The digital era has radically transformed the ways in which we oversee our financial habits. We’ve come a long way from reliable pen-and-paper methods, such as balancing a chequebook, but the financial literacy rates in both the U.S. and Canada have clearly seen a negative impact.
A personal money manager is a luxury only the wealthy can afford, but smartphones have opened a better, more efficient, and often free solution. There are countless personal finance apps available for use. The ideal one for you depends on what you’re planning to do with your money. Whether you’re looking to stick to a regular budget or you’re saving money for a major purchase, here are the best apps for personal finance to assist you.
Mint has long been among the most popular choices for Canadians — and for good reason. The ability to link all of your financial accounts in one place is a huge benefit, but Mint offers a variety of free features, such as a net worth calculator and budget planner. Perhaps most significantly, given the rising prices in gas and housing, Mint keeps track of your spending habits. The real draw is Mint’s security, which is safeguarded with the latest software and allows for a four-digit encryption code. The only downside to this entirely free and simple app is the occasional ad.
While Mint’s features are geared more to the general public, Wealthsimple Trade is designed specifically for those in the stock trading game. With no account minimums, hidden costs, or commission fees, users can make trades with minimal hassle. Wealthsimple Trade also markets itself as a stock trading app for beginners, with uncomplicated features ideal for newbies and pros alike.
KOHO aspires to be much more than just a budgeting app — in fact, it might even replace your bank. The app sends you a reloadable prepaid credit card. Simply deposit funds via e-transfer and you’ll be in a world of no monthly fees, up to two per cent cashback on every purchase, as well as real time information about your spending. You can even set up a joint account with a spouse. One of KOHO’s most practical features is their automated savings, which will set money aside for the vacation or new car you crave.
YNAB, or You Need a Budget, is more than good advice. This app may be the only one you need to pay ($6.99 a month) for after a 34-day trial period, but it promises to keep a watchful eye on your expenses to help get your finances into shape. YNAB operates using four basic principles, the first of which is to give every dollar in your account a budgeting job. From there, it’s about planning and adjusting your savings for when disaster strikes. According to its own site, YNAB has helped users save $600 within the first two months and $6000 within a year on average.
Kenny Hedges | Contributing Writer