Looking for a low-cost, easy-to-use personal finance tool? That was the aim of the Thin Mint Battle of the Apps, and now it's decision time. Throughout the competition, several contenders showed promise. But if your goal is to find out "how am I doing?" each month without a fight, the answer is…
Wherever you are on life's journey, you've probably wondered, "Will my money last as long as I do? What if ______ happens?" Even if you have a CFP®, a computer science degree, and boatloads of time, there's no way to know with 100% certainty. But Personal Capital's Retirement Planner is a surprisingly robust, highly configurable tool that offers up valuable insights with ease.
When you come to a fork in the road, take it. - Yogi Berra
My search for a worthy personal finance tool has taken a detour. Previously in this series of posts, I identified objectives and requirements, made a preliminary choice of tool, and tested on real-life data. The top contender, Mint, acquitted itself well versus my "must have" requirements for minimalist monthly money management.
So naturally, I got greedy: could I have my cake and eat it too? Could Mint also deliver on my bonus requirement of offering up useful investment insights? The short answer: no. So I made like a politician and pivoted... to Personal Capital. It did not disappoint.
It's a month+ into my Mint evaluation and real-life data now populates the account; let the fun begin! While it's still too early to expect in-depth insights or big payoffs, I'm eager to see what useful information can be learned and how difficult it is to unearth it. Here's the process I will use to look at the big picture and cash flow side of things every month.
Every cloud has its silver lining but it is sometimes a little difficult to get it to the mint. - Don Marquis
It pays to track your finances; few would dispute that. But for many (including me!), traditional budgeting has always felt too tedious. Too inflexible. Unmaintainable. Just plain "ugh." Has modern money management technology changed all that in the decade or so since I gave up on it, I wondered?