The 8 Best Personal Finance Software Options of 2020
Stay on top of all your expenditures
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Personal finance software and apps can help you master the basics, become more efficient at managing your money, and even help you discover ways to meet your long-term financial goals. Choosing the best personal finance software depends on your current financial needs. Some personal finance software can help you master budgeting and expense tracking, while others can help with investment portfolio management. Of course, your budget for personal finance software matters, too. Our list of the best personal finance software includes free and paid options to suit a variety of financial goals. So take a look and get your finances in order in no time.
Best Overall: Quicken
Having been around for several decades, Quicken is one of the most established personal finance software on the market. You can use the software to manage various aspects of your financial life from budget creation to debt tracking, savings goals, and even investment coaching. The software features Excel exporting, which allows you to manipulate and perform additional calculations on your data. One of the more advanced features includes bill paying, which allows you to set up payments for your bills right from the software. You can even use it to track the value of your assets to have an accurate calculation of your total net worth. The app is robust enough to manage both your personal and business expenses and even handles property management functions like rental payments from tenants. The software starts at $34.99 and is available for Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android.
Best for Budgeting: Mint
Mint is one of the most popular budgeting and expense tracking tools. You can have the software pull in your bank and credit card information to analyze your spending and pinpoint areas where you can cut back to improve your finances. For more accountability, Mint allows you to set up alerts for things like due dates and low balances to keep you on track. These features help you avoid expensive fees on late payments and overdrafts from your bank account. If you’ve set up budget categories, Mint will give you real-time information about the amount you can spend on things like food and gas. Mint is free to download and use on iOS and Android devices, as well as desktop.
Best for Habit Building: YNAB
You Need a Budget, or YNAB, is a personal finance software that’s aimed to help you improve your financial literacy as you manage your monthly budget. As you create your budget and manage your daily finances, the software provides you with tutorials that will help you tackle some of the tougher financial topics. If you’ve been struggling with bad financial habits, YNAB can help you break those through a few basic financial management rules.
The software automatically links to your bank account, integrating your spending information for analysis and budgeting tracking. You can keep tabs on how you’re tracking toward your monthly budget and take action if you’re overspending. It doesn’t include any investment tracking capabilities. YNAB offers a 34-day free trial that allows you to use the software while you decide whether it’s right for your personal finance goals. The full software is $6.99 per month ($83.99 per year).
Best for Zero-Based Budgeting: Mvelopes
The traditional envelope budgeting system helps you stick to a budget by using envelopes to manage your money. Once you’ve broken down your budget, you put that amount of cash into different envelopes. So, if you budget $100 for gas for the week, you place that amount in a "gas" envelope. Once you’ve spent that $100, that’s it. Mvelopes takes this same approach to budgeting, except that it’s done digitally on your phone and computer rather than with physical cash.
Choose the financial goals that are most important to you, then add your bank accounts and set your income. Mvelopes will help you create a budget and set up your “envelopes.” The software tracks your spending and shows you what you’ve spent from each envelope to keep you on budget throughout the month.
The basic version starts at $6 per month, with the higher-priced options providing additional features and coaching options. You can try Mvelopes free for 30 days, too, before deciding which plan is right for you.
Best for Taxes: TurboTax
You may not necessarily need TurboTax to manage your finances throughout the entire year, but when it’s tax time, the software can come in handy. While it’s one of the pricier tax preparation tools, it’s also consumer-friendly, walking you through your tax preparation to help you accurately file your tax return. Entering your tax information is fairly simple—you can import your W-2 information from your employer or take a picture of it and the software will transfer the information into the form.
If you’ve used TurboTax in previous years, the software will remember much about your personal information and ask whether there have been any major changes. The most basic version lets you file your federal and state return for free if all you use is form 1040 with no attached schedules.
On the higher end, TurboTax Live connects you with a CPA or Enrolled Agent to give you personalized advice and answer questions about your tax return. Paid versions of TurboTax include a feature to help you uncover deductions you may not have known were available to you. While you can use TurboTax on the web, you can also download the software to your device for added security.
Best for Investing: FutureAdvisor
If you’re a DIY investor looking for low-cost access to a financial advisor, FutureAdvisor is a great option. The investment software provides personalized recommendations to help you diversify your portfolio, which you can follow or not follow as you see fit. You're eligible to sign up for the software if you have at least $5,000 in investable assets. FutureAdvisor manages the assets you transfer into the account for a flat annual fee of 0.5% of the managed assets, billed quarterly at 0.125%. When you transfer your assets into the account, FutureAdvisor works to consolidate them into accounts with its partners, Fidelity or TD Ameritrade.
Best for Investment Advice: Personal Capital
Personal Capital allows you to manage all your financial accounts in a single platform. You can include your bank accounts, mortgage, and other credit accounts, plus your investment accounts, to have your complete financial picture right in front of you. If you have multiple accounts—as most of us do these days—using Personal Capital can save you from having to switch between multiple screens to understand where you stand.
If you have a portfolio of more than $100,000, you can get personalized financial advice based on your goals. While you’re charged a fee for this service, the financial advisors are obligated to provide you with advice that works in your best interest.
Use the software to tell whether you’re on track with your retirement and other investment goals. Even if you’re not quite ready to take advantage of the financial advisor, you can use Personal Capital to track your finances and investments in one place. The core software is free, but there may be fees for additional features.
Best for Spreadsheet Management: Tiller
Tiller links to your checking, credit card, loan, investment and other accounts and exports the data into a Google Sheet where you can then perform your own calculations on the data and even download it into Excel. Tiller lets you choose from templates that organize your data for you or you can customize your spreadsheet to suit your needs. It'll also send you daily emails with a summary of your recent transactions and balances. The service costs $59 per year or $4.92 per month, but you can take advantage of the 30-day free trial to decide whether it's right for you.