Personal financial software for mac os x
Having access to your information from any computer is equally important. Mobile accounting is convenient, but a full computer screen experience allows for greater exploration. Quite literally, it lets you see the big picture — all the data on the screen at the same time. When personal finance software links up to a bank, it instantly reflects and categorizes transactions, balances, upcoming bills, and so forth, allowing you to move on to the real work of managing your money.
We cut any software without this usability. An FAQ section, while helpful for general queries, is no substitute for getting in contact with an actual human. Finances are complex and personal. We required an option to get in contact via phone, online chat, or email for personalized assistance. Our cuts left us with six promising personal finance software programs to test ourselves. In exploring their functionality on desktop and mobile, tinkering with settings, tracking our finances, and building budgets, most impressed us with their intuitive design and helpful data sorting.
Of them, only Mvelope confounded us with its less-than-ideal organization. Its layout and learnability issues resulted in our final cut. The simplicity starts with account setup. Mint links all of your accounts with the same bank in one fell swoop, so it only takes a minute to get rolling. They even break down subcategories think: Mint left labels every transaction clearly, while Personal Capital right uses general categories.
Mint uses a unique pie chart system to show you how your income and expenses break down, and it allows you to adjust these charts to show spending for specific categories, accounts, or time periods. It gives you deep insight into your own habits so you can check in and make adjustments if need be.
Mint allows you to create budgets for a number of categories. Start with the preset budgets, like "Restaurants" and "Transportation," or create as many custom categories as you like. After doing so, the software will automatically fill them in. We love that Mint is a free personal finance app — but that does mean putting up with banner ads.
Quicken is made by Intuit, the same parent company as Mint. It feels similar, with an equally user-friendly interface and tools, minus the distracting credit card and loan ads. Along with being ad-free, Quicken is a bit more robust than Mint. It uses a downloadable desktop app rather than a browser-based one, which has some perks. For instance, you can build out a calendar to track budgets, bills, and savings over time.
To stay up to date with this calendar, the app lets you create customizable pop-up alerts for your desktop. Quicken tracks your budgets, bills, and expenses in a customizable desktop calendar. Unlike Mint, which offers suggestion boxes — plain-English translations of what you should enter — Quicken expects you to be well-versed enough in finances to know where to find account numbers and the tools to run reports. Quicken is also a good choice if you have multiple accounts or larger assets to track since the desktop application is well-suited to manage built-out portfolios.
Sheer capacity is one thing, with its wide array of tools, but security is another; everything is stored locally on your computer. It also allows you to see summary reports of your holdings, invaluable if there are too many moving pieces to otherwise view concisely. Quicken does have a comprehensive Support section on its site to help you troubleshoot, and the software is intuitive enough that you may not have many questions if you have experience with money management.
But we were still disappointed by its weak live support. While it has a decent rating on the Apple app store, it earns an abysmal 2. This software takes a unique approach to budgeting. Instead of making a hypothetical plan for future money, YNAB works with the cash you have on hand. It asks you to allocate all of your income: Instead, every dollar is put toward a specific purpose, which is what YNAB means by its first rule: YNAB had us import each account separately, as opposed to pulling everything at once as Mint did.
This took a little longer, but it made us think critically about how we wanted to prioritize our finances. This setup process lays the foundation for thoughtful money management from day one. YNAB also walks you through budget planning with plainly worded, helpful tutorials. As you create your budget and manage your daily finances, the software provides you with tutorials that will help you tackle some of the tougher financial topics. The software automatically links to your bank account, bringing in your spending information for analysis and budgeting tracking.
The traditional envelope budgeting system helps you stick to a budget by using envelopes to manage your budget. Choose the financial goals that are most important to you, then add your bank accounts and set your income. There are several different versions to choose from one of the versions is free with some of the higher-priced options providing additional features and coaching options. Entering your tax information is fairly simple — you can import your W-2 information from your employer or take a picture of the form and the software will transfer the information into the form.
Paid versions of TurboTax include a feature to help you maximize your deductions by uncovering deductions you may not have known were available to you. The investment software provides free personalized recommendations to help you diversify your portfolio, which you can follow or not follow as you see fit. Personal Capital allows you to manage all your financial accounts in a single platform. You can include your bank accounts, mortgage and other credit accounts, plus your investment accounts to have your complete financial picture right in front of you.
If you have multiple accounts — as most of us do these days — using Personal Capital can save you from having to switch between multiple screens to understand where you stand. The software is free but charges some fees for additional features. The single best resource is your time and attention. With that being said, I recommend whatever app, service, or idea helps you spend that 20 minutes and build that habit.
If you want a little bit more foundational knowledge on the topic before we dive in to the applications themselves, here are a couple of notable finance blogs:. Side note: In selecting the best personal finance app, we want to take into consideration all of the possible software and service-based options for people to use when tracking finances on their Mac. Since there are some very strong service-based options available, this review would be incomplete if we neglected to take services like Mvelopes, YNAB, EveryDollar, and Mint into consideration.
Most of the applications we looked at fall into one of two camps in how they approach financial management and are usually very good at one of two things:.
Pure Mac: Personal Finance - Software for Mac
The very best personal finance apps strike a balanced approach between these two extremes. Banktivity is the right blend of powerful features and ease-of-use to help just about anyone improve how they manage their personal finances. Importing transactions is a breeze, and it offers flexible budgeting tools to help you stay on track and make sure you meet your financial goals. The Banktivity Dashboard has been updated for version 6 and looks a little bit cleaner, but it still offers easy access to all of your financial information.
A sidebar on the left gives you access to your accounts, budgets, reports, and even websites for when you need to confirm transaction details from within the app. From the sidebar, you can also quickly access scheduled transactions, categories, tags, accounts, securities, and even currencies by clicking the Settings icon in the bottom-left.
How We Chose the Best Personal Finance Software Programs
The summary of your financial health has been moved to the Summary in the main window, which keeps the sidebar looking tidy. The main window displays the selected information, like your transactions or your budgeting categories. This information changes based on which sidebar item you have selected, but the sidebar remains in place throughout your interaction with the app so you can quickly jump to the different parts of the application with ease. One of the new additions in Banktivity 6 is the introduction of Workspaces, which significantly extends the functionality of this main window.
Workspaces allow you to use any account, budget, report, or other view in Banktivity side-by-side. This allows you to work in two parts of the app at once and is completely customizable. There are two ways to create a Workspace:. For example, you may want see an account register next to your budget to see how your spending affects your budget.
Stay on top of all your expenditures
Or if you need to verify something in your bank website, you can drag the website over from the sidebar next to your account register. Banktivity makes it really easy to import and sync data online. You can sync data using one of three methods: While we had some trouble syncing certain types of accounts in previous versions of iBank, this seems to be largely resolved with the release of Banktivity.
When testing the new version, we encountered zero issues using Direct Access. Banktivity also offers support for many different types of accounts. Checking, savings, cash, credit cards, loans, assets, liabilities, lines of credit, money market, investments, and k accounts can all be managed in Banktivity.
Managing all of these things in one place is convenient because it can give you a more complete financial picture. Managing accounts with Banktivity is easier than just about any other app we tested.
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For example, if you have multiple transactions from the same payee and you change the category on one transaction, Banktivity will ask you if you want to change it for the other transactions as well. In order to accurately identify trends and really know if you are hitting your financial targets, you have to do some setup work. Fortunately, Banktivity remembers these values once you put them in, so after you do it once it makes it much simpler in the future. Banktivity also syncs all your accounts automatically if you are using Direct Access or Direct Download, so they are always up-to-date — no need to manually refresh your accounts.
Another new feature in Banktivity 6 is the addition of tags, which is kind of like next-level categorization. These can be very useful in helping you track your spending accurately because they allow you to pull up reports for spending that are cross-categorical.
The Best Personal Finance Software Programs
Tags are different than categorization, and allow you to see the big picture. The solution is to use tags.
For example, if you use a vacation tag on your vacation expenses, you can easily access a report based on that tag to see all your vacation expenses together. There are many different types of reports available in Banktivity:. For any of these reports, you can choose which accounts you want to include in the reports, and you can select from a number of pre-defined or custom date intervals. Quick Reports allow you to instantly drill down into transaction categories and view reports on everything inside.
To access Quick Reports when looking over transactions, just click Report On and select a category to access the custom report, then click the three vertical bars at the top of the report and drag it to the sidebar so you can keep tabs on it. For example, if you want to see how much you spend on fancy coffee, you can view the report by the category and then just drag the report to the sidebar.
Now you can access the report again at anytime from the sidebar simply by clicking it, making it easy to track your hipster caffeine cravings. Banktivity does have iOS apps, but you have to purchase them separately. You can use the app to access just about anything you can in the Mac version. The new web app does a great job of guiding you through setting up everything from your very first budget, planning a month ahead, setting long-term savings goals, and more.
This makes YNAB a great starting point for people just dipping their toes into the personal finance waters as it is incredibly easy to use. Of all the apps we looked at, MoneyWiz is easily the most beautiful even with the improvements to the Banktivity dashboard with version 6.