Tech tools to manage your finances during uncertain times
As cliche as the phrase “these uncertain times” has become, the fact of the matter is that there are many uncertainties in our lives right now and when it comes to something as complex and important as your personal finances, the unknown can be overwhelming.
But regardless of your current financial situation, there are many technology tools to help your finances become more manageable. In this post, we’ve rounded up some of the financial tech tools at your disposal.
Do you find yourself wondering if you’ll make it to the end of each month without using your credit card? If budgeting is something you struggle with, you’re not alone and there are great tools online to help you take control of where your money goes.
You Need a Budget (annual or monthly paid subscription options) and Personal Capital (free) can help with this. Not only do they help you visualize where each of your dollars should go each month, but they help you develop better financial habits along the way. These tools teach you how to build a plan for allocating all of your money, as well as how to be prepared for the unexpected costs and adjust when life doesn’t go according to plan.
Artificially intelligent financial assistants
Sometimes the little details are what matter when it comes to saving money, whether it’s the extra charge that accidentally caused you to get an overdraft fee, or how saving $15 each month on your electricity bill could make a big difference at the end of the year. This is where tools like Charlie (free) come in.
Charlie is an artificial intelligence (AI) finance bot that closely monitors your accounts. If you’re close to overdrawing your account, the app texts you to warn you. If your monthly payment on a bill looks higher than average for your geographic area, it’ll give you more info and suggest that you call your company and negotiate the price down. This tool can even help you put aside money for customized saving goals that you set.
If you’re a person that doesn’t like to sweat the details, an AI tool like this can be helpful for your everyday finances.
At this point subscription services like Netflix and Spotify are part of our everyday lives. The problem is how easy it is to sign up for these things, then forget that you’re paying for them months down the road.
Services that track your spending — like Truebill (free or paid premium options available) — keep track of your monthly subscription charges, making it easy to see which charges are recurring for you each month. It can help you save money to take a look at this every so often to make sure you’re canceling any services you aren’t using anymore. TrueBill is free to use but charges 40% of the money they save you.
Investing and retirement planning
Sites like Betterment (free to use but takes a percentage of the money you make investing through the app) and Stash (different levels of paid monthly subscriptions, depending on your goals), both offer free retirement calculators, as well as a wide range of financial services. To calculate your retirement needs, you simply enter some basic information (age, income, when you’d like to retire, etc.) and they’ll help you figure out how much you should be saving each year.
For investors that are just starting out, there are some great apps that let you get your feet wet with low financial risk. Companies like Robinhood (free to use but takes a percentage of the money you make investing through the app) let you invest any sum of money, so you can start with very small amounts if you just want to start to get the hang of investing. They let you trade in real time and always have a quick view into how your money is doing. Apps like these let you learn the fundamentals of investing as you go, without taking significant risk.
If you’re a more experienced investor, there are tech tools to help you monitor your investments, or diversify your investment strategy, such as Blooom (paid plans available). Once you link your existing retirement account, they ask you some questions and then build you a plan for investment diversification, based on your goals. When you want to check and see how things are going, Blooom will give you different viewing options based on how detailed you want to analyze your finances. You can view your investments at a glance, or you can get more granular and look at the specifics of each investment.
When life comes at you fast and you’re considering using credit cards to make ends meet, it’s worth looking into personal loan opportunities as an alternative. If you’ve been laid off due to COVID-19 or need a quick financing solution, finding a personal loan with low interest rates is crucial so that you can get back on your feet. Sites like Rocket Loans or Best Egg Personal Loans can help you with this. They offer financial solutions for liquidity needs, as well as debt consolidation, and refinancing. Taking advantage of these tools can help you better manage any existing debt and can help you spend less on interest in the long run.
Student loan refinancing
If you’re looking to refinance your student loans, companies like Education Loan Finance and Upstart can help you refinance for lower monthly payments, or pay your debt off quicker, depending on your goals.
You can also check a tool like Credible before you officially refinance. After inputting some basic information on your student loans, they’ll compare interest rates from other lenders (for free) so that you can make sure you get the best rates on your refinanced loan.
There are endless financial tools at your disposal, and once you figure out what your goals are, you can find the right mix of tools to help you get there. If you’re already using financial tools to make the most of your money, leave them a review on Trustpilot to let others know which tools have helped or hurt your financial goals.
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