I've been fine-tuning my money for over 10 years, and I've finally settled on the 3 best free apps to help me build wealth
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- Many companies offer free and paid personal finance tools and apps that you can use to track your money.
- Eric Rosenberg uses a combination of three free money apps to track and manage all of his personal finances: Mint, Personal Capital, and Credit Karma.
- With a combination of these tools, he tracks his budget, analyzes his investments, improves his credit, and builds wealth.
When I was a kid, the best tools my parents had to track their finances were paper bank statements, lined spreadsheet paper, and an old 10-key calculator with a printout. Lucky for us, personal finance tools today are leaps and bounds ahead of what we had in the past.I've been using personal finance web and mobile apps for more than 10 years. Many have come and gone along the way, but a few tools have emerged as the best for a wide range of needs.
These are the three most important tools I use to manage my own personal finances whether I'm on my laptop or with mobile apps on the go. Best of all, they are all free to use.
Mint is the jack of all trades
Mint is one of the oldest personal finance apps and does more than any other. I have 4,315 days of history in my own account. My own Mint history is made up of 24,333 transactions spread across dozens of accounts. It can track bank accounts, credit cards, loans, and investments. You can also add manual accounts to track cash, real estate, and other assets.
Mint allows you to do a bit of everything when it comes to tracking your money. That includes detailed budgeting, investment analysis, credit score updates, bill tracking, goals, and trends. That is a lot of features!
If you are going to use only one personal finance app, this is the one to pick. It doesn't give the very best investment analysis or credit report analysis, which is why you may want to supplement with the two apps below. But for budgeting and tracking your accounts and transactions, it can't be beaten.
Personal Capital provides added investment analysis
If you want to see the most important details and analysis of your portfolio, the most powerful platform is Personal Capital. Personal Capital is a brokerage that offers investment management services, but you can use its investment analysis software for free even if you don't pay for a Personal Capital investment account.This free app will track all of your accounts and transactions, but it's budgeting features are pretty weak and it doesn't look at all at your credit. The investment analysis, however, is best in class.
Balances, portfolio performance, and asset allocations are just a few clicks away. It also includes forward-looking tools including a retirement planner, fee analyzer, and investment checkup. I used these tools when I signed up to adjust some funds and save $300 per year in fees. Taking into account the compounding effect and future contributions, that will easily save me tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars over the decades until retirement.
Credit Karma adds detailed credit reporting
Credit scores are complex. Among the many factors that flow into your credit score, it's tough to isolate specific problems and drill into what you can do to improve your credit even if you have a copy of your free credit report in hand. That's where Credit Karma comes in.
Credit Karma is a free credit score and credit analysis tool that's been around since 2007. After signing up, you'll have access to credit scores and credit reports from TransUnion and Equifax, two of the three major credit bureaus. It includes your latest VantageScore, a popular credit scoring model similar to FICO.
This application shows you how the different parts of your score are weighted and offers custom advice to improve your credit. Credit Karma also has free tax preparation software, a great bonus that can save you from having to pay to file your taxes. But the credit features alone make it worth signing up.
Financial tools are only as effective as you make them
I'm a bit of a money nerd, so I like to see lots of details about my finances. I keep all three of these websites in my bookmarks bar so I can get to them with a single click. Each offers fresh and regularly updated insights into my money. Before them, I had to log into a bunch of different websites to see everything and didn't have any of the advice or analysis at all.
These days, I'm on top of my money with just a few minutes per week thanks to the useful dashboards at Mint, Personal Capital, and Credit Karma. I can always dig in for more details when I want as well. After a lot of testing, this is the best money system for me.
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