Do half of all marriages really end in divorce? That can’t be right, can it? According to the American Psychological Association, 40 to 50 percent of married couples in the United States divorce.
There is some dispute among experts if the number is really that high because there isn’t a standard mechanism in place to measure divorce. With that being said, many professionals who study divorce can agree that the numbers are high. Some estimating the numbers can be as high as 46 percent.
I don’t really care about the exact numbers. Instead, I care about the story the numbers tell. And that story is that marriages are failing all the time.
One of the leading causes of divorce in the United States is finances. In fact, according to a survey done by Ramsey Solutions, finances was second behind infidelity as a reason for divorce.
It’s easy to see why:
Finances can cause stress. A lot of it. Stress can lead to the breakdown of relationships which can lead to divorce.
However, it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, with today’s technology, there’s no reason not to know where you’re money is going, where it is and how it’s being spent.
It’s important to know before getting started that there need to be some honest conversations between you and your spouse regarding your financial situation as well as your ideas about money and goals.
Without good communication, developing a good money plan is never going to work.
After those conversations, you need to download two apps.
Mint is, in my opinion, the perfect app for creating budgets, staying aware of balances and tracking spending.
It does all of this with an easy to use and understand interface.
The first step to figuring out when trying to get a handle on your finances is to determine where your money is and where it’s going.
Look at this layout. Its a great example of an overview of your money.
The second step is to set a budget. My wife and I have over 20 items in our budget on Mint. Everything from housing to the electric bill to a monthly coffee budget. You can track it all here.
And what’s great about Mint is that it updates pretty quickly. Most of the time in under 24 hours.
Think about how that can help.
You can look back every day at what was spent the day before or the week before.
One of my favorite features is trends tracking (website only). This allows you to track your spending over a particular category over time. So, for example, you can track you’re eating out budget over the last week or 2 weeks or month or 3 months, 6 months to a year.
Another great feature is the ability to track bill payment. You never have to worry again if you’ve paid a bill. Mint keeps track of it for you.
- The app and website are easy to use and understand.
- It tracks the monthly spending to tell you where you’re spending is at a certain point in the month and where it should be.
- It’s color-coded red, yellow and green to show if you’re spending is over budget, getting close or if you’re on track or below.
- The at a glance feature makes it easy to get a quick overview of where you are.
- Easy to adjust the budget and re-categorize receipts
- Email alerts to tell you when you’ve exceeded your budget for a category.
- Set up is easy.
- Suggested offer ads can take up a good portion on the screen although I think they can be helpful.
- The app doesn’t have an at a glance feature that tell you if you budgeted more than your income. The website does.
- Some syncing issues. In our experience, it seems to be the more complicated investment accounts that have this issue.
- The investments tab isn’t a specific or user-friendly as I would like. (But don’t worry we’ll get to that.)
Overall, Mint is a fantastic way to keep up with your day to day spending. It’s intuitive and instinctual. It made a huge difference in our financial planning once we started to use it. I mean it. It literally changed how we saw and managed our money. I can’t recommend it highly enough. If you’re struggling to get your finances in order, download the app.
It’s true that Mint can solve a lot of financial problems by giving you a great snapshot of your daily and monthly spending.
However, it falls short in its ability to track your investment portfolio in my opinion.
Don’t fear, help is on the way.
Personal Capital fills this niche perfectly.
Much like Mint, Personal Capital offers a fantastic view of your portfolio and you’re overall financial health.
It allows you to check up on your stocks, bonds, 401k, IRA and other types of investments you might have.
The Dashboard offers a quick overview of all you’re accounts. It’s easy to read and understand.
The investment feature allows you to track your portfolio and compare it against the S&P 500, Dow Jones Industrial Average, U.S. Bond Market and foreign markets.
Scrolling down it will also keep you up to date on your investment positions individually.
Personal Capital also offers a free retirement planner that’s easy to use.
They even offer a free call to one of their financial advisors to help you get started on your journey to financial independence.
- Easy to use and understand.
- Great option to see your investments in one place.
- A free financial advisor phone call.
- Good planning tools.
- Excellent guides to investing and retirement.
- Some connectivity issues.
- Can have trouble setting syncing accounts during setup.
Life’s hard enough already. If you can find ways to make it easier you should do it.
These apps have been lifesavers for me and my wife. We know where our money is, where it’s going and what it’s doing. We were terrible at managing our money before Mint so we never had much of a need for investments and an app like Personal Capital.
But you know what happened? Once we began using Mint we started to see where our money was going and how we were wasting some of it. Patterns were developing. We were able to see what was going where.
That led us to be able to sit down and make judgments about how we wanted to save money and spend money. That led to tweaking our budget and suddenly we had more money left over at the end of the month.
After a while, that led to us looking to do something with that money. We began increasing our financial knowledge. Made investments and needed a way to monitor those investments. Enter Personal Capital.