As our smart devices make us more connected, our lives can become less manageable. Particularly in some of the areas that are the slowest to adopt innovation…financial institutions. Thankfully, there are a whole new crop of PFM (Personal Financial Management) solutions that can help you consolidate your financial picture, allowing you to make more informed budgeting…and spending plans! So unleash the power of the Web and find one that’s best for you and your unique needs. The following are a few of my favorites, but they are certainly not the only options and are presented from the most simple to the most comprehensive.
Looking to increase your savings but not sure how or where to start? BBVA Compass has created SmartyPig for “Simple. Smart. Savings.” As credit cards have become so pervasive, so has the “buy now, pay later” mentality. SmartyPig helps change that to a “save, then spend” mentality. The program helps you set savings and spending goals and rewards you with cash back savings all housed within a BBVA Compass FDIC-insured savings account. And if you’re a social media junkie, the integration with Twitter, Facebook or your blog is a powerful way for you to share your goals with your network to receive support and encouragement from those who know you best!
Overwhelmed by investing? Don’t know where to start? Goal-Mine was just recognized for reinventing the traditional approach to investing by linking your investment accounts to your mobile phone. If you don’t have an investment account, you can open one with as little as $25 and choose very small investment increments. Imagine the power of taking a few dollars a day and using your mobile phone to move these funds into a savings account or GoalMine mutual funds. The power of investing will be with you everywhere, all the time.
Billed as “The best free way to manage your money,” Mint. com is an online money management service that allows you to see a consolidated view of all of your financial accounts such as savings, checking, investments, auto loans and mortgages. Once you establish a free online account and enter the accounts that you want to track, you are now able to set budgets and establish plans to reach your personal financial goals. With free iPhone and Android apps, Mint is mobile with you. As we all need accountability partners, Mint will send you a weekly summary updating you of your spending and savings. Or it can become even more proactive by establishing alerts that will be emailed or texted to you when your account balance drops below a certain level, a bill is coming due, you are running thin on your credit available on your card, and many more.
PageOnce is about as comprehensive a financial partner as you can get. Not only can you track your financial accounts as you can in Mint.com, this tool allows you to track credit cards, frequent flier accounts, hotel partners, email programs, Netflix queue, utility and household bills and more. And all of this consolidated information is überaccessible via nearly every platform available…Android, Blackberry, iPhone, iPad, Windows Phone and more.
Whatever your choice, these are powerful and free tools to help you take the next step in your personal financial management. Give them a try or find another that you like even better. Remember, knowledge is not only power, it’s sexy!
Story by Lynn Yeldell
L Style G Style – Storyteller of the Austin LBGT Community.