Money is kind of like a toddler. If you’re not keeping a close eye on it, it’s going to sneak away. Lucky for us, mobile technology makes it comparatively easy to mind our money these days. Personal finance apps abound that sync to our credit card and bank accounts, keep an eye on our cash flow, and highlight negative and positive trends.
Minding your money digitally is vital for the modern doctor, who is more pressed for time than ever. Digital financial solutions can free up minutes in your day and hours in your week. Here are 7 that we think are great.
Quicken is the original name in personal finance software. Unlike much-discussed Mint, Quicken isn’t free. It charges users an annual subscription. The paid subscription, however, is worth the price. Quicken also added a mobile app to supplement what has been exclusively desktop software.
You will likely want to opt for the Deluxe version, which costs $44.99 per year. The Deluxe version gives you all of the capabilities of the basic offering, which include an overview of all of your accounts, automatic expense categorization, and one-month budgeting. But most doctors will benefit from the expanded features of Deluxe, which include 12-month budgeting with customizable goals, principal and interest tracking for loans, and a customizable investment portfolio view.
The days of settling up with bacteria-laden cash are long gone. Venmo is your new, hygienic best friend. This Paypal-owned mobile application links directly to your bank account, debit card, or credit card and allows you to transfer money to your friends. Transactions from checking or savings accounts, or debit cards, are free. For a 3% transaction fee, you can send money from a credit card account. Some stores are even accepting payments from Venmo.
If you grant the app access to your contacts, Venmo will scan them to identify Venmo users in you address book, making it easier for you to send and receive money. A word of caution: A default setting in Venmo allows other Venmo users to see your transactions. If you don’t like this, switch it to private.
Ever vacation with friends or family and go through the process of settling up after the trip is over? It can be about as pleasant as a tooth extraction. Don’t strain your relationship with dear Aunt Mildred over the $1.50 she stiffed you on bean dip. Instead, get Splitwise.
Splitwise takes the guesswork and tension out of settling up. Simply put everyone in your party on the app. Each user inputs what they spent on purchases for the group. The app automatically calculates who owes what, and to whom, at the end of the outing. Once you know what you owe, use Venmo to settle up quickly so everyone goes home happy.
A little while ago, we posted about how monthly subscriptions can erode your personal finances over time. Some Silicon Valley wizard has come up with a way to streamline the elimination of these financial succubi.
Clarity Money uses artificial intelligence to identify monthly subscriptions in your financial accounts. It highlights what you’re paying and simplifies the process of eliminating these financial drains, if you no longer want them. Clarity Money will also make bigger-picture financial recommendations based on the data to guide you toward financial prosperity.
Know thyself. And thy credit score. Credit Karma allows you to keep an eye on how your credit is doing for free. The app shows you Equifax and TransUnion scores, giving you a fairly broad overview of how your financial decisions affect your credit. Your score is updated weekly and you can compare your score to others by income, age, and location.
Just remember that free doesn’t always mean free. Credit Karma makes money off the advertisements that it serves you. It uses your financial data to show you more relevant advertising. Maybe think twice about the ad for the latest rewards card.
Struggling to save for retirement? Acorns isn’t exactly a solution, but it’s a good place to start. Acorns automates the investment process, helping you build the habit. Link the app to a debit or credit card. The app automatically rounds up to the nearest dollar and invests the change in an investment portfolio of your choosing.
This shouldn’t be a replacement for your employer’s retirement plan. Acorn only offers individual taxable accounts. Also, if you use this instead of what your employer is offering, you could be walking away from free money in the form of an employer match. Think of any money you might accrue here as icing on the cake at your eventual retirement party.
Prism is a well-designed bill management and payment solution. Instead of signing into multiple accounts to pay your bills, Prism puts them all in one place. The app makers boast that they have 11,000 billers already on file to streamline the setup process. These include banks, utility companies, and subscription services, such as Netflix.
You can make manual payments through the app or set up automatic recurring payments. Prism will even remind you about upcoming bills to avoid late payments.
The following are some extremely handy, doctor-friendly personal finance apps:
Quicken: For budget creation and management
Venmo: For transferring money to others or receiving money
Splitwise: For settling up with friends and family
Clarity Money: For staying on top of pesky subscription services
Credit Karma: For monitoring your credit score
Acorns: For saving and investing a little extra
Prism: For simplifying and automating your bill payment