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According to the Consumer Federation of America and the American Savings Education Council, many Americans are still failing to set aside enough money to pay for retirement or even emergencies. Of those surveyed, 38% said they were saving less than last year, compared to 30% who said they were saving more than last year. Only 41% of all respondents said that they save outside of work through automatic transfers from checking to savings or investments. About two-thirds said they had sufficient emergency savings to cover unexpected expenses like car repairs or a doctor visit.
While the sluggish economy can be blamed for the financial health of most Americans, there are free tools and resources available to help you reach your goals. The first step is to take an honest, objective look at your current financial state. This can be the hardest part but it’s a necessary step to a healthier portfolio. Is your asset to debt ratio healthy or do you need a financial checkup? Luckily, there are startup companies working very hard to make your money management easier. Below we’ve compiled a list of three great tools to help you regulate everything from personal bank accounts to monthly subscription bills to those persistent and pesky credit card bills.
Bank accounts & budgeting – Mint.com syncs your savings, checking, investment, auto, home mortgage and credit card statements into a single, easy-to-use app. It tracks your income and expenses in real time, and categorizes everything into informative charts. Mint.com allows users to set financial goals such as saving for that next vacation or buying a home. The app uses the same 128-bit encryption and physical security that banks use and is monitored by TRUSTe and VeriSign, so your information is never shared with anyone else. Best of all, Mint.com is completely free.
Bill management – Forgot to pay your last cable subscription bill? Now you can keep track of all your monthly utility bills with Manilla.com. It lets you manage all of your bills and accounts in one place online or through the free mobile app. With just one password, you can manage all of your household accounts, including your finances, utilities, travel rewards, subscriptions, daily deals and more. Manilla allows you to see exactly how much you’re spending on cell phone bills, cable providers, major loyalty programs, magazine subscriptions, and everything else with a monthly fee. The information Manilla provides can help you realize exactly how much you are spending each month and allows you to find alternative options at lower prices.
Pay off your student (and other) loans – According to collegeboard.org, the median debt among all bachelor’s degree recipients was about $7,960 at public four-year institutions, $17,040 at private not-for-profit four-year institutions, and $31,190 at for-profit institutions. An online tool called ReadyForZero helps users get out of debt sooner. Their platform allows you to enter all your debts into their system and provides suggestions on how much you should pay down various parts of your debt each month. In addition, their new payments feature automates this process by sending you email reminders on your next payment.
Being financially healthy allows you to save for unforeseen expenses, have more mobility in taking the next major step in your life, and overall generally just sleep better at night. Managing your finances is much easier with these emerging platforms and apps. Learn to leverage them in paving your path to financial wellness. For the latest updates in technology in the financial sector, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn. Happy saving!
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