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Master Your Money: The Ultimate Budgeting App Guide

Money is ubiquitous, yet we are taught little about managing, growing, and spending it. As few as 18% of us have achieved basic financial literacy.*

 

We tackle nutrition, fitness, and, more recently, mental health. But financial health lags behind. According to a January 2024 survey, 91% of employees are stressed about their finances.* This stress degrades our overall wellbeing, with self-reported mental and physical health at 20 year lows.*

 

A change is overdue, and like diets and exercise, our finances take ongoing effort. The tools we employ have everything to do with our success: we stick to something when we enjoy it, when we see growth, and when our lives become easier.

 

Finding and utilizing the tools we need to address our financial health can feel overwhelming. We’ve done the initial work for you, reviewing, comparing, and ranking the options.

 

Which tools will work best for you? Read on…

DOING NOTHING (a remarkably popular choice)

Addressing our finances can seem so daunting, and the stakes so high that many of us are too overwhelmed to make a start.​​

Price: The cost of missed opportunities and inflation eroding savings value

Pro: Do you sleep soundly with your head in the sand?

Con: Money concerns will find you, whether through an event or anxiety sifting up through the sand.

Who it’ll work for: People who don’t use money

 

BOOKS, SOCIAL MEDIA

Books and advice can change perspective, but financial health needs more than concepts and pedagogy.

 

Price: Free or the Average price of a book is $16.00

Pro: Abundant and economical

Con: No accountability and no interaction

Who it’ll work for: It works for people looking for data points to share at a party but are less concerned with tangible results.

 

BANK APPS and BUDGETING APPS

Nearly every Bank has an app to monitor your accounts, some even offering useful features like net-worth calculators and debt-tracking. Budgeting apps are plentiful and varying in features to target specific micro audiences ie bill-splitters, couples, absolute beginners, high-debtors and so on.

 

These tools still can’t help with the reality of decision-making, like figuring out the actual details of the budget you need or the practical steps necessary to reach specific goals. Tracking ‘trends’ in our spending habits is a neat trick, but wise spending (and saving) results from intentionality: acting, not reacting.

 

Price: Free to $120 a year subscription

Pro: “Information is Power” - Sir Francis Bacon

Con: “Information is not knowledge” - Frank Zappa

Who it’ll work for: If using with no other tools, followers

 

FINANCIAL WELLNESS PLATFORMS: (AfireFi)

AfireFi aims to make money feel fun, even stylish. Their approach lies in the belief that our trajectories will be different if we can relate our personal qualities and past money experiences to today's behavior. They believe we could achieve better wellness if we had a well-designed path for managing today’s actions and tomorrow's goals. Their financial literacy program, paired with a suite of financial tools, prioritizes discovering personal goals and creating the lifelong habits that achieve them.

 

Price: $248/yr. (equivalent to $20.67/mo.)

Pro: Provides clarity, evolves habits, and aids in decision-making

Con: Integration they leave it to your bank app i.e. you cannot pay bills or check balances directly from the app

Who it’ll work for: People interested in personal development, mindfulness, and holistic wellness. People who relish aesthetically pleasing workspaces. People who respond well to intelligent, well-crafted feedback.

 

INVESTMENT PLATFORMS

Though investing is crucial to achieving long-term goals like retirement, investing directly is more effective if you first understand your needs and risk tolerance before approaching them.

 

Price: % of investment

Pro: An approachable, cost-effective entryway to investing

Con: Limited Scope - doesn’t help you change when life changes or evolve your knowledge or habits - only reports on performance.

Who it’ll work for: People with a basic understanding of investment and risk and have put numbers to short-, medium-, and long-term goals.

 

WEALTH MANAGERS

Wealth managers can be very useful when you have accumulated at least a few hundred thousand in wealth and need help matching investments to your goals and being tax efficient. Ultimately, there is no way to abdicate responsibility for your money or delegate the creation of your dreams and goals.

 

Price: % of investment

Pro: Hiring a professional is a legitimate route

Con: They only serve high net-worth clients and do not foster literacy or habits.

Who it’ll work for: Those who can afford to hire others to think for them and to rebound from repetitive errors.

 

Like fitness, nutrition, and mental health, there isn’t one straightforward method to support financial wellness. Still, a path that combines elements of a bank tracking app to give feedback, a financial wellness platform to aid decision-making, and a wealth manager to help invest all the money you wind up stashing away (and planning for the fun you plan to have!) can be the best combo.

 

As always have any questions, send us an email at support@afirefi.com we'll be happy to help you along your financial journey!

 

1   2024 Wellness Barometer Survey. https://www.brightplan.com/2024-wellness-barometer-survey

2   2024 Wellness Barometer Survey. https://www.brightplan.com/2024-wellness-barometer-survey

3   2023 Workplace Financial wellness in America. In The Rise and Fall of Financial Stress and Resilience (pp.16).https://www.financialfinesse.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/05/Workplace-Financial-Wellness-in-America-May-2023.pdf

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