for a reason. It is a free finance tool that takes information from all your bank accounts in order to help you budget effectively. The idea is to let the software pull recent transaction data from your bank accounts, credit cards, and mortgages to provide you with an overview of your finances. Based on this overview, Mint will propose a budget for you that you can alter as you prefer. By applying your own spending desires to Mint’s recommendations, you can spend your money how you want without going over budget. My favorite feature about Mint is its comparative projection tool that lets you look at all your retirement accounts and shows you how prepared you are for retirement. This app is very user friendly and is certainly worth taking a few minutes to set up. https://www.mint.com/

Digit: Save Money Effortlessly

            Making savings a priority is essential to financial freedom. Unfortunately, the reality is that many Americans are living paycheck to paycheck with an insufficient emergency fund. Having credit available to you on a credit card is not a reliable option for a “rainy day” as these accounts can be reduced and closed at the bank’s discretion. Traditional smart savors will put away large chunks of extra income on a regular basis into a high yield savings account, but a tight budget makes this method impossible. Digit is my choice for simplified savings, as it automatically saves your money in small increments based on what you can afford to put away that day. This app will track your monthly income and expenses, and pin down how much extra cash you can afford to save. Although you don’t earn interest, you are rewarded with saving bonuses for money you would’ve spent anyways. Digit has no account minimum and will even reimburse you if they cause an overdraft! If your budget is tight but you want to put away a little extra, then take advantage of the 30-day free trial. https://digit.co/

Acorns: Invest Spare Change

Most millennials avoid investing in the stock market due to a lack of knowledge, experience, and cash. Acorns works like many other finance apps by “rounding up” transactions to the next dollar for savings. What makes Acorns unique is the app’s simplicity and transparency. For $1 a month, Acorns will manage your investments of amounts as low as a few dollars. Acorns also offers investing into an IRA and setting up a checking account that saves a small portion of every purchase you make. As a bonus, certain brands you invest in will pay you back in shares whenever you purchase their items. This app comes packed with articles and videos made by financial experts in order to teach you about investing. College students can enjoy four years free, so sign up while you can! For everyone else, Acorns offers one of the most competitive automated investing services at a great price. https://www.acorns.com/

Betterment: Invest and Save

When it comes to simple retirement planning, Betterment has you covered. Betterment offers high yield savings and Investing, but my favorite thing about this app is the managed retirement accounts. Once you’ve discussed the tax benefits of different Traditional and Roth accounts with a tax professional, all you do is setup an automatic transfer into the account. Betterment will manage your accounts for a miniscule .25% management fee based on your earnings and provide you with an easy to read overview. You can even speak to a licensed financial expert who can answer any financial question you have. https://www.betterment.com/

There are many apps out there that focus on different types of consumers, so it is important to choose the ones most aligned with your financial goals. While the above list is based on simplicity and cost sensitivity, there are plenty of options that allow the user a hands-on approach. The following apps are highly reviewed and let you take control of your finances!

      YNAB (You Need A Budget)

            At $84.00 a year, this app targets users that will put in the time and effort to be aware of their financial situation. YNAB has a proven method that consists of 4 key ideas.

  • Spend money intentionally
  • Put money away every month for the things you enjoy doing
  • Be prepared to adjust your budget
  • Move away from living paycheck to paycheck

YNAB boasts that the average budgeter will save $6,000 in their first year. This is accomplished by linking your financial accounts and deciding how much you will spend in each category. YNAB makes you financially aware by teaching you how to prioritize and plan how your money will be spent. For these users, the key to success is looking forward instead of looking at your past habits. There’s plenty of reasons to give this app a try, but my favorite is the free month trial period! https://www.youneedabudget.com/

Clarity Money – Budget Manager

            Along with traditional budgeting assistance, Clarity specializes in AI functionality. This means that users can experience learning tools and training that fits their spending habits. One thing I really like about this app is that it tracks your monthly subscriptions and will help you cancel the ones you don’t use! Whenever your free trials expire and you forget to cancel your unused subscriptions, you’re wasting money. Clarity highlights these monthly expenses so you can truly understand where your hard-earned dollars are going. While this app allows for automatic savings options like so many others, it also rewards customers with a competitive 2.15% APY. Because of its intuitive AI features, Clarity Money is a great option for overall savings. https://www.marcus.com/us/en/clarity-money

Robinhood: Invest. Buy. Trade.

            If you’re a competent investor, or just interested in learning how it all works, then Robinhood is the app for you. Unlike other investing apps that manage your money, Robinhood gives the user complete control of when, where, and how much money is invested. The base level of Robinhood is completely free of commission fees, charges, and monthly subscriptions. While there is a paid option “Robinhood Gold,” this is only required for high level investors. What makes Robinhood unique is its well-rounded design that makes things simple for beginners, and more in depth for experts. This app has something for everyone and is even adding a Cash Management feature that will help users create a budget and find more money to invest. https://investing.robinhood.com/

Gaining freedom from debt and never being able to get ahead is difficult for most of us, but these apps have helped millions reach their goals. While most of these apps charge you in some way, you can come out ahead by gaining value from the ones that fit your needs. It’s important to educate yourself or speak to a professional at Molen & Associates about basic financial principals so that you can best take advantage of these tools.

Austin Long

Tax Advisor

https://www.investopedia.com/personal-finance/how-use-mint-app/

https://www.thebalance.com/best-expense-tracker-apps-4158958

https://www.investopedia.com/personal-finance/personal-finance-apps/#best-app-for-easy-saving-acorns

https://www.investopedia.com/terms/m/millennial.asp

https://www.creditkarma.com/advice/i/best-money-saving-apps/

https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/finance/budgeting-saving-tools/

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