8 Smart Online Tools to Manage Your Finances
These sites can help you make smarter decisions about budgeting, investing and taxes.
If you ask an expert to identify great personal finance Web tools, chances are that popular sites such as Mint.com, Manilla.com and Credit.com will be on the list. But the realm of online resources extends well beyond those familiar names. We dug deeper for useful tools that address a range of personal finance concerns. All of them are free unless otherwise noted, and some come with mobile applications.
See Our Slide Show: Which Budgeting Site Is Best for You?
Budgeting and saving. Planwise focuses on the future. Plug in your current bank account balance, income, debt and expenses. Then enter information about your goals, such as buying a home or generating income from a side job. A graph shifts with each such update to show how your balance, net income and debts would change over time. You can turn plans on and off to see how their presence (or absence) would affect your finances. Planwise doesn’t link directly to your accounts (you have to input balance updates), so you don’t have to worry about sharing data with a third-party site.
Banking. Locate an institution that suits your needs with FindABetterBank. You’ll be asked to run through a list of features, such as “interest on balances” and “mobile banking services,” and rate your desire for each on a scale from “don’t care” to “must have.” Based on your responses, location and banking habits, the tool creates a list of checking accounts that meet your needs.
Investing. Link your investment accounts to SigFig and you can view a summary that tracks your balances, gains and losses. SigFig also creates charts and graphs that show your asset allocation and performance relative to common benchmarks. Perhaps most useful are the tool’s weekly checkups of investment performance and account fees. SigFig recommends alternatives if it spots problems.
Retirement saving. Jemstep steers users toward a secure retirement. Fill in information including your age, income, anticipated age at retirement and current annual retirement savings for a calculation of your expected Social Security benefits. Then indicate how comfortable you are with investment risk, and specify the types of investments you prefer. Finally, link to your retirement accounts for an analysis of their holdings. An “action plan,” including recommendations of holdings to buy and sell, costs $18 to $70 a month, depending on the value of your retirement assets (the plan is free if your account balances are less than $25,000).
Health care. FH Consumer Cost Lookup estimates out-of-pocket costs for dental and medical procedures in your area. To compare prices of prescription drugs at local pharmacies (and get discount coupons for them), try GoodRx.
Taxes. We develop our own tools at Kiplinger.com. A couple of highlights: The State-by-State Guide to Taxes on Retirees is an interactive map that provides information such as tax rates on retirement income and breaks for seniors. Our Easy-to-Use Tax Withholding Calculator suggests withholding allowances you can take to increase each paycheck, rather than waiting to receive a tax refund after you file.