Looking for a great personal finances manager can feel like a very challenging task these days. With a multitude of companies all offering competing products that each claim to be the best, choosing the correct one to record your financial transactions is hard. This choice can be especially difficult if you’re on the Mac or Linux platform as the choices are fewer and finding the applications can be more difficult. However, picking a good manager need not be a tiresome task if you follow a couple of basic tips.
The first thing to look at when choosing a personal finances manager is what your own needs are. Having some simple cash accounts and maybe a 401(k) is far different than having multiple brokerage accounts, CDs, saving accounts, credit cards, and a mortgage. As a general rule of thumb if you have a complex set of accounts it is strongly advised that you invest in higher quality financial management software. If you only have a few basic accounts and transactions you can likely get by with a free or very cheap solution. Thinking about your own needs can help you narrow down the software products that you need to look at.
Another important thing to consider is what, if any, devices you want to be able to use with the program. Some programs let you enter transactions on your mobile phone and sync them to your computer. If you need this functionality, then you must buy the programs that allow it. Many of the major companies offer apps that sync to their financial products, but you might want to consider a high-quality web based manager as well. That way you can skip the syncing altogether.
Picking a good personal finances manager is easy once you know what you need to look for. Browse sites that have reviews of financial products and narrow down your search by understanding your own needs as well as how “portable” you need your manager to be. This will help you identify a few software products that might be good candidates. Make sure to always download demos and play around with them. You want a program that feels intuitive to you and accomplishes the tasks you need it to. After you’ve made your selection, simply purchase (if it’s a paid app) the program and begin entering your transactions. You will find that your financial world is much more cohesive and easier to plan in the long run.