Five financial apps to get your money working for you

Whether you’re looking to get your spending and saving under control, or make your money work harder for you, there’s bound to be an app for your smartphone that can take care of it for you. We take a look at five of the best financial apps available for Australian users.

There’s a smartphone app for just about everything in life these days, and your finances should be no different. Computer software can manage and analyse financial data at a rate much greater than any of us, so you’re putting yourself at a disadvantage if you’re not putting that computer in your pocket to work.

Some of the finance apps you need to be aware of in 2021 are:

You Need a Budget
You Need A Budget (YNAB) is a personal budgeting software platform that aims to teach users to manage their money better rather than just track spending retrospectively.

Launched in 2003 by husband and wife team Jesse and Julie Mecham, YNAB is based on their ‘four rules’ of personal budgeting. The app gets users to map out what they actually want to do with their money and then tracks any spending against these goals, giving users a visual representation of what that extra latte means in terms of paying your car rego in a month.

YNAB has apps for iOS, Android, PC/Mac and all associated devices including Apple Watch and Google Alexa, so your budget can follow you wherever you go. The app charges either an $84 annual fee or $12 per month.

Read: Would you use a budgeting app?

Self Wealth is Australia’s first flat-fee online share trading platform set-up to make trading more accessible to the general public. The app offers access to the ASX as well as US stock markets for a flat $9.50 fee ($US9.50 for Wall St trades) as opposed to the percentage-based fees brokers charge.

This means that whether you trade $100 worth of shares or $1 million, you’ll pay a flat fee of $9.50. So, the fees technically get lower the more money you make. Grow that nest egg!

The app features a clean dashboard with live prices from both countries, extensive visual tracking of your portfolio versus investment goals, plus all the latest stock market news and analysis delivered straight to your phone.

Most importantly, shares purchased through SelfWealth are what’s known as ‘CHESS-sponsored‘. This means that your shares are registered as yours with a third party and not held by the broker themselves, which is important if your broker ever goes under.

The SelfWealth app is free and is available on iOS and Android.

Goodbudget is the best app available based on the popular ‘envelope method‘ of budgeting, which involves physically separating cash into different amounts in envelopes based on different expenses. For example $300 for groceries, $200 for eating out and $150 for entertainment.

The key is to take money for an expense only from the appropriate envelope. This should help you stop spending all your money before bills are due and help to identify any areas where you may be overspending.

With cash quickly going the way of the dodo, Goodbudget takes this same method but separates your spending needs electronically. It’s important to note that Goodbudget doesn’t actually connect to your bank to split your money into different accounts, rather it provides a quick and clean way for you to break your spending needs down without resorting to physical envelopes or an Excel spreadsheet.

Goodbudget charges $7 per month or $60 per year and is available on iOS and Android.

Read: Apps to help track your spending

This one is a game changer when it comes to investing your cash. Billed as a ‘micro-investment’ app, Raiz connects users with ready-made investment portfolios and exchange traded funds (ETFs) with a minimum spend of just $5. Raiz connects directly to your bank account, automatically rounds up all purchases to the nearest dollar, and invests the difference.

The idea is to funnel any spare change you have from everyday purchases into an investment, no matter how small the amount, similar to keeping change in a jar except that this jar will actually grow your money.

Raiz makes it easy for those with little knowledge of the stock market to get into investing. The ETFs and share portfolios are managed by Raiz’s in-house fund managers so you don’t have to think about it, similar to how a traditional stockbroker works but without the large initial outlay they often require.

Raiz charges a monthly fee of $3.50 for accounts under $15,000 and 0.275 per cent of your balance above that, meaning this app is better suited to first-time investors wanting to dip their toes or those wanting to invest smaller amounts.

The Raiz app is free and is available on iOS and Android.

Read: What is an ETF and why should they be part of your retirement plan?

The biggest drawcard feature of the MoneyBrilliant (MB) app is its ability to sync with more than 200 Australian financial institutions (including retirement and superannuation accounts) to give you an instant snapshot of your financial situation.

It pulls together all your financial data and provides analysis of your spending trends and investment goals.

On top of that, MB has a handy tax deduction feature to help you spot deductions based on your occupation and spending. The app also features account tracking, bank account optimisation, savings goals, insurance tracking, and retirement planning.

MoneyBrilliant offers a free plan that features financial snapshot and retirement planning data or the ‘Plus’ plan at $9.90 per month, or $99 per year, that includes more advanced features such as the tax deduction finder.

MoneyBrilliant is available on iOS and Android.

Are you using any of these financial apps? Are there any others worth looking at? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Written by Brad Lockyer