Apps to Manage Your Money

Seems like apps exist for about anything you need, from restaurants to movies to airline tickets. What about handling your money and financial future?

Applications (software) run on the Internet, on your computer or on your phone or other electronic device. Often, clients ask us at our firm for suggestions of financial apps to help track expenses or create a budget or for financial apps for their children.

Here are three favorites.

Mint (operating systems iOS and Android; free). We frequently recommend Mint Personal Finance because it’s simple to use. You view all your financial account balances in real time.

The app sends an alert when you’re about to surpass your specified budget and allows you to manage your expenses. You can also add investment or retirement accounts, multiple credit cards and loan accounts for a monthly overview of spending and saving in both graph and chart form.

Other features:

  • Simple setup:  You just need login credentials and any security questions and answers for each institution you want to track. One overarching benefit of Mint.com is your ability to view all your accounts in one place. The app connects with almost every U.S. banking financial institution, whether for a checking, savings or any other type of account.
  • Account security: Mint uses 128-bit Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption – the security that banks use – and online attestation providers VeriSign and TRUSTe protect and validate all data. Keep in mind that Mint is read-only, meaning you can’t move funds between or out of accounts.
  • Track transactions: You can categorize, name or rename any transaction for easy identification and easily divide purchases from one transaction into different categories.

Expensify (iOS, Android, Windows Phone and BlackBerry; free for individuals). Great if you travel for business or closely track expenses for tax purposes, Expensify helps capture receipts, track time or mileage and create expense reports. Features include:

  • Expenses:  You can code mileage, time and other reimbursable or billable expenses to general ledger accounts and to individual clients or projects. To capture mileage records, just activate the global positioning system (GPS) setting in your cell phone. You can also export data to Excel worksheets.
  • Receipts: You can scan receipts with your smartphone, upload receipts from your computer or forward an email containing a receipt. You can also forward flight, hotel and other purchase confirmations in many formats for upload to your receipts file in Expensify. Receipt upload and storage is unlimited.
  • Mobile: No more stuffing receipts in your wallet, car or briefcase – you take a picture of the receipt to upload to your account. You also create and submit expense reports with your phone.
  • Reports: You can generate multiple reports for your accountant or employer.

Bloomberg (iOS, BlackBerry, Android, Samsung, Windows Phone and Nokia). This app is ideal if you watch your portfolio daily or even minute by minute or you want up-to-the-minute news on the markets, business and finance. The app provides market data, comprehensive reports and easy-to-understand charts and graphs. Other features:

  • Portfolio monitoring: You track investments with interactive charts that allow you to drill down on relevant information and statistics.
  • Varied news: Categories include economy, technology, health care, energy, spending, bonds, commodities, currencies, emerging markets, funds, insurance, municipal bonds, opinions, politics, sports and stocks.
  • Personalized views: You can see news by industry, region or popularity, as well as news related to particular stocks and details for stocks’ open, close, high or low prices during the last five years.
  • Market data: Information covers equity indexes, commodities, bonds, currencies and futures.

These apps are my personal favorites. Let me know if you want to share yours.

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Gabe Muller is Director of Client Service and Operations at Glassman Wealth Services, a fee-only investment management, financial planning and wealth management firm in McLean, Va. Follow Gabe on Twitter @GabeMuller2011

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