Choosing which path you’ll take toward financial independence is one of the most important decisions you can make. Here’s a breakdown of the best personal finance software for 2020 that can help you on your journey:
- What Is Personal Finance Software?
- GOBankingRates’ List of the Best Personal Finance Software
- Better Financial Health Takes More Than Just Software
- Personal Finance Software Can Help You Achieve Your Goals
Before personal finance software became available to the public, many people would reconcile their bank statements, checks and check registers by hand. That’s no longer necessary or even advisable, thanks to all the digital tools available. Nowadays, technology makes money management easy. An internet connection and a smartphone can automate complex processes like:
- Syncing accounts and transactions
- Tracking interest and expenses
- Generating reports that provide a current financial overview
- Predicting what your financial future will look like
The following 10 personal finance software platforms have their own strengths and weaknesses, depending on your financial goals and what financial phase of life you’re in. Compare each one to find the best finance software for your needs.
BankTree is based in the U.K., but the platform lets you manage your finances, accounts and credit cards from just about anywhere, including the U.S. The software syncs directly to more than 2,500 financial institutions and credit unions in 55 countries and lets you upload balances, recent transactions and other files from your financial institution. BankTree also lets you work with more than one currency.
The mobile app helps you keep track of spending by allowing you to scan and import receipts. The Starter Plan includes bank syncing, reports and receipt scanning to track expenses. The Premiere Plan has all that plus investment tools.
- Seven-day free trial
- Starter Plan for $4.58 per month or $45 per year
- Premiere Plan for $6 per month or $59 per year
Pros: Besides online access, BankTree offers desktop software and a mobile app.
Cons: The website’s design and navigation aren’t as user-friendly or sleek as other personal finance software programs.
Best For: International investors working with multiple currencies
Buxfer organizes and presents your finances in an easy-to-understand and visually appealing format. This software lets you create budgets and goals for short-term and long-term planning — like saving for a vacation or buying a house — and add real-time alerts to keep you on track.
Reports are customizable, so you can add custom tags to organize your expenses as you see fit. You can also automatically sync accounts or upload statements manually. Five versions are available, depending on your needs and budget. The free version is the most basic and offers bill reminders and five budgets. The most expensive version, Prime, offers the most features, including budget forecasting tools and online payments.
- Free version available for those with very basic needs
- Pilot for $1.99 per month
- Plus for $3.99 per month
- Pro for $4.99 per month
- Prime for $9.99 per month
Pros: The Forecasting tool sends you alerts that helps you be proactive and avoid potential problems, such as the threat of an overdrawn bank account.
Cons: The best features like Goals and Forecasting only come with the Prime $9.99 plan.
Best For: Budgeting for several savings goals at a time
FutureAdvisor claims it can make your investment accounts smarter. Its investment software is designed for home investors looking for free, personalized recommendations to keep their portfolios updated and diversified. The platform works with TD Ameritrade and Fidelity accounts and analyzes your portfolio to provide the right recommendations. If you agree, you can initiate trades through your online broker.
If you prefer a more hands-off approach, you can upgrade to FutureAdvisor Premium for an annual fee of 0.5% of your portfolio to have someone directly manage your investments.
- Free for do-it-yourself assets
- 0.5% management fee for directly managed assets
Pros: Integrates with TDAmeritrade and Fidelity
Cons: Account minimum of $5,000 required
Best For: DIY investors who like customized recommendations
Mint is a feature-rich yet simple service operated by financial software giant Intuit. Its all-in-one approach is designed to give you everything you need to keep your finances in order. Mint can sync your credit cards, investments and bank accounts to analyze your spending habits and set future financial goals. It also sends you customized tips and savings ideas based on your spending habits.
Another valuable feature is that you can set up all your bills in one place and receive account alerts when they’re due, helping you avoid late fees and protect your credit score. You also can track and access credit reports using Mint. It’s free to download for desktop and iOS and Android devices.
Pros: Mint is one of the most feature-rich personal finance apps available — and comes at no cost.
Cons: It can be overwhelming working with so many financial planning options.
Best For: Individuals who want all of their finances in one place, from investments and credit accounts to budgeting and bills
If you’re a fan of zero-based budgeting, Mvelopes offers a digital option. With this program, you create a budget, put cash into each virtual budget envelope and spend no more than what’s in the envelope. Mvelopes keeps it simple so you can meet your budget and savings goals fuss-free.
Once you set your spending limits and create the virtual envelopes, Mvelopes tracks your expenses and keeps your envelopes updated throughout the month. The Basic plan includes online account syncing and budget setup. The Plus and Complete plans add a personal coach on a quarterly or monthly basis to help you meet your goals.
- Free 30-day trial
- Basic for $6 per month
- Plus for $19 per month
- Complete for $59 per month
Pros: Basic and Plus subscribers have access to a personal finance coach to help them with their financial goals.
Cons: Limited personal finance tools and focused mainly on budgeting
Best For: Traditional envelope budgeters who want to go digital and are familiar with using the best budgeting apps.
Personal Capital is a hybrid online advisor that offers free, comprehensive investment management tools and professional investment advisors. Like other personal finance software programs, Personal Capital lets you manage all your financial accounts in one place so you can plan for retirement, oversee your investments and reach your financial goals.
For portfolios of more than $100,000, you can get personalized financial advice for a fee of 0.89% of the balance or less, depending on the balance.
- Free access to the online platform
- Fees of 0.49%-0.89% for personalized investment services
Pros: Besides syncing credit cards and bank accounts, you can connect Roth individual retirement accounts, 401(k) plans and mortgages for a complete financial picture.
Cons: Personalized management requires a portfolio of $100,000 or more.
Best For: Individuals with a high net worth or DIY investors who could benefit from free investment management tools
Quicken is a pioneer in personal finance software, having established itself as the go-to personal finance solution for more than three decades. Its software lets you manage your entire financial picture, from budgets and debt to savings accounts, bills, taxes and investments. Quicken even makes it possible to organize and manage personal and small-business finances in one place.
The basic subscription includes expense tracking across mobile devices and desktops. The Deluxe plan adds customized budget creation, debt tracking and tax and investment organization. Upgrading to the Premier plan adds free online bill payment and priority customer support. The Home & Business plan lets you handle personal and business finances, investments and accounting all in one place.
- Starter for $34.99 per year
- Deluxe for $49.99 per year
- Premier for $74.99 per year
- Home & Business for $99 per year
Pros: The plans are affordable and offer several options.
Cons: Requires running the desktop Quicken program to sync data
Best For: Those searching for an all-in-one business and personal finance software solution
Tiller Money links all your banking and investment accounts and then exports the data to Google Sheets so you can create your own spreadsheets and calculations. Once it’s set up, the software will update your spreadsheets daily with new data.
If you’re an advanced Google Sheets or Excel user, the possibilities are endless. If you’re not experienced with spreadsheets, you can use Tiller Money’s free templates. You’ll receive daily email reports showing the most recent transactions and account balances to keep up to date on your spending.
- Free 30-day trial
- $59 per year
Pros: Daily email summaries showing recent spending and automatic updates to your spreadsheet
Cons: No bill pay or investment features — better as a personal finance software companion
Best For: Hands-on Google Sheets and Excel users
You can’t escape taxes, but you can make them easier to file thanks to programs like TurboTax. The software is designed for users with no accounting experience. It keeps things simple by asking questions like “Do you have any children?” to determine deductions. W-2s and other tax documents can be manually entered, or you can upload a photo of the documents and the software will handle the rest.
The most basic version lets you file your federal and state income tax returns free of charge for basic 1040 forms. If you feel like you need extra help, TurboTax Live connects you with a certified public accountant who can assist you with your tax return.
- Free for simple 1040s
- Deluxe for $60
- Premier for $90
- Self-Employed for $120
Pros: Professional tax help and potential savings from more than 350 possible deductions
Cons: Can only help you with taxes and has no other finance or budgeting features
Best For: Getting your taxes done accurately, easily and on time
YNAB is short for You Need A Budget. The software is designed to help subscribers control their spending and work toward their savings goals. Subscribers also get access to tutorials that can improve their financial expertise. According to the YNAB website, using its platform “means finally facing your finances with eyes wide open. Even if you don’t like what you see, you will have the information you need to take the next step, and then the next one.”
- 34-day free trial
- $11.99 per month or $84 per year
Pros: The software automatically links to your accounts to create accurate spending analyses to track your budget.
Cons: No investment features
Best For: Those new to budgeting and personal finance who are interested in learning more as they go
Although personal finance software can do a lot of the legwork required to get a better idea of your financial health, you’ll need more than software to achieve your goals. Here are other steps you should take to save money and grow your nest egg.
Get Your Financial House in Order
Once you set up the best personal software for 2020, it’s time to spruce up your financial house and get it in order. Use the software to run detailed reports that provide a closer look at the changes and improvements you need to make. Don’t focus solely on short-term goals — plan for your retirement and start contributing to it today.
Meet With a Financial Advisor
If the personal finance software you choose doesn’t include financial planning assistance, meet with a certified financial planner to help you set smart short- and long-term financial goals.
Set a Budget
Budgets are key to controlling expenses and allocating sufficient money toward your financial goals. You should create a budget that works for you — and stick to it. The personal finance software options listed above have budgeting features to help you track your progress.
Drowning in Debt? 18 Effective Ways To Tackle Your Budget
Regardless of whether your goal is to get out of debt, plan for retirement or save for a family vacation, today’s best personal finance software options are more than capable of getting you on the right financial path so you can increase your net worth.
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Disclaimer: This content is not provided by any of the personal finance software companies listed. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by these personal finance software companies.