Personal Finance Software-Professional Help in Just a Few Clicks

March 27, 2009 by  
Filed under Personal Finance Software

Let’s face it, when it comes to making money decisions, we can all use some help. Many self-made millionaires attribute their success to incredible gut-feel about money or to luck, but chances are they had sound knowledge about budgeting, saving, and investing.

Although using basic common sense is still the foundations for managing finances, financial management nowadays has become more complex. While millionaires and corporations enjoy the services of professional financial analysts to help them make financial decisions, average income earners will have to rely on less expensive sources of information. Fortunately, there are several personal finance software now available to help ordinary folks make wise money decisions.

Many personal finance software are available to use online for free but some do charge a small subscription fee of around $10 per month which is actually a pittance compared to how much you will have to pay for a professional financial manager, and the many benefits you will enjoy from learning how to budget, save money, make some investments, and plan for your retirement.

Most reputable online personal finance software are very secure but if you are not keen on giving out personal details, pick sites that do not require account numbers or other identifying data. Mint, ClearCheckbook, MoneyDance, and EFinPlan, are some of the most widely used personal finance software sites because of their user-friendly interface, relevance, data security, and helpful personal finance advices.

Various personal finance software generate specific financial information but they generally cover three main objectives: 1) helping users create, execute and monitor budget plans; 2) track cash flow; and; 3) make informed decisions on loans and investments. Often, users are required to provide information about their income, regular expenses, and general future plans – for example regarding education or retirement.

By simply answering conversation-like questions, a personal finance software uses financial tools to analyze spending habits, and can point out potential areas where you are overspending money. Online personal finance software can help you track your cash flow with alerts and reminders to help you remain within your budget. While some trackers are pretty basic, other more complex features can help you monitor due dates but will probably require you to input account numbers and other more detailed information.

Perhaps the most important use of personal finance software is helping users compare loans and investments by analyzing interests and charges, and providing a birds-eye view of present and future costs and earnings.

Finance jargon can be very confusing for the average person but personal finance software can simplify things. By simply keying in few information such as income and desired loan amount or amortization period, these personal finance tools can generate information about how much you are expected to pay every month and can analyze if the proposed loan is manageable or not.

Many of the personal finance software sites available also carry helpful articles and tips on financial management. Most of them also direct you to professional financial managers for further help. You will probably not be needing the latter but the tips and articles are pretty informative and down-to-earth.

Quicken – Easy way to budget your money