10 Companies Making Finance Easier
Posted on Apr 6, 2015 by Donovan
As a follow-up to Our 10 Favorite Financial Startups post, the Regalii team decided to highlight the companies that make our everyday finances and budgeting easier. Although this list is by no means all-inclusive, we’ve narrowed it down to 10 services that everybody should be using:
Mint is the largest free financial planning app available, owned and operated by Intuit (who you may be familiar with if you use TurboTax). These guys deserve to be #1 for their impressively clean user interface, mobile accessibility, and the huge diversity of services available on their platform. You can create budgets, track your investments, chart your spending, and get advice about future financial decisions. The only downsides are ads on the right-hand panel and the fact Mint doesn’t pair you up with a financial planner like some of its competitors. Seems like a small price to pay for such a useful app! We highly recommend you sign up.
2. Mint Bills
Sibling of Mint and previously known as check.me before they were acquired, Mint Bills compiles all of your bills in one place, allows you to pay them directly from the app, and provides reminders whenever you have recurring or upcoming bills. What’s so great about it? It eliminates the hassle of trying to wrangle all of your monthly bills that require multiple different username/password combinations on multiple websites (e.g. Con Edison, Time Warner Cable, Chase) and allows you to pay them from one place, for free. Need I say more? Someone who is connected to both Mint and Mint Bills probably has a much stronger foothold on their finances than a person relying on snail mail to settle their accounts.
Next on our list is www.youneedabudget.com. YNAB is innovative because they truly seem to grasp the human side of money-management and budgeting and aim to educate their users on how to ‘break the paycheck to paycheck cycle’. With a one-time fee of $54, users gain access to free live and recorded money management classes (hosted frequently in most major cities), the ability to sync bank transactions to their interactive online budget book, and great accessibility from all Windows, Android, and Apple devices. YNAB offers services quite similar to Mint at a low one-time cost, but the value added from the real workshops and the sense that this company actually wants to help makes it well worth the investment.
FutureAdvisor is for those who are interested in investing or tracking retirement plans but don’t have the time or expertise to manage them. Truly a futuristic concept, FutureAdvisor ‘help[s] your money make you more money’ by using a top-notch team with incredible credentials to host a service that uses algorithms for tax loss harvesting (with premium version), robo-advising, and investing. Which means you can do as little as invest a set amount, sit back, and watch it grow. Even more inticing, FutureAdvisor also hosts informative services covering 401k, IRA, and Retirement Planning for those interested in becoming more educated about their money-management for the future. With the basic plan free for everyone and the premium cost between $9-$19 a month depending on assets, FutureAdvisor is a must-use service.
A little on the pricier side, LearnVest is a program designed to pair each user with a dedicated financial planner and work towards established goals under that expert’s guidance. LearnVest has a beautiful layout with a team of established professionals and proven testimonials from alumni of LearnVest’s classes- ranging from novices to experts in financial planning- that have benefited from using this service. If your finances are in complete shambles (but you still have $300 startup fees + $19.99 per month) LearnVest can definitely help you find the light at the end of the tunnel and regain control over your money.
6. Personal Capital
One of the leading registered investment advisors around, Personal Capital also enjoys the best relationships with banks and other online financial service providers, allowing them to draw transaction data automatically. What does that mean? Instead of manually inputting your transactions for your different accounts (necessary with many competitors’ software) with Personal Capital you won’t have to spend the extra time to get all of your accounts aligned in one place. In order to make the app free, Personal Capital has self-promoting ads aiming to connect your friends to Personal Capital in the hope that you and/or your friends with assets over $100k will seek out Personal Capital to handle all your future wealth management.
7. Yodlee MoneyCenter
Similar to the above-mentioned digital financial management providers, Yodlee Moneycenter is worth mentioning because the service is completely free and is the backbone of many of the key players in the sector. Personal Capital, LearnVest, FutureAdvisor, and Fidelity’s Full-view use Yodlee’s backend to load financial data (even Mint used Yodlee before Intuit). As a result, Yodlee offers free consumer services merely as a means of generating better data to optimize digital financial management products to offer to banks (which we think is pretty cool!). With Yodlee you can centralize all of you accounts and bills into one place while tracking short and long-term goals.
Moneydance aims to be a one-stop-shop for all budgeting, bill payment, and investment tracking programs at a low, one-time-fee of $50. A hefty rival to the now classic Quicken, Moneydance is sleek and accessible through a mobile app on Apple and Android networks, along with Windows and Linux. Without overwhelming advertisements or too cluttered of a UI, this program creates a great graphic representation of your spending history and is well worth its price.
Prism creates a highly mobile-friendly way of consolidating all of your upcoming bills- and paying them- for free off the app. Super simple to use and set-up, all of your bills appear in order of their due date on your Prism screen and you can set alerts for bill dates, use the interactive calendar, as well as create and track new personal finance goals. We thought Prism was worth mentioning because it is a clean and polished alternative for the mobile user.
Last but certainly not least, Buxfer makes the list by offering a combination of all of the previously mentioned services, including syncing bank transactions, spending trend reports, and advice for reducing unwanted spending as well as saving for future goals. What’s cool about Buxfer in particular is that they let you split shared expenses and send payments online to settle things like rent and groceries with your roommates. Buxfer offers a free option, but the advanced reports and forecasting available if you upgrade to premium are truly what sets this company apart from its competitors. There are two premium offers, $3.99 per month/$48 annually, or $5 per month/$60 annually.
It was difficult for us to choose just 10 companies, however we feel that anyone who has been seeking new financial planning/investing methods should have a much better idea of where to look with the help of this list. Keep an eye out for our next piece and be sure to share with your friends or write us a comment if there’s something we missed!