These Steps Will Help You Find the Right Personal Finance App
The following is a guest post by Amos Faulkner of Do Money Well. Check out his site for more great advice!
Financial wellness is something nearly everyone aspires to, but it can be difficult to get there when you’re trying to keep up with multiple accounts or debts. Fortunately, there are several apps available that will help you get organized so you can save money for a major purchase, stay on top of your credit score, or learn how to better manage your funds on a daily basis. These can give you peace of mind as you take steps to make better financial decisions.
Before you begin downloading, consider your specific needs and what your plans are for the app. For instance, do you want to keep track of multiple accounts for both your personal and professional funds? Are you looking for something that’s partially automated so you’ll have peace of mind that your finances are in good hands? There are different types of financial apps out there, so it’s important to know what you’re looking for. You’ll also want to learn about your legal responsibilities and how a financial app will affect them, especially if you’re a business owner.
Take your business structure into account
If you’ve formed an LLC for your business, it’s crucial to keep business lines of credit and checking accounts separate from your personal funds. This may sound like a lot to manage, but not only will this help you prevent costly errors, it will ensure that you won’t have any problems with the IRS come tax time. Limited liability companies come with several rules and regulations in regards to how business owners manage their funds, so you could lose your liability protection if there isn’t a clear separation between your accounts. Using an app–or a couple of them–will help you keep things distinct and organized.
Consider your goals
Once you have your accounts sorted, it’s important to think about what your goals are. Do you want to save a big chunk of money but don’t know how to create a realistic budget? Are you an impulse spender and want to get a handle on it? There are several helpful apps on the market with varying levels of automation, so think about what your needs are and how much you can afford to spend on the service itself. Some apps are free to download but come with a monthly subscription, while others offer free basic services as well as paid upgrades. Read a few reviews and ratings to get an idea of which one will serve you best.
Make sure it’s easy to use
Setting a few goals into place will help you find the right app, but it’s also important to make sure you understand how to use it. Financial tools that are overly complicated or require a lot of upkeep on your end may fall by the wayside, no matter how good your intentions are, so make things easy on yourself. Choose an app with great customer service tools, easy integration features so you can link it to your accounts, and security features that will keep all your most personal data protected (you can also learn a few tricks for keeping your information safe when using a smartphone). Consider, as well, whether the app you choose will be easy to use while you’re traveling, especially internationally.
Manage your debt
Whether you want your app to help you save money or keep track of everything you owe in one place, a financial app can help you manage your debt and plan for the future. You can also keep up with your bills and your credit score, pay down your student loans, calculate your taxes, and create a weekly budget in order to save money and stay on top of your financial responsibilities. Add up your current expenses and the amounts of any major debts, including personal loans. Once you have a good idea of how much you owe, you can choose the right app for your needs.
Using personal finance apps can help you stay on top of your legal responsibilities, especially if you’re a business owner, but they can also assist you with everyday tasks, such as budgeting for your next grocery trip. Read the fine print and terms before committing to one app, and make sure it’s as user-friendly as possible to prevent mistakes and frustration.