Tax day is just around the corner and people are feeling the pressure to get their finances in order. Whether you are a single worker or a CEO with 5 children and a wife, these tips presented by Tech2U can benefit anyone.
If you are just starting out with money management we highly recommend Mint. Created by Intuit, the who are also the owners of Quicken, Mint can organize and display all your daily transactions and investments. Creating an account is free and all you have to do is input your login information for your bank and Mint will organize, budget, display, and keep track of any goals you might have. Mint also has a mobile app so you can bank on the go and give you real time alerts when you near budget caps of certain categories. Mint will suggest better ways to save such as:
- Saving for retirement and rainy day funds
- Credit cards will cheaper interest
- Ways to earn different sorts of rewards for your lifestyle
Mint is very secure and uses up to date encryption and other 3rd party verification.
Acorns is also a cool app that helps you save money easier. Every time you buy something, Acorns rounds up the transaction and invests the left over amount into your account. For example, if you buy a book for that costs $5.40, Acorns will put the leftover $0.60 into an account of your choice. With this system, people can invest an extra amount of $30-$180 dollars every month. Acorns is $1 a month for accounts under $5k or .25% / year on accounts above $5k and is free for students with a .edu address.
If you are struggling with or looking to protect your credit, than Credit Karma is the app for you. Credit Karma will monitor your personal credit score from Equifax and TransUnion and automatically alert you of identity theft and activity. Credit Karma will also recommend you better credit card loans or offers to save you money. For example, if you got a car loan and your credit score has gone up, the app can help you find a different bank that could give you money for less interest.
Prosper Daily App also helps you secure your credit. The app will collect all of your bank transactions and combine them in one place for ease of access. You are instantly aware of unauthorized transactions and Prosper even tracks “Grey Charges” such as:
- Any subscriptions that have turned from free to paid subscription
- Fake transactions
- Any kind of extra fee or added on charges
To get the full Prosper service you’ll be charged $10 a month but it includes great features such as ID theft protection, live 24 hour support in case you lost your wallet or credit cards, and even surveillance on the black market for any stolen identities.
Walt: Hi, tax day rapidly approaching, and millions of Americans are trying to get their finances in order. Getting their spending, figuring out where all the money went, could we do some late deductions. Jason Davis, from Tech2u is here to talk about some online money management tools and apps that can make getting a handle on your finances even easier. So, what do you recommend for people who are just beginning and they’re trying to figure out how to manage it all?
Jason: Well, a good place to start is at Mint.com.
Jason: Right, they have a free service, and also they have a mobile app, so you’re connected no matter where you go. But basically it’s an expense and finance tracker. So you log in through Mint into your bank account, your credit cards, your mortgage, your investment accounts, all of that. And some people might get sketched out by that, but it’s secured by the same encryption that most online banks use, and is also monitored by a third party security service. So, it’s safe to use.
Once you have all your accounts logged in and there, it’ll categorize every single transaction through all your accounts, right. And it’ll also give you real-time updates with your spending levels in each category. So, let’s say you give yourself $40 a month for coffee in the morning, right. You can set that, and also when you reach $30 a month, you’re going to get an alert saying, “Hey, you’re getting close to your limit”.
Walt: Wow, that’s like data usage. “You’ve used 90% of your data, you’re about to go over”.
Jason: Exactly. So, it’s like balancing your checkbook, except it takes all of your accounts together and gives you notifications. It also has general tips for saving money, like better earning accounts or investment retirement funds, cheaper credit cards with lower interest rates, or specific rewards accounts, based on your spending.
Walt: So, that’s Mint.
Jason: Yeah, Mint.com
Walt: What do you have for acorns.com?
Jason: So Acorns, it’s an app. It’s really great for just starting out and saving just as much as you can. So, basically, every time you make a transaction, let’s say you buy a coffee, right, it’s $2.50. Acorn is going to round that transaction up to $3.00, and invest the 50 cents for you.
Walt: Oh, no kidding?
Jason: Yeah, so on average, users invest between $30 and $180 a month, just on these roundups alone. But they also offer…you can set up recurring investments, or transfer a lump sum. Basically, once you invest, it gives you an investment portfolio based on your risk tolerance. So, if you’re like me, young and don’t have a lot of money, your risk tolerance is low…sorry, your risk tolerance is high, so I can stand a lot of risk. You know, go for more risky investments.
Walt: Is that just a veiled shot at your boss that you need a raise? I didn’t pick up on that?
Jason: No, no he was telling me that if you’re old, like you, you have a lower risk tolerance, so…
Walt: Wow, I should know not to throw anything your way. That comes back double, doesn’t it? Well, lesson learned on that one. So, how about people looking to protect their credit that are struggling to try to do that?
Jason: So, you’ve probably seen the commercial for Credit Karma, right. It’s free. So, they have a Credit Karma app, and what it does, it monitors your personal Equifax and your Transunion credit scores. You get automatic activity level reports so you can spot identity theft and fraud. It also recommends credit cards and loans based on customer reviews. So you have thousands of other people’s opinions, not just little bullet points provided by the company.
And then the next app is Prosper Daily. And what that does, is it sends all your transactions from all of your accounts into a combined inbox for you to approve. So that way if you see one charge that you know you didn’t do, it’s fraud. You can flag it right away. You don’t have to go through all the paperwork. You prevent it from happening. It also monitors companies that switch people from free trials to membership without notifying them.
Walt: I don’t like that.
Jason: Yeah, exactly, or companies that have incredible luxury and service fees. Prosper is really good at protecting you from that. And it’s a free service, but they have a premium option. For $10.00 a month you get identity theft protection and insurance, black market surveillance to make sure no one is selling your personal information. And, lost wallet assistance, so it will notify your credit card company and your bank if you lose your wallet.
Walt: Well, everybody’s been waiting for your app of the week. They sit through all of what we do, it’s like, “When are they going to get to the app of the week?” What do you have?
Jason: This week we have Trello. It’s a free app on every platform, IOS, Android, Kindle, and just a website, Trello. It’s a project organizer and task manager, but it gets away from just the bullet list tasks. It lets you add visual representations. You can pin things to it like a to do lists, ideas, upload images and links to stuff you want to buy for your project. You can share it with everybody or just work on it solo. And it’s nice because you get real-time updates across all of your devices. So, let’s say me and you were doing a project together. If you updated something I would get a notification on my phone and my email, saying, “Hey, Walt just painted this”.
Walt: “Walt just changed everything Jason had worked on,” and then you would be like, “Hey, man, what are you doing?”
Jason: We’re not working together anymore, I guess.
Walt: Why not, you just fired me. You fired me and insulted me. That’s two in one day, okay. Jason Davis, we thank you so much. With Tech2u, your friends in the