Financial management is trickier than most people understand. It’s not simply a matter of plusses and minuses. To really be financially savvy, you also need to understand interest, debt, retirement savings, taxes, and other important but convoluted factors that can play a major role in your financial health.
Sure, there are professionals who can help you along the way, but most of them are expensive. Online tools can make it easy and affordable to take financial literacy and health into your own hands. Below you will find a list filled with tools that help with a wide range of different financial tools.
Mint.com is all about helping people establish a budget. Not only does it help people monitor their cash flow, but it also allows users to establish financial goals for themselves, and view how closely their current status is aligned with said goals.
The service comes with a free phone app that allows you to track your information on the go, and even provides a granular look at your credit card interest rates to show you how your debt ratio is contributing to your current financial status.
Yodlee is an all-in-one money management tool that has a keen focus on investment monitoring. The service allows customers to monitor everything from their stock portfolio to their real-estate holdings, keeping them informed up to the minute on the health of their various investments.
Yodlee also benefits from tools that allow you to transfer funds and even pay bills in-house, making it a good, one-stop-shop for handling many of your financial needs.
MyMoneyCircles.com is a free-to-use website that ostensibly acts as a financial advisor. While they don’t make specific recommendations the way a paid service would, they do provide free daily class activities—usually taking between twenty-thirty minutes, all of which are designed to maximize the effectiveness of your financial management.
Classes may include information on saving money, investing, reducing spending, and understanding interest rates.
SmartyPig.com is a financial site with a focus on savings. It allows you to set up and monitor a variety of different savings accounts, while also providing tips on how you can boost the effectiveness of your savings efforts.
While the savings can be used for pretty much anything, the premise of the site is to help you save up for specific purchases. They facilitate this by providing discounts and gift cards to certain retailers, making it easier to finalize your transaction when the happy day finally comes.
Moneyrates.com is all about maximizing the interest your receive from your savings and various investments. On the flip side, it also works to help you minimize the interest you pay on debts— including anything from credit cards to loans.
Interest management is a costly financial literacy consideration that many laypersons struggle to understand. The longer your interest goes unexamined, the more money you ultimately lose. Moneyrates.com can help you get on the right footing quickly.
Your credit score is as important as it is difficult to manage. Most people can’t monitor their credit health regularly, meaning they go into lending situations blindly. Of course, your credit score is how you will qualify to purchase your next car or even buy a new home.
Without knowing where you are at, however, a lot of guesswork gets added to a process that really shouldn’t have any. AnnualCreditReport.com relieves this concern by giving its customers one opportunity a year to check up on their credit score for free.
During this time, users are able to review their credit profiles and get a better understanding of what they need to do to raise their score.
Similar to the last site, Credit.com is all about helping users to monitor and understand their credit scores. While there may be some repetitions between these two resources, both will be worth checking out—particularly for people who are struggling with their credit.
Credit.com can provide you with insights that help get you back on track so that you can increase your buying power.
Good money management at its simplest and most effective is all about establishing a good budget and sticking to it. At BudgetPulse.com that’s the precise order of business. Here, users are able to set up financial goals, monitor their spending, and generally align their lives with practices that are most conducive to the budget they need to stick to.
It also has the added benefit of allowing customers to track their finances in multiple currencies, making it the perfect option for people with international tendencies.
Automate Savings Features
hough this is not a specific service, it is an option that many programs use. Automated savings deposits can help you consistently set aside money. It’s a lot like establishing a budget, but now it’s mandatory to save, in just the same way that you have no choice but to pay bills that are automatically deducted from your checking account.
Many banking institutions will allow you to automatically transfer a predetermined part of each pay check into savings. Companies like PayPal offer similar features. See what options are available to you and then make the choice to automate your savings habits.
Almost everything on this list is free—or at least comes with a free version. If you are really trying to overhaul your finances, you may find it worthwhile to try every single one of them.
Keep in mind that you are never too young to start thinking about your financial health. In fact, college students may be well-positioned to drive the most benefit from many of these tools. Not only are they amassing enormous debt—the average college costs $35,000 a year—but the majority self-report that they leave school without ever understanding how to handle their finances.
Wherever you are in life, now is the perfect time to sit down, and start thinking about your financial health.