Your financial situation can significantly change as you get older. You should prepare for retirement and understand your pension payments before they even start. Budgeting is a crucial part of financial freedom, and there are lots of different types of budgeting apps and programs available these days. In this guide, we’ll look at what personal finance software is and how it could help. You’ll also find information on some of the best personal finance software out there.
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What is personal finance software?
Personal finance software helps you with money management. There are many options out there, and each has different functionalities. But at its core, personal finance software tends to help you track your money and make smarter financial decisions. The software can:
- Monitor your bank accounts, credit cards, loans and investments
- Log your income and spending
- Provide you charts on your finances
Software makes it easier to track everything. For example, you might have several savings and investment accounts, with different banks and service providers. Software helps bring all these accounts together and give you a more comprehensive view of your financial situation.
Some personal finance software can also provide tips on how to improve your finances. For example, they can provide you with information on investments or direct you to different savings accounts.
Personal finance apps are available for your computer, tablet or smartphone. In essence, personal finance software is like having a personal secretary at your disposal, no matter where you are.
There are many different products available, including free and paid services. We’ll highlight five products worth checking out later in this guide.
What are the benefits of using personal finance software?
You might be wondering if using software is worth it. Couldn’t you just track your spending with a good old pen and paper? Creating an Excel spreadsheet isn’t that difficult and could serve a similar purpose. So why choose personal finance software?
The apps have a lot of useful functionality you just don’t get with a spreadsheet. Let’s explore the most significant benefits:
Compiling your financial situation
You might have many different accounts and credit cards. Inputting all the details manually to a spreadsheet can take a lot of time and effort. Third-party software can collect information from other accounts through Open Banking. All regulated banks in the UK are obligated to let you share your details with authorised service providers, such as personal finance software.
Because of the data sharing, the software can collect information from your various accounts. Some personal finance software automatically gathers all this data for you when you create an account and link it with your other accounts. It is often effortless to do directly from your banking app. Some software will update your transactions automatically after the initial setup. Others might require you to input the information manually.
Having the information from different accounts complied together makes it easier to understand the big picture. You’ll get to view your savings account, checking account and retirement accounts at the same time. Because you don’t have to manually input the information, you can guarantee it’s error-free.
Having all the data under a single system can save a lot of time. You don’t have to spend hours every weekend updating your spreadsheet. After the initial setup, you have all the information ready to go.
Scheduling future transactions
You aren’t just receiving information about your spending and earnings. Personal finance software can help you automate, schedule, and manage payments. This can help you gain an idea of your future finances, not just the current situation. It’s easy to set up reminders so you won’t ever miss a payment. You can also view future payments at a glance. This can help you plan your future purchases. For example, you can save more if you notice a hike in payments for the following months.
Setting up financial goals
Personal finance software makes it easier to set up and accomplish financial goals. For example, you might have debt you want to pay, or you are looking to go on an extended holiday after you retire. We all have short- and long-term financial goals like that. Using software can make it easier to set, work towards, and meet these goals.
You can set up spending alerts to make sure you aren’t spending too much. As mentioned above, you can also set up automated payments to a particular savings account. You can get detailed information on how long you might have to save or invest to reach those goals. This can make the goals more tangible and easier to achieve.
Improving your financial health
Personal finance software can boost your finances. The information you receive helps you make better decisions. For example, you can see how much you are making and spending. You don’t have to spend a lot of time or perform complicated calculations yourself. These apps are designed to make it easier for everyone to stay on top of their finances. For example, you can organise your spending into categories and see if you are spending a lot more on eating out than you should.
Is personal finance software safe to use?
What about security? Personal finance software needs you to give a lot of personal information to work correctly. You can’t always thoroughly enjoy the benefits of these systems if you don’t add all your accounts and credit cards to them.
Personal finance software doesn’t gain access to your accounts. The safest systems don’t store your bank account details; they simply ’read’ it. The systems only get a list of the transactions, and no personal account details are attached. These systems also cannot make changes to your accounts. In the event of someone hacking the personal finance software, they wouldn’t get their hands on your bank account. They will only see transaction information that they cannot use.
It’s still worth noting that your money might not be protected by your bank’s fraud protection scheme if things go wrong. Therefore, it’s essential to read the terms and conditions to fully understand the layers of protection the software gives you.
It is essential to ensure you are using software that takes security seriously. The system should use encryption and be compliant with the required safety standards. You also want to opt for something with strong authentication. Setting up two-factor authentication is a good idea for all things that hold any type of personal information.
The most popular personal finance software
There are many different systems available for you to use. Below are five popular software options. Some of these are free to use, while others might have a fee.
AceMoney is a popular personal finance software available for Windows. You can use the product on desktops and laptops. AceMoney is working on a tablet and a smartphone app, but these aren’t yet available. It comes with a one-off payment, which as of October 2021 is £33.98, and you can test the software free for 15 days.
The software allows you to input data from all your bank accounts, investments and credit cards. You can download your transactions automatically. This feature is excellent and offers you flexibility in how far back you want to download the information. You also get a lot of information on things like investment transactions. You can set up budgets and different spending categories to get a comprehensive view of your finances. The system even supports multiple currency transactions. If you are planning a holiday, you can view your spending in pounds without a problem.
Money Dashboard is a popular personal finance software. The free to use application is one of the simplest to use in this list. The software is free, and it runs on iOS and Android operating systems. You can download it to your smartphone or tablet.
You can link it with all UK bank and credit card accounts to see all your accounts at a glance. The software will also track spending and provide you with charts highlighting where your money is going. You can also compare your income and expenditure, and setting up financial goals is straightforward.
The software is read-only, so your money isn’t compromised. If you are looking for an easy-to-use product, Money Dashboard might be the right tool for you.
KMyMoney is another free personal finance software, which runs on Linux, Windows and macOS desktops and laptops.
The software gives you an excellent financial summary of your transactions. You can see how much money you have in different accounts and get a review of future transactions. You can create scheduled transactions to remind you of important events. The system has lots of features for small businesses as well.
KMyMoney allows you to import data directly from different financial institutions. The setup is simple, and the software uses high-end encryption to keep your data safe.
If you want free software to manage your finances, you might want to consider GnuCash. The free-to-use software runs and Windows, Mac and Linux. You can run it on your desktop or laptop.
The software gives a traditional accounting view of your financial information. The features make it comprehensive, but it might not be suitable for those looking for a more straightforward budgeting app.
Moneydance is a desktop application with a straightforward interface. The software is designed with the Apple OS platform in mind, but you can find it for Windows and Linux, too. The product runs on desktops and laptops. There is also a free mobile app. The mobile version only lets you enter or edit transactions so it works best together with the desktop software.
Moneydance has a single, one-off initial cost- £49.99 as of October 2021. You can download the software and run a free demo version first. This is an excellent way to see how the software looks and operates before committing to the cost.
The comprehensive selection of features is the best thing about Moneydance. You can input multiple bank accounts and credit cards to get a comprehensive look at your finances. The different graphics available give a detailed look at your finances. The system can look intimidating at first, but it’s not difficult to use once you start playing around with it.
The software is a little limited for UK users, however. The app doesn’t support the UK bank connection protocols. You’ll need to download your transaction history manually, which can be a bit of a chore.
The final verdict on personal finance software
Personal finance software can help manage your finances, giving you a comprehensive view of your financial situation. Having the ability to view all your financial information in one place is excellent for improving your finances. These platforms also make it easier to track accounts with different providers.
You don’t even have to spend money if you don’t want to. Free software options are available, although paid software can sometimes provide you with extra functionality and security. If you are looking for a way to manage your finances and perhaps reach financial goals, you could give personal finance software a go.