The Internet truly provides convenience in a number of areas. And one of those areas is finance. It is possible for you to manage your finances online, allowing you access to crucial financial information from anywhere. And with online account access, it is possible to find out what you need to know about your situation without sitting on hold forever, listening to horrible instrumental renditions of pop songs.
Here are 9 ways you can set up online money management system:
- Personal finance software/budgeting: If you are looking to keep tabs on all things personal finance in your life, it is possible to sign up for online versions of a number of products and services. I am a Quicken person myself (even though I don’t use the online version). However, Mint.com and GnuCash provide the tools you need to track your expenses, create a budget and manage your cash flow.
- Credit profile: It is a good idea to keep track of what is going on with your credit. You know that your credit score is important. You can get one free credit report from each of the three major credit reporting bureaus once a year at annualcreditreport.com. If you are interested in keeping general tabs on your credit score for free, Credit Karma gives you access to your TransUnion score without charge. Of course, there are other scores to worry about, but you can get an idea of whether your score is rising or falling by tracking what Credit Karma offers. Finally, if you don’t mind spending around $50, you can get a three-bureau report and Fico score from MyFico. If you’re really desperate, you can sign up for credit monitoring. But that will require that you pay a monthly fee.
- Managing your debt: One of the most interesting debt reduction trackers I have seen is DebtGoal. This online software allows you to figure out how to most quickly pay off your debt, and then track your progress. There is also a handy iPhone app, Pay Off Debt, developed by PF blogger Blunt Money, aimed at helping you track your debt repayment progress.
- Reach your savings goals: You can go beyond tracking a savings account using your personal finance software when you take advantage of Smarty Pig. Smarty Pig is an online savings account that helps you set and track your savings goals. When you reach your goals, the money is put on a debit card — or even on gift cards to your favorite retailers. If you are saving up for something short-term, like a vacation or school clothes for the kids, this can be a great tool.
- Stay on top of your investment portfolio: Yahoo! Finance provides a helpful feature that lets you track how your investments are doing. Build your own portfolio with help from Yahoo! Finance and get an idea of how you are doing. Of course, it is also possible to build investment portfolios and keep track of them at brokerage sites, including Zecco, TD Ameritrade, Fidelity, Vanguard and numerous others. If you don’t mind paying for access to research, planning and other investment tools, Morningstar offers some great features.
- Insurance: It is important to get the right coverage for the right price. You can compare coverage and choose what works best for you for auto, health, life and homeowners/renters at Insurance.com. If you already have insurance that you are satisfied with, find out whether online account access is offered.
- Taxes: If you want an online place to go for all things tax, Turbo Tax can help. Keep track of your tax information and needs throughout the year, and use your infomration to file your taxes online. H&R Block also offers similar services. You can do research and find the “official” answers to tax questions on the IRS Web site.
- Online banking, bill pay and credit card access: Most banks allow you to check your account online. You can usually pay your bills online as well in many cases for free. The same is true of credit card account access. It is a good idea to set up online account access for all of your banking so that you can take care of problems quickly, even when you are away from home.
- Reaching your goals: When it comes to setting and reaching your goals, you can get a little help from MyGoals.com. This site helps you find ways to meet a number of goals, including financial goals. Make a plan and start achieving.
Tell us if you use other services we should add to the list
If you want to reach your financial goals, it is important to review and track your progress over time. Online money management tools take the hassle and paper clutter out of the process. Are you using any of these services or any similar services to manage your finances online? Do you recommend any services for managing your money online that I should add to this list? Please let me know in the comments so we can keep this list current and helpful for our readers.
Miranda is freelance journalist. She specializes in topics related to money, especially personal finance, small business, and investing. You can read more of my writing at Planting Money Seeds.