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The 5 best budgeting apps for tracking and planning your financial life

Michael Ansaldo | July 22, 2016
Take control of your spending and build wealth.

quicken budget
Quicken

Quicken analyzes your bank account transactions and creates a personalized budget with monthly spending goals.

In its most basic form—the $40 Starter Edition—Quicken will import and categorize all your bank and credit card transactions, project your income and expenses, alert you to upcoming bills, and help you create a budget. Quicken Deluxe ($75) puts an increased focus on reducing debt and saving, and Quicken Premier ($105) adds portfolio information, tracking your investments’ performance and helping with buying and selling decisions. There’s also Quicken for Mac, though it’s features have historically lagged behind the Windows offering.

It’s gotten tougher for Quicken to differentiate itself among the growing ranks of competitors. One way it still stands apart, though, is the ability to conduct banking, such as paying bills and moving money between accounts, from within the desktop app. Still, Intuit recently sold Quicken to a private equity firm that has promised to invest in product improvements.

Personal Capital

If you’ve mastered your budget and savings and have some dollars to play with, you might consider a more powerful money management app. Personal Capital is a wise investment.

personalcapital
Personal Capital

Personal Capital lets you see the impact of hidden fees on your retirement savings.

The brainchild of former PayPal and Intuit CEO Bill Harris, Personal Capital will help you budget and track monthly expenses, savings, and debt, but its real focus is investments. Combining robo-advisors with their flesh-and-blood counterparts, Personal Capital analyzes your brokerage accounts and lets you know when you need to sell some stock, diversify your investments, or make other account adjustments. The app’s retirement planner and 401(k) Fee Analyzer let you know if your savings goals are on track and how much your retirement plan is costing you, respectively.

If you just want to track your monthly income and outflow, Personal Capital is probably overkill. But those interested in managing—and growing—their money over time will find plenty to love here.

 

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