In 2021, 78 percent of adults in the United States are at least financially stable, up by three points from the previous year. Although risks and challenges remain, this increase in financial well-being has been consistent due to improved economic conditions. This may or may not have increased in the following years.
Financial stability involves financial security, freedom, and control. When you’re financially stable, you have the security to sustain your needs, the freedom to enjoy things after paying bills, and have control over your current financial situation.
However, reaching financial stability is hard work. You must have a consistent financial management routine to protect your savings and grow your income. So, what is personal finance management, and what are the best personal finance apps available?
Defining Personal Finance Management
Personal finance management refers to methods of managing personal finances. It is also a formal term known by its acronym, PFM, a type of software used for mobile banking and digital personal finance tools.
PFM aims to automate and simplify the process of financial management. This technology has enabled the creation of software products that mimic traditional budgeting, expense tracking, and spending habits monitoring.
While mobile banking lets users pay bills, track deposits/withdrawals, and transfer money between accounts, personal finance solutions generally have more comprehensive features and personalization. These features provide broader options, giving you more flexibility to control your financial goals.
For example, some PFM apps are specifically designed for veterans to manage their VA loans and benefits. PFM solutions have also become more user-friendly and targeted to customers.
Top Personal Finance Management Solutions
Although mobile banking and personal finance management solutions may share PFM software, they’re not built the same. Identifying and understanding your needs is essential to ensure you’re using the appropriate system.
Many PFM apps are free, but some require subscriptions for advanced features. Some are also built for Windows and macOS, while others are accessible through the cloud.
With many factors to consider, finding the right PFM app for you can take time and effort. So, here are the top PFM solutions you might want to try:
Quicken is the most popular personal finance platform. This solution is a comprehensive financial management system that covers budgeting, debt management, and investments.
Quicken is available on Windows and macOS. It can sync your bank transactions and sort your expenses. You can also build your investment portfolio with its investment and tax planning tools.
This PFM app has no mobile app version. It also doesn’t offer a free trial option. However, it offers an unconditional 30-day money-back guarantee if you aren’t satisfied with its service. Quicken’s plans also come in different tiers so that you can choose the most suitable pricing for your needs.
Mint is another popular PFM app that lets you monitor expenses and investments. It also has features that manage credits and bills.
Among the notable things that made Mint known is that it is designed mainly for budgeters rather than investors. Thus, it has a user-friendly interface to help you set and achieve your financial goals. Mint also provides real-time alerts if you’re about to overspend your funds.
Signing up on this platform is free, but the mobile app has in-app purchases.
Bookkeeper360 is a PFM solution with dashboards that provide insights into your monthly, quarterly, and annual expenses. It is mainly designed for start-ups and established businesses.
If you have a business, this platform can provide tools to ease your accounting and bookkeeping management. Moreover, it provides entrepreneurial coaching, projections, tax planning, payroll, inventory management, and profit analysis. You can also integrate it with Xero and QuickBooks.
Bookkeeper360 offers a 14-day free trial. The plans start at $1,000 monthly.
4. Credit Karma
Credit Karma is a user-friendly PFM solution that tracks credit and manages debt. This platform also reviews your credit profile and provides a curated list of offers—like loan opportunities—you can qualify for.
Credit Karma is like a credit card shop where you can browse and apply for cards. It lets you shop for personal loans and offers emergency loans, debt consolidation, and special financing if you have poor credit. It even has an “Unclaimed Money” section where you can rightfully claim a reimbursement check or insurance.
While Credit Karma is free to download on Android and iOS devices, the app has ads that can be disruptive and annoying.
You Need a Budget, shortened as YNAB, is a mobile and desktop PFM tool that syncs all your financial accounts and data in one database. It has goal-setting tools that let you set goals and monitor progress. It also provides a loan calculator if you have debts.
Moreover, YNAB has graphical reporting of your net worth and cash flow to visualize your current financial situation. It offers a 34-day free trial. The monthly plan starts at $14.99, with discounts for the annual plan.
6. Empower (formerly Personal Capital)
Empower is a free PFM tool that provides a comprehensive report of your finances in one dashboard. This platform lets you link your accounts, loans, investments, and credit cards.
Empower also has wealth management features for responsible investing and strategic financing. However, the app may be challenging to understand for first-time users, so be prepared to spend time learning how to navigate the platform.
Pricing isn’t available on Empower’s website, so you must contact them directly.
eMoney is a scalable PFM platform that provides various financial planning tools. This software enables you to connect and consolidate your accounts in one dashboard.
eMoney has a comprehensive planning capability, enabling you to draft complex goals, particularly for professionals and business owners. It also has unlimited storage to store your most significant financial documents.
The good thing about this platform is that it offers a free trial. No pricing is indicated on eMoney’s website, but they have four plans: Plus, Pro, Premier, and Enterprise.
8. Intuit QuickBooks
QuickBooks is a popular PFM software for self-employed individuals, start-ups, and small businesses. You can use it for tax accounting and minimization.
If you’re a small business owner, you can use this platform to accept payments from mobile wallets with credit card and multi-currency support. It also provides customization for permissions and reporting. You can use it on your Android and iOS devices.
Although QuickBooks is among the best accounting solutions for business owners, there may be better options for personal use. But if you’re an entrepreneur, it offers a 30-day free trial. QuickBooks plans start at $15 monthly (subject to change as it is currently discounted).
9. Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel
Google Sheets and Microsoft Excel are decent options when you can’t invest in a PFM platform. These tools are spreadsheets that store, manage, and analyze data. They have formulas to add, subtract, multiply, and divide your financial data based on your requirements.
Spreadsheet formulas aim to provide analytical reports and insights into your financial situation. These quantifiable assessments help you see your expenses, bill payments, loan tracking, budgeting, and spending habits.
Both Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets are free and accessible via web browsers. If you want to use Excel’s desktop platform version, you might need to buy a standalone version or purchase a Microsoft 365 home or business plan.
Grow Your Wealth With the Right PFM Software
Personal finance management lets you track your expenses and spending habits easily. By understanding your needs, you’ll pick the right software to help you grow wealth and secure your future.