The world of personal finance is constantly evolving, and the latest and greatest apps are always popping up to help us save, invest, and spend smarter. But with so many choices, it’s hard to know which apps are truly worth your time and which are just marketing gimmicks.
To make the most of your time and money, it’s worth doing a little research to determine what’s useful and what’s useless. To this end, we’ve put together the following list of the most useful personal finance apps on the market. To give you a head start on the research process, we’ll also take a closer look at a few of the most popular personal finance apps and explore their feature suite, price, and how they can benefit you.
Alternatively, if you’ve already got some money saved up, and just want something that’ll help you build out your investment portfolio, it might be time to consider adding some trading apps to your personal finance tool kit. This trading apps list from Million Dollar Journey has already done half the work for you by compiling four of the best DIY stock trading and investment apps currently on the market.
Why Use a Personal Finance App?
Whether you’re looking to budget, save, earn, or spend, the right personal finance app can make your life easier. A good personal finance app will help you track your spending, set up a budget, and manage your savings. A great personal finance app will sync with other key accounts, monitor your investments, set price notifications, suggest tax minimization strategies, and offer personalized advice to help you stay on track with your spending/saving goals.
How Many Apps Do I Need?
With so many personal finance apps on the market, you might be tempted to download every app you can find. In addition to overwhelming your smartphone with notifications, this strategy will quickly clutter up your phone, drain your time, and ultimately, turn the whole endeavor into a counterproductive exercise. The key to success with finance apps is limiting yourself to apps that offer the most useful features for your particular financial goals.
Obviously, the exact number of apps you need will depend on the complexity of your financial goals and your level of financial expertise. If you’re just starting out, you’ll probably want at least one basic app, like a budgeting app, that will help you keep your spending in check and track where you’re allocating your money. Alternatively, if you’re further along in your personal finance journey, you may need multiple apps to keep track of everything from multiple bank accounts and business expenses to stock portfolios and cryptocurrency holdings. As a general rule, there’s probably going to be very few cases where you need more than 5-10 personal finance apps.
Top 5 Personal Finance Apps
Before we jump into our breakdown of 5 top-rated personal finance apps, keep in mind that some apps will be better for certain types of users and financial goals than others. The beauty of the app market is that you have the power to pick and choose which personal finance apps are best suited to your needs. With that in mind, here are five personal finance apps that we recommend:
Widely regarded as one of the best online stock trading apps on the Canadian market, Qtrade is the obvious choice for any serious stock picker. With a reputation for excellent customer service, the Qtrade app offers customers a clean, responsive dashboard interface for setting up watchlists, executing trades, and depositing funds. In addition to their standard cash trading account, Qtrade supports TFSA, RRSP, and margin accounts for eligible investors.
If your objective is to spend the absolute minimum on fees when buying stocks, Questrade is the platform for you. Boasting free trades for ETFs and a maximum fee of $9.95 for stock purchases, Questrade is a fantastic option if you’re planning on executing frequent trades. While the app’s watchlist and live trading features may seem more limited when compared against platforms like Qtrade, the app makes up for this with its simple, user-friendly design and high-end customer service.
- You Need a Budget (YNAB)
YNAB is an excellent personal finance app for people who have a simple financial goal: to spend less money than they earn. Like other budgeting apps, YNAB tracks all your financial transactions — including checking, savings, and credit card payments — and gives you a comprehensive overview of your spending. The app will even help you set up a budget based on your income and spending habits. Although it is a paid service at $84 per year, YNAB says that most of their customers quickly recoup this cost, with new users typically saving over $6,000 in their first year using the app.
- Personal Capital
Billed as a comprehensive wealth management app, Personal Capital is recommended for users who need a quick, one-stop solution for tracking and analyzing their investment portfolios. The Personal Capital dashboard does just that, allowing users to compare portfolio fees, forecast their net worth, and set up retirement or college saving plans. A paid version of the app supports additional functionalities, including automatic trades for portfolio rebalancing and other investment management services.
Costing $35.99 per year, Simplifi is an easy-to-use personal finance app that provides a comprehensive snapshot of spending habits, investments, and synced account balances. Using Simplifi, customers can analyze their expenses history and set up personal spending plans to limit the amount they spend in certain categories (i.e. capping monthly entertainment expenses). Simplifi users can also access the company’s blog for more detailed guidance on how to better manage their money and stay on track with their financial goals.
Although there is no “one size fits all” solution for personal finance, the apps above offer a wide range of features and services to help you better manage your investment portfolios and maximize your savings. With so many options available, make sure to carefully weigh the pros and cons of each app before deciding on which is best for you. You can find more in-depth information about each of the apps on this list on their respective websites.