Free Online Money Management Tools That Make Your Life Easier
Are you using any free online personal finance tools such as Mint, Yodlee, Wesabe, or Quicken Online?
I am not really a big fan of online tools as I prefer to store sensitive information on my home computer instead of on a website. For example, I use Quicken Home & Business to track my investments and bank and credit card accounts, which is the only money management tool that I am currently using (Quicken Online is an online version of the software that’s free for everybody to use).
Last week, an article on The Wall Street Journal listed a few what it called the best online personal finance tools that can make your life easier. The article broke the tools into 6 categories, covering such topics as budgeting (though I have talked about how to use free tools to make a budget before, I don’t have a budget myself), financial planing, tracking investments, and managing loans, etc. Among those tools mentioned, some, like Mint.com and Yodlee, have been mentioned here before, while most of them are new to me. Even if I am probably not going to use any of them, it’s still good to know that there are such options available.
This is definitely the biggest category among the six with the most tools available, including very popular ones Mint.com, Wesabe.com, and Geezeo.com. The basic function of these websites is to help users track thrr expenses by allowing them to download transactions from banks or credit card issuers, which is the first step in creating a working budget. In addition, these websites can also alert users when, for example, a bill is about to pass the due date or the available balance of a bank account or credit card is below a preset level, helping users avoid bank or credit card fees.
Once you are ready to move beyond the stage of tracking and budgeting, there are also free tools to help you go to the next level, such as making plans for how to save for your retirement, and invest your money in general. However, unlike budgeting which is quit straightforward in some sense (you make a plan and stick to the numbers), investing strategy is highly subjective. No matter how comprehensive the online interview can be, no software or website can make investment decision for you. Nonetheless, if you are looking for help to get started, SimpliFi.net is one of the websites that “uses a virtual financial adviser named Sophie to guide you through a planning process based on financial goals.” Other sites like Planwithvoyant.com and Basic.esplanner.com also offer free advices to help you plan your financial life.
Nowadays, many discount brokers, such as Zecco, TradeKing, and Firstrade, have their own social networks where customers share investment ideas and compare portfolios. But the idea of tracking *real* investments doesn’t belong exclusively to brokers, which do have the advantage over other third party players. You can also do the same with Covestor.com and CakeFinancial.com. If you want more than just suggestions from your peers, you can try Portfoliomonkey.com, a website that will examine your portfolio and tell you the expected returns based on your allocation.
In addition to the above mentioned three categories, you can find websites that let you check for fraud (Finra.org), obtain free credit score (CreditKarma.com), and manage loans (Virginmoneyus.com). Check them out to see if you find any of them useful. I know Credit Karma’s free credit monitoring service is
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