Only 30 percent of Americans prepare a long-term financial plan including investment goals, states a poll by Gallup. That means 70 percent of people are figuring out their financial plans as they go and hoping the numbers add up somewhere along the way. If you want to be part of the 30 percent, there are ways to simplify the financial planning process from paying bills to knowing where to invest. Take the tedium out of creating a budget and savings plan by downloading a few apps to your smartphone to put you on the right track.
Simplify your banking and savings accounts, investments, credit cards and loans by having them all in one place. With Mint you can set up your accounts and get an easy-to-read, simplified graph to show how much you’re spending and where. Mint also lets you design a budget, and it will alert you when you’ve gone over or when you’re getting close. It is ideal for those working towards a financial goal like paying off a credit card or a trip abroad because it allows you to set a plan and watch your progress. Seeing how close you’re getting also can help motivate you to push harder towards your finish line.
Don’t let the overwhelming amount of investment advice stop you from taking action. LikeFolio figures out which companies you and your friends like and talk about most so you can invest in them. The idea is that you should invest in companies you already know and love. LikeFolio pours through your social media status updates for any mentions of brands and products, and then helps give you more information for your potential investments.
Expensify is for anyone who hates expense reports and wants to streamline the process. It’s free to upload or email an unlimited amount of receipts, and it allows you to quickly add cash expenses and import your credit and debit card transactions. You also can add mileage, time and other billable expenses as needed. Use their SmartScan process to help separate receipts and type out the following information on your behalf. It shows the merchant name, transaction date and amount. The first month is free, and $5 per month after that.
Pay all your bills in one place with the free app called Check. Get instant alerts for upcoming bills, finance charges and other financial activity. It takes a little time to set-up all of your accounts, but once it’s set, Check does all the work for you. When bills are due, simply log in on your smartphone or other device and pay quickly and safely. The app promises bank-level security and real time alerts so you can monitor large expenses and deposits.
This highly intuitive app makes financial management easy with a 360 degree view of your money. Wally consistently gets rave reviews for its simple interface, which is both pleasant to look at and use. Get a glimpse of all your activity from spending to savings while Wally helps you figure out where your money is going. Like Expensify, Wally also has an InstaScan feature to scan a receipt for an expense report or your own records.