How Personal Finance Apps Are Changing the Way Millennials Save
Spending money has never been so easy in today’s tech-forward economy. Smartphone apps have changed the way we travel, shop and even date — all at the click of a button. To keep pace with the rapidly changing financial landscape, millennials are looking to personal finance apps that offer the same convenience and ease of use as the apps they use to spend their hard-earned dollars. The 24/7 demand for individual financial information has only driven the growth of this trend. Saddled with record levels of student loan debt (this year alone, two-thirds of graduates hold an average of $35,000 in debt, a figure that has more than tripled in two decades) in an age of wage stagnation, millennials have chosen free apps over costly financial planners. Here are five smartphone apps that offer a chance at savings — even if it only means savings a few pennies every day.
For Entrepreneurs: Wally
Wally is a free expense tracking app, ideal for keeping tabs on spending and disposable income. It’s great for entrepreneurs and small businesses — the app allows you to take pictures of receipts and automatically inputs all the details of the purchase, saving you time. The best part is that all data can be exported into PDF format, which makes tracking business expenses for tax purposes an absolute breeze! No more need to worry about lost receipts.
For Building and Maintaining Credit: Credit Karma
For the millennial looking to maintain a favorable credit score, there are few better personal finance apps than Credit Karma. Aside from allowing you to generate free credit reports (offering metrics such as credit card utilization, percent of payments made on time, average age of credit lines, total accounts, credit inquiries, derogatory marks, total debt and debt-to-income ratio) on the go, the app monitors spending patterns and suggests credit card or loan offers that are better suited for your needs — further improving your financial outlook. The app also offers identity-theft protection, alerting users if a new line of credit has opened in their name.
For the Wannabe Day Trader: Acorns
Acorns is a savings app that allows you to invest your spare change in ETFs or exchange-traded funds for just $1 a month. Simply link your checking account and credit cards, and Acorns rounds your purchases to the nearest dollar and invests them in a fund (ranging from conservative to aggressive) suitable for your level of risk tolerance.
For Saving: Digit
Digit is the perfect app for today’s fast-paced economy. Unlike Acorns, Digit closely tracks income and spending patterns and sets aside an amount of money it assesses you will not need. The balance is placed in a separate account that Digit manages, and it offers a guarantee never to overdraft your account. For those living paycheck to paycheck, the app is the perfect pain-free way to save money you didn’t know you had. On average, Digit saves users 5.5 percent of their overall income.
For Budgeting: Level Money
Level Money is the self-proclaimed mobile money-meter. Once connected to your bank account, the app automatically calculates income and recurring bills, and then ultimately suggests a monthly, weekly and daily budget. The app also has an auto-save feature — any extra income that goes unspent from the budget is rolled over into a savings account.
We can all be smarter about our finances, and using technology the right way makes it easier to build wealth and live comfortably.