I have had a few people ask me what are some of the best personal finance tools that I use in my own life. When I started thinking about it, I thought it would be worthwhile to share with everyone! Here are the tools that I use to help me automate savings and create efficiencies in my own finances.
Simple has made an incredibly easy online checking account that has some amazing functionality and has an amazing user experience. It allows you to create savings goals for your money and automatically tells you how much money you have left to spend after you save for them. For all of you envelope system budgeters, THIS IS FOR YOU!!! Imagine having the envelopes created and saved in your checking account and not having to always withdraw the cash! You can easily send cash to other Simple users and send checks to anyone online! Not to mention, it is the best looking checking online portal I have ever seen! The last cool thing about it is that there are absolutely no fees!
Goldman Sachs just entered the world of online savings accounts, and right now they have a very competitive rate. You can open a 100% liquid online savings account paying 1.05%! Many financial institutions are not paying this kind of rate on their CD’s let alone savings accounts. There is no minimum deposit here so if you have some funds you are looking to park on a short term basis, this could be a good spot!
Betterment is one of the tools we use at Stewardship for investments. I use it personally and it is one of the coolest investment platforms I have ever seen. Betterment allows you to set investment allocations for different savings goals (i.e. retirement, saving for a house, etc.). Not sure how much you need to put away each month to hit your goal? Let Betterment know the desired amount and it will make a savings plan based on your time horizon and expected rate of return of your allocation. They offer a great technology platform for viewing your investments and setting up transfers from your bank account. If you are not a disciplined saver you can use SmartDeposit, which automatically transfers excess money from your checking account that is above a limit that is predetermined by you. For example, if you think that $10,000 is enough to have in your checking account, Betterment will check your balance weekly to transfer any amounts in excess of $10,000.
So there you go… These are some of the tools that I am using in my finances to help make every day personal finance easier. What are some of the tools you are using to automate your savings?
Jeremy Sharp is the Director of Financial Planning at Stewardship Financial. Jeremy loves helping people figure out ways to organize their financial life and make better decisions with their money. Jeremy and his wife have two boys and is an avid fan of New England sports.