Managing Your Finances the Easy Way

Lais Gruman Castello, Accounting Services Staff

As a young professional in the accounting field, I understand the importance of keeping accurate records and forming good financial management habits. There are many free online tools available to help you feel confident managing your money, such as LearnVest and Mint.com.

First, why use one of these programs and what do they do? Ostensibly, to help you stay on top of your finances by bringing everything together and seeing everything in one place so it is easier to understand and manage. Among other things, you can track and pay bills, budget, categorize your spending, create reports, set goals, receive alerts, etc.

I first learned about Mint.com when I was working on a project for college. My professor described how a simple phone app could assist people in managing their finances. I decided to give the online tool a chance.

I started using Mint.com, but through an online search, I learned according to PCMag that LearnVest and Mint.com are the highest rated personal money managing online tools. In addition to being free, they are quick, secure and help track your spending to monitor where your money is going. They also include effective tools for analyzing credit card debt repayment options and expenses trends over time. You have the ability to link your banking and credit card accounts, bypassing the manual entry process if you want to.

The set up process for these two tools takes about fifteen minutes. After you sync your bank accounts, credit cards, loans and investments accounts, it won’t take long to learn how to navigate the websites and start monitoring your transactions. The apps will automatically sort your spending into different categories, such as rent, gas and groceries. Since activity is tracked, planning applications are available that help create budgets, easy to understand charts, and disbursements reports. Both programs offer mobile apps to stay connected to your money and monitor your spending when you are away from your PC.

A disadvantage of LearnVest is that there are no bill-pay reminders or credit score information, a couple of features offered by Mint.com. A downside of Mint.com is that you cannot create or manage alerts from its mobile app as you can with their website.

Overall, using personal financial management tools is a very good way of staying on top of your finances. For young professionals trying to keep on top of rent, car payments, and bills, it will make your money management experience easier, more enjoyable, and make you more conscious of your expenditures. If you have any concerns, please contact your KOS Advisor.