My Favorite Financial Planning App

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Published by Andrew Rogers

I had a realization not all that long ago, that in 6 short months (now 3), I would be walking across a stage at graduation and embarking on a new journey. A journey that replaced homework, with potential long nights at the office, replaced studying on a Saturday with doing yard work, and arguably, most importantly, the end to free tickets to every Creighton sporting event. I asked my dad, “What do you do on Saturdays?” For the last 16+ years I have been in school and over the last 8 years developed a habit of using Saturdays as my study day. He responded by reminding me that it always seemed to get filled with chores, shopping, yard work and someday, when I have a family, soccer games, birthday parties and again, more studying. The other realization I had was one that I am sure most people have when they start their career, move jobs, get a raise or promotion; what do I do with my new income?

For the past 6 years, I have been working part time, interning and doing summer jobs, but now I am completely responsible for all of my expenses. I began budgeting when I started high school, but no longer will that budget include mom and dad helping me pay rent while going to school or covering my medical expenses. Side note… Thank you Mom and Dad! I know that I am incredibly lucky to have parents who were in a position and willing to have supported me while I went to school. Back on topic…So I did what most millennials (and I would argue, adults) in general would do today, and took to the internet.

I scoured the web for personal finance blogs and articles. I have read what feels like hundreds of articles on different ideas about how to save for retirement, kid’s college education or a new car, recommendations on how to invest wisely and even ideas on how to cut small costs today that I would have never thought about. But, the most important piece of advice I have gotten, not only from blogs, but also family and friends is to save early and save as much as possible!

So again, I began doing some research on the web for ways to save. As most people are acutely aware, the average savings account interest rate is 0.12%[1] with the highest savings rates right around 1.00%[2]. I knew that I had to be able to do better than that, so I kept looking. I began talking to friends and hearing about a few mobile apps that could help me save some extra money[3]. Apps such as Level, Daily Budget and Digit were some of the first apps I found. They allow users to set savings goals and transfer funds on a daily, weekly or monthly basis making goals seem more attainable. These financial planning apps were great, but I really wanted a way to put my money to work for me and not just be sitting in a savings account earning 0.12%.

I dug a bit deeper and I found an app called Acorn[4]. Acorn has a few features that make saving easier. First, the daily round-up takes the spare change from every transaction rounds up and transfers the change into your Acorn account. Second, users can set daily, weekly or monthly savings goals and the funds are automatically transferred to your Acorn account. Lastly, users set investment objectives and risk tolerance, creating an optimized portfolio.

There are several other apps out there that do similar things including Robinhood[5] and Stash[6], but the most important thing is to begin saving. The central lesson in my story is that when it comes to investment management services, it is always a good idea to put more money away. Markets will fluctuate but the more money you save, the better prepared you can be to pursue your financial goals.

To determine which apps or strategies may be appropriate for you, consult your financial advisor. Content in this material is for general information only and not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. Investing involves risk including loss of principal. No strategy assures success or protects against loss.

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