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Master Your Money: 5 Financial Planning Apps to Ace Your Finances

Posted by Arya Chatterjee

April 24, 2024

Piling bills and constant financial stress? These five apps will revolutionize the way you manage your money.

Financial planning is a crucial skill set for a new entrepreneur or small business owner, but it does not come naturally to everyone. While hiring an outsourced accounting firm for your business is highly recommended, you can do better personal money management with some tech help.

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Budgeting isn’t the most thrilling activity on the planet, but it’s crucial to ensuring financial independence. An OppLoans survey showed that 73% of Americans don’t have a budget that they follow. It’s like trying to fly a plane without a flight plan.

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But don’t fear, in this digital age, help is just a tap away. Your best friends in this journey are your smartphones and apps. Whether you want to save up for that dream vacation, obliterate debt like a ninja, manage your business capital, or build an emergency fund for a rainy day, our list of financial planning apps will have your back.

Why do you need a financial planning app?

We live in an era where financial literacy is the secret key to building wealth, and Americans need more than just a basic understanding of personal finance — they need actionable tools to navigate the complexities of modern money management.

A financial planning app is your digital compass in this financial adventure, providing you with the guidance, insights, and organization necessary to make strategic decisions about your finances. A Federal Reserve survey showed that nearly 4 in 10 Americans don’t have $400 in their account to cover an emergency expense. Financial planning apps can help you change that.

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In a tech-led world, you can harness the power of technology to gain visibility into your spending habits, ensure solid financial goal setting, optimize budgeting, and ultimately work towards a more secure and prosperous future. Whether building an emergency fund, practicing debt management, or investing for retirement, these apps provide the roadmap to ace personal finance planning with confidence and clarity.

1. Mint: The OG budgeting boss

If budgeting were a kingdom, Mint would undoubtedly be its wise ruler. This app has been reigning supreme in personal finance planning for years, and for good reason. Mint syncs up with your bank accounts, tracks your spending habits, and offers customized budget suggestions based on your financial dreams. Further, you can track your bills, monitor your credit score, and keep a close eye on your investments, all with a click of your finger. The app is reliable, intuitive, and packed with features to help you stay on top of your monetary goals.

Key features:

  • Budgeting made simple: Mint categorizes your expenses, and spending habits, and shares personalized insights to give you a bird’s eye view of your financial landscape.
  • Financial goal setting: Mint helps you set realistic goals and monitors your progress.
  • Debt management: Mint offers actionable steps and strategies to tackle your debt head-on—no more sleepless nights.
  • Emergency fund essentials: Building an emergency fund is crucial for financial independence, and Mint ensures you set automatic saving goals.

2. YNAB (You Need a Budget): Where every dollar has a purpose

If you ever find yourself scratching your head at the end of the month, wondering where all your money went, YNAB is for you. This app doesn’t just track your spending — it assigns every dollar a job, ensuring you’re on track with your financial goals. It focuses on budgeting by prioritizing your financial goal setting and aligning your spending based on what truly matters to you. The app ensures you don’t aimlessly spend and builds a budget that works as hard as you do.

Key features: 

  • Embrace your true expenses: YNAB’s philosophy revolves around planning for future expenses. By breaking larger expenses into manageable monthly contributions, YNAB ensures you’re never caught off guard.
  • Rule-based budgeting: YNBA’s four principle rules are simple: give every dollar a job, embrace your actual expenses, roll with the punches, and age your money.
  • Debt paydown strategies: YNAB has powerful tools to help you tackle debt gracefully while prioritizing payments, tracking progress, and celebrating victories.
  • Live within your means: With YNAB’s proactive approach to budgeting, you’ll learn to live within your means while still enjoying the things that matter most to you.

3. Personal capital: Your financial command center

When it comes to comprehensive financial planning, Personal Capital stands strong. More than just a budgeting app, Personal Capital is a holistic wealth management platform designed to optimize your financial health. The app combines cutting-edge tech with seasoned financial expertise to guide you toward a brighter economic future. It’s like having a personal finance wizard in your pocket.

Key features: 

  • 360-degree financial dashboard: With Personal Capital, you’ll get a complete overview of your financial life, from your net worth to your cash flow and everything in between.
  • Retirement planning simplified: With robust retirement calculators, investment analysis tools, and personalized advice from certified financial planners, retirement planning will be effortless.
  • Investment management: Personal Capital’s investment tools empower you to make informed decisions, optimize your portfolio, and maximize returns.
  • Fee analyzer: Personal Capital’s fee analyzer identifies hidden fees across your investment accounts, helping minimize costs.

4. EveryDollar: Budgeting made simple

Budgeting can be easier than balancing sheets, and EveryDollar is proof of that. This user-friendly app takes the complexity of budgeting and breaks it down into simple, easy-to-do tasks. By simplifying budgeting, EveryDollar allows you to focus on what matters — like building that emergency fund to weather any financial storm.

Key features:

  • Zero-based budgeting: EveryDollar follows the zero-based philosophy, allocating every dollar to a specific purpose, leaving no room for financial ambiguity.
  • Track expenses easily: The app’s intuitive interface makes tracking expenses a breeze. Simply put your transactions and let EveryDollar do the heavy lifting.
  • Custom categories: You can customize your budget categories to align with your unique spending habits and financial goals.
  • Debt snowball calculator: Let EveryDollar’s Snowball Calculator devise an effortless debt payoff plan for you.

5. Acorns: Planting seeds of financial growth

Last but certainly not least, we have Acorns. This app puts the power of investing in the palm of your hand. Acorns takes a novel approach to personal finance by rounding up your everyday purchases and investing the spare change. It’s like planting seeds of financial growth with every swipe of your card, allowing you to build an empire seamlessly over time.

Key features: 

  • Round-up investing: Acorns rounds up your everyday purchases to the nearest dollar and invests the spare change in a diversified portfolio of EFTs, helping you build your empire.
  • Automated investing: No more manual investing—Acorns automates the process for you, making it easy to build wealth with the click of a finger.
  • Customized portfolios: Whether you’re a risk-averse investor or a thrill-seeking founder, Acorns has a diversified array of assets on which you can build your portfolio.
  • Found money: The Found Money feature earns you cashback rewards on your everyday purchases, which are then automatically invested in your Acorns account, which is a win-win.

Bottom line

Mastering your money is not about crunching numbers or squeezing every penny until it screams – but about empowerment, freedom, and the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’re in control of your financial legacy.

These five financial planning apps are like trusty sidekicks on your voyage through the financial forest, each bringing its unique superpower. Why settle for financial mediocrity when you can unleash your inner financial superhero? With these apps having your back, you can conquer the budgeting bears, slay the debt dragons, and build an emergency fortress strong enough to withstand any financial storm.

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Want help with business finance planning? In addition to HR, benefits, recruiting, and payroll through its PeopleOps, Escalon’s Essential Business Services include FinOps (CFO services, taxes, bookkeeping, and accounting) and Risk (business insurance). Talk to an expert today.

This material has been prepared for informational purposes only. Escalon and its affiliates are not providing tax, legal, or accounting advice in this article. If you would like to engage with Escalon, please get in touch with us here.


Arya Chatterjee
Arya Chatterjee

Arya Chatterjee is a freelance writer and consultant from Mumbai. With a background in journalism and over five years of creative writing experience working with legacy media like Architectural Digest and Femina India and brands like The Label Life, and Macy's, she crafts unique and compelling stories that engage the readers. She enjoys writing about health, beauty, fashion, and lifestyle and exploring the symbiotic relationship between thriving businesses and happy employees through her writing. She is always looking to explore new avenues to expand her creative energy.

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