By John Drachman
Across the generations, most people still count on their own knowledge, their apps, friends and family to meet their financial and investment needs, according to a survey by Broadridge Financial Solutions and The Center for Generational Kinetics.
While excellent apps have never been more plentiful, the right choice is always personal and depends on what you want to achieve. To get a handle on all those apps, try answering a few questions:
- Need to get organized? If you’re in “first things first” mode, Intuit’s Mint personal finances app may be one of the best, this snappy app lets you view your financial picture in one place. After you link your credit and debit cards, it’ll categorize your transactions and keep track of bills and spending to help you build a budget you can live by.
- On a quest for investment knowledge? Stash promises not to over-stuff your mind. One of the best apps for beginners, you can learn the investment world’s language and gain the confidence you want before starting your investment program.
- Prefer to invest regularly, the affordable way? If you like to contribute to your savings automatically, but don’t want to obsess about it, Acorns may be for you. After you link a debit or credit card, Acorns will “round up” your digital transactions to the next dollar and invest the “spare change” in one of five ETF portfolios.
- Sending a child to college? Wealthfront evaluates your college spending goals then helps you build a college planning strategy. Investing into up to 11 ETFs, the app also rebalances your college portfolio and offers access to a tax-advantaged 529 College Savings Plan.
- Want to play the market? Robinhood started with the idea that a technology-driven brokerage could operate with significantly less overhead. If you’re the kind of independent thinker who wants fast execution and real-time market data a look at this slick app-based portal might be worthwhile.
- Thinking about unleashing the wealth manager inside you? Personal Capital promises to let you manage your assets, liabilities and more. Plus, this service integrates with more than 14,000 financial institutions. Want to compare your portfolio to market benchmarks? No problem. This nifty app can help you figure out whether you’re on track with your goals – or need to play catch-up.
Even the savviest do-it-yourselfer though may prefer a little validation now and then. According to Forrester Research and Cerulli, investors fit into three basic categories: Do-it-yourselfers; delegators, who count solely on their financial advisors; and validators, who want the best of both worlds. In addition to matching up your goals to the right app, choosing whether – and how – to work with a professional advisor can be an important part of personalizing your experience too.
John Drachman is a contributing writer to www.myperfectfinancialadvisor.com, the premier matchmaker between investors and advisors. John is an IABC award-winning writer, applying 30 years of financial and marketing experience toward educating investors.