It’s hard to manage your money if you don’t know how much you’re spending or where it’s going. Hoping for the best won’t lead to the financial security you’re hoping for. Financial planning is very important as it helps you control your spending habits. You learn how to make good financial decisions and control unnecessary spending.
Financial planning also helps you track the flow of your money and become responsible for your purchases. It helps you create a plan that will limit or eliminate debts, allocate funds for wise investments and track your accounts. You will not only know your balances all the time, but you can also set financial goals.
There are financial planning tools that can help you create a plan designed for your needs. These tools will help you keep payments and bills organized and create a personal plan for your current and future success. Here are 9 vital personal financial planning tools that can help you.
Bankrate provides tools, information and resources on various personal finance topics. The site provides rate information on over 300 financial products like credit cards, insurance, banking, auto loans and mortgages. It also offers information on particular financial planning questions like assessing ATM fees and certificates of deposit. The most popular feature of the site, however, is its financial calculators. You can find calculators for savings plans, investments, auto loans, college finance and mortgage. All tools, information and services at the site are offered for free.
Zillow.com offers various real estate information and tools such as a mortgage calculator and current mortgage rates. You can also look for homes for sale based on different categories. The site offers free apps for iPad, Windows smartphones, Android and iPhone.
SavingForCollege.com is a website that offers resources and tools related to financial aid programs, scholarships and 529 plans. It also provides rankings of the best 529 plans and a college cost calculator.
4. The Flexible Retirement Planner
The Flexible Retirement Planner allows you to simulate different “what if” situations to see how various events would affect your life when you retire. It’s a free program, so you don’t need to spend anything just to access it.
Mint is a free budgeting app and website that tracks your funds to help you stay on budget by offering visual representations of your expenses and sending alerts if you are near your expenditure limit in various categories.
PriceBlink is a browser add-on that alerts you if you’re about to buy something that you could get for less somewhere else online. This add-on regularly monitors prices online, so it can direct you to the stores with the best prices.
BillGuard is an app that tracks your bills and notifies you if there are suspicious charges like duplicate charges. The app also informs you if you’re vulnerable to a vendor’s data breach and dispute suspicious charges.
LearnVest.com provides financial plans, resources and advice to fit various budgets. The site connects users with a certified financial planner to help them with their finances.
9. The Life Foundation
The Life Foundation provides information about health, long-term care insurance, life and disability to help people make wise choices. It also provides various resources and calculators to help consumers determine their insurance needs and find an agent.