Whether you’re considering changing jobs, or eyeing potential new investment opportunities in crypto, there’s a chance you’ve found yourself in the past year thinking seriously about your financial situation, perhaps for the first time.
Workers across America are poised to leave their jobs behind, choosing to embrace the uncertainty of new horizons rather than dust off their pre-COVID cubicles. Even if this isn’t you, many of us will feel the financial impact, and the “great resignation” isn’t showing any signs of slowing.
If massive flux in the workplace hasn’t gotten you thinking about financial planning, maybe emerging investment opportunities have.
Somewhere between a realization for the need for financial security and opportunities to invest, is a financial plan—a plan that involves identifying your future financial goals, and taking appropriate measures to make them happen.
Of course, just because you know you need a financial plan doesn’t mean you know how to make one. The good news is there are several apps available to help beginners get started on their financial planning journey.
Keep in mind that while many of these apps have similar features, they are all unique in one way or another: the right features with the right price (free in some cases) are what will make for the right app to fit your personal financial needs.
Here is our list of the top seven financial planning apps:
Financial planning is all about setting goals, the kind of goals that make the most sense for your situation and values.
Lasso allows you to get started on your financial planning journey quickly, with an easy profile-building process to start. Where many financial apps require that you link to multiple accounts before you do anything, Lasso let’s you get right to work.
Once you’ve signed in to Lasso with a profile, it’s time to set some financial goals. How much wealth do you have now? How much do you want, by when? For what purpose? As you answer these questions in Lasso, your financial plan will start taking shape.
Lasso lets you choose one of five saving goals:
- Emergency Fund
- Create Your Own.
Then you’ll begin defining your chosen goal by answering these questions:
- How much do you want to save?
- When do you want to save it by?
- How much do you have now?
- How much can you save every year?
- How much risk are you comfortable taking?
All told, you can have a complete financial plan within five minutes after clicking “Download” in the App Store.
But it doesn’t stop there. Lasso goes an extra unique step of allowing you to share your plan with advisors who can then show you how it can be improved.
Lasso is completely free: no hidden fees and no requirement to enter payment info. Of course if you choose to work with an advisor, they will have their own associated charges, but the app remains free.
If you’re feeling lost when it comes to financial planning, it’s entirely possible that “You Need A Budget.” YNAB is a paid app that proposes to help you out on that score. Boasting a slew of impressive features, YNAB is worth checking out for anyone looking to get their finances on track.
One advantage that YNAB has is a time-tested budgeting method that helps you see where your money is actually going. You can budget together with a partner in real time, accessing your plan from a variety of devices.
YNAB also offers free, on-demand educational classes to help you understand your finances better. It also provides in-depth, informative reports to help you get a better high-level view of how you’re spending.
YNAB offers a free, 34-day trial. After the trial, monthly plans start at $11.99/month or annual plans are $84/year.
Mint touts the impressive claim of being the #1 most downloaded personal financial app. For a whole budget picture of your finances, Mint can be a very useful app.
Mint offers its users a whole financial picture. Once you’ve linked all your accounts, you’ll be able to see the whole picture from a single app.
Mint will track your spending and automatically categorize your individual transactions accordingly.
It also offers “Mindsights”—personalized financial insights about your spending in relation to your budget—allowing you to see how your spending tracks with your goals. While Mint covers a wealth of financial aspects, one piece you may find yourself wanting is a big picture plan for your goals. If that sounds like you, then you may want to consider another option on this list.
Mint is completely free.
Digit offers to help take the thinking out of saving and investing your money by doing it all for you.
Digit aims to help users with a specific set of features:
Saving: Digit moves money to a rainy day fund with no limits every day, allows you to set up unlimited savings goals, chips away on your old debt and offers overdraft protection.
Investing: Digit matches you with a diversified investment portfolio based on your personal risk level. Whether it’s a retirement IRA or another long-term financial goal you have, Digit offers robo-solutions that can help you get on track.
You can try Digit out free for 30 days. After that it’s $5/month.
5. Every Dollar
Every Dollar is a product from Dave Ramsey’s team aimed at promoting financial responsibility by helping users “tell your money where to go” rather than “wondering where it went.”
Every Dollar Features
Set up is relatively quick, allowing you to get up and running in a matter of minutes.
The saving funds feature helps you put aside a little bit of money each month for emergencies or a big purchase.
Custom due dates help you keep up with bill paying.
At its heart, Every Dollar is a budgeting app, so that’s where most of the power is delegated. The budgeting feature allows you to create and rearrange categories and lines so you can control where your money goes.
Every Dollar Pricing
There’s a free version that includes basic features. With a Ramsey+ membership ($59.99/3months, $129.99/12 months) you can sync your bank accounts, see custom budget reports and more.
Betterment is proud of their investment philosophy: “Betterment uses real-world evidence and systematic decision-making to help increase the take-home value of our customers’ wealth.”
This philosophy underlies every feature of their app.
With Betterment, you can check your account on the go with an in-depth view of your balance and all transactions. You can also make deposits, transfer and withdraw your money directly in Betterment, if your bank allows it.
Betterment also allows you to set financial goasl and monitor whether you’re on track or not based on info from your connected accounts. You can add as many investing goals as you want.
In short, Betterment is designed to be an all-in-one app that does everything from banking to planning to investing.
The Betterment app has a unique pricing scheme. It is built with the intention of getting you to invest through their app, so that’s where their pricing comes in. Beyond their no fee checking option, for a 0.25% annual fee you get a spread of digital investing options, and for a 0.40% annual fee you get access to all the premium investing features.
7. Personal Capital
The final app on our list is Personal Capital, one of the most popular options out there today. They offer their free app for mobile, tablet and desktop so you can monitor your wealth wherever you are.
Personal Capital Features
Similar to Betterment, Personal Capital aims to be an all-in-one financial solution with an eye toward making it easy for you to invest through its app.
It allows you to monitor all of your accounts in one place with a powerful dashboard. In addition, their Retirement Planner allows you to manage your goals and plan for retirement.
Like we said, Personal Capital is built to power your investing needs, and the Investment Checkup tool offers built-in investment intelligence to help you make adjustments to your portfolio. This tool leverages what is called “robo-advice,” meaning it is based on an investing algorithm rather than a human advisor’s real-time advice.
Personal Capital Pricing
The Personal Capital App is free. After you have $100,000, you can choose to work with an advisor for a fee of 0.89%.
Get Started Today
Financial planning is an essential step to making sure you get to live the future you want, with the amount of wealth you’ve planned to use. Whichever app you end up choosing, let it be just a first step on your path toward setting and meeting your personal financial goals.