Creating a budget and sticking to it or managing your long-term savings can be challenging. Thankfully, there are many financial planning software platforms that can help.
With the right financial planning software, you can easily track your spending, set savings goals, and map out your financial future. Whether you’re looking to save money on everyday expenses or put money away for retirement, financial planning software can make a big difference.
In this guide, we’ll take a look at what you can do with financial planning software and highlight five of the best financial planning software platforms you can use to take control of your finances today.
What Is Financial Planning Software?
Financial planning software is any software that can help you keep track of your finances. The overarching goal of this class of software is to empower you to smartly manage your own financial future.
Of course, no two financial planning software platforms are exactly the same. Different software packages typically focus on different aspects of personal finance. For example, some platforms focus on helping you track your transactions and spending, with the aim of helping you stay on budget and save money throughout the month. Others are designed to help you develop long-term savings goals and put money away for a home purchase or retirement.
Features To Look For In A Financial Planning Software
Your financial planning software can have a big impact on how you think about your money. Before you choose a software, it’s important to think about what features matter most to you.
If your goal is to track day to day spending, it’s important to use a financial planning software that can integrate with all of your financial accounts. If you have a debit card, several credit cards, and a checking account, for example, you need a software that can collect data from all these sources. Otherwise, you won’t have a complete picture of your spending to form a realistic budget.
If your goal is to track your net worth or save for retirement, you may be more interested in finding a software platform that can integrate with your brokerage accounts. On top of that, it can be helpful to have portfolio management tools, such as charts that break down your investments by market sector or that show your investment returns over time.
One other thing to consider is compatibility with other tools you use to track your finances. Ideally, whatever financial planning software you use will be compatible with common software like Microsoft Excel. That way, you can easily export data, transfer it between platforms, and conduct your own additional analyses.
How To Use Financial Planning Software
The key thing to keep in mind when using financial planning software is that it can only do its job if you use it properly. That means that you have to ensure that your transaction data is up to date and that you actively create and manage your budgets or portfolio. If you set up a budget but never check to see whether you’re spending within it, your financial planning software won’t be able to help you much.
Depending on what financial planning software you use, you may be able to set reminders or notifications to check on your spending or move money to a savings or retirement account. If your software doesn’t support these reminders, make sure to set up your own system so that you can effectively put your financial planning software to work.
Best Financial Planning Software
With all that in mind, let’s take a look at five of the top financial planning software platforms you can start using today.
1. Personal Capital – Best for Retirement Planning
Personal Capital is one of the best financial planning tools for long-term savings goals like retirement, buying a home, or paying for your children’s college tuition. To start, this platform integrates with all of your accounts, including bank accounts, brokerage accounts, and credit cards, to help you keep track of your net worth. Personal Capital can also track your investment performance and compare it against a set of benchmark portfolios, allowing you to easily see if you’re missing out on potential returns.
Perhaps best of all, Personal Capital offers a versatile goal planning tool. You can see how much money you’ll have saved for, say, retirement if you invest a certain amount each year. The simulator allows you to add major events like buying a home or changing jobs, which makes it much more realistic and accounts for life’s ups and downs.
Personal Capital is completely free to use.Click Here To Get Started
2. Quicken – Most Powerful Financial Planner
If you want granular detail about your finances and a centralized hub for managing your money, look to Quicken. Few financial planning platforms match this software’s capabilities and attention to detail.
In addition to tracking all of your income and spending, Quicken can help you manage your bills and offer notifications whenever monthly charges are due. Premier users can even set up automatic bill payments directly through Quicken. On top of that, the software offers flexible budgeting, investment tracking, a retirement planner, and help with filing your taxes at the end of the year. If that doesn’t cover everything you need, Quicken enables you to export data to Excel for additional analysis.
Quicken starts at $35.99 per year, but investing and bill pay tools require a Premier plan for $46.79 per year. You can try the software for 30 days and get your money back if it’s not right for you.Click Here To Get Started
3. Mint – Best Budgeting Software
Mint offers a simple, automated platform for keeping track of all your transactions and setting budgets. This free software integrates with all of your accounts, including credit cards and online payment systems like PayPal, so you can easily review and organize all of your spending into categories. You can also set up category-specific budgets and get notifications when you overspend on restaurants or travel.
Mint doesn’t have any tools for investment tracking or retirement planning, but it does have a few other tricks up its sleeve. This software offers unlimited free credit reports and bill alerts. Plus, it can help you find an investment account, credit card, or loan by analyzing your financial history and goals. Check out our complete Mint review here to learn more.Click Here To Get Started
4. YNAB – Best for Getting Spending Under Control
YNAB – short for ‘You Need A Budget’ – takes a different approach to budgeting than competing financial planning software like Mint. Instead of focusing on your spending and alerting you when you’re over budget, YNAB starts with your income. It’s up to you to list all of your essential expenses, effectively giving every dollar you bring in a specific purpose.
That approach forces you to think about how you’re allocating your money, as opposed to simply tracking how you’re allocating it in practice. The result is that YNAB forces you to plan ahead – so it’s a good option if you’ve tried budgeting software in the past and haven’t been able to stick with it. Another plus to YNAB is that it’s chock full of educational materials. So if your spending is consistently over budget, the platform can point your towards resources to help you figure out what the problem is.
Unfortunately, YNAB isn’t free. The software costs $11.99 per month or $84 per year and comes with a 34-day trial.Try YNAB Free For 34 Days
5. Tiller Money – Best for Flexibility
Tiller Money tracks your transactions just like Mint and other budgeting software. But instead of forcing you into a ready-made platform, this financial planning software relies on Google Sheets and Microsoft Excel.
The advantage of using spreadsheets is that you have a huge amount of flexibility. You can define rules for what types of transactions go into what categories, and there are no limits on how many categories you can make. There are also virtually no limits on what types of accounts you can link to Tiller Money or how the imported data can be organized. Of course, the software does have dozens of customizable templates to help you hit the ground running.
Tiller Money offers a 30-day trial, after which it costs $79 per year.Get A Free 30-Day Trial Of Tiller Money
Conclusion: Financial Planning Software
Financial planning software can help you understand where your money is going, save more effectively, and create a financial roadmap for the future. Try out one of these five top financial planning platforms today to take control of your financial future.