Note: We receive a commission for purchases made through the links on this site. Our sponsors, however, do not influence our editorial content in any way.
Financial planners can help you make the right decisions for your investments, create a retirement strategy, and even guide you out of debt. However, there are seemingly endless educational resources, tools, and organizations dedicated to helping you make the most out of your financial future. Here is how to use the information available to become your own financial planner, on par with the professionals.
There are now many apps that help you take control of nearly every aspect of your financial future. For example, Mint helps you track your spending, make budgets and automatically pay your bills, and even reports unusual credit activity to your account. Other apps like Credit Karma help you review your credit score for free. SigFig not only helps you check stock market investments and quotes, but also gives you tips on how to avoid investing fees and overcharges.
There are hundreds of educational resources on how to properly plan for your retirement across the web, and many of them offer retirement calculators to help you determine how much you should invest and how much you’ll make over time. Some of the best online trading sites have great retirement advice, as well as great IRA plans to invest in.
There are many non-profits, such as Consumer Credit Counseling Services, that are designed to help you get a grip on your finances. Consumer Credit Counseling Services hosts free workshops and seminars on issues such as building a budget and managing an investment portfolio.
Although apps are great, sometimes you need something a little more heavy duty for managing your taxes or business accounting. Personal software like Quicken, Excel and Microsoft Money can help you build a detailed picture of your finances and keep track of your business expenses. Software like TaxAct can also fill in for a tax planner in most instances, unless you expect a very complex tax return.
In the era of the web, it’s tempting to think browsing a few websites will make you a financial pro. However, it’s worth investing in a few books that can really give you a leg up on financial matters. The “Total Money Makeover” by Dave Ramsey is an excellent resource for paying off debt and making your money grow. If you’re just getting started with finance, you may want to consider “A Beginner’s Guide To Investing” by Alex H. Frey.
Ultimately, you have the power to become your own financial planner. Use the above resources to ensure you have the knowledge to make the right decisions with your money.