Top Budget and Personal Finance Apps

Let’s face it, there are some extreme couponers, thrifters, and smart consumers out there always trying to save money and get the best deals. With budgets that much more tight in these tough economic times, it’s okay to get a little help from none other than our smartphone apps. I mean, why not, right? We have our smartphones with us nearly every minute of the day, so this kind of smart budgeting is accessible to anyone. Keep track of your monthly spending, set limits on each category of goodies you purchase, save money, and look up investment ideas and accounts has never been easier. Read on to see how you can always control and be on top of your personal finances. We’ll reveal the top budgeting and smart spending apps for you thrifty shoppers out there!

For one, there are so many budget tracking apps out there, but a really useful one would come with a budget tracker tool that will allow you to view your yearly, monthly, weekly, and daily purchases. You can further categorize them and see visually and through charts and notifications how much you spend exactly in each category. There is also a rollover option for you to transfer leftover funds from previous months or weeks to roll over and won’t mess up your budgeting. Of course, you can always opt out of this option and have a set number of expenses every month.

Another useful app gives you control to add new transactions over your allotted sum of money and spending finances. Pre-setting an overall budget for the entire month, and thereby deducing every time you make a purchase gives you instant updates on the money you have and the money you are losing. These transactions are totally customizable. Currency converters may also be useful if you plan on spending your money in a foreign country. We all get carried away when we travel, but this app makes it easy to stay focused on the budget, even when you’re not familiar with the currency exchange.

Another great app gives you total control over importing your finances onto your phone from an external memory device – your laptop, desktop, or anything with wireless. You can also set a password to manage your personal finances with utmost privacy. Charts and graphs give you short and easy to read summaries of your account activity. You can share these things in the form of PDF, Excel spreadsheet, or import to Google Documents in order to share with your family, business collegiate, execs, or co-workers.

If you are comfortable, some apps may even connect directly to your bank account and give you automatic categorized notifications of your spending. It will constantly update your spending profile and read instant in depth overviews. Any suspicious activity will be announced. Budget tracking is that easy!

In fact, budget tracking has made it easier to keep track of your credit scores, and credit score reports. Why not try to improve your credit score while you are managing your personal finances? If you use the right app, your personal finances will be in a much better place.

5 Best Android Tablet Finance Apps

For Android tablets, the common reason for buying them may be for entertainment and leisure. Did you know that Android tablets are also proven useful in the financial world? Android has offered so many finance apps in the market which are very much relevant and useful to your every day financial needs. Whether you want the latest finance news or you need to make monetary computations, finance-related Android apps have got it all for you. Here is a list of the five best Android finance apps in the market:

1. Finance

Ever wanted to have a personal financial planner but you just can’t afford to pay for one? Simply called Finance, Android has come up with a powerful app which strips you of the need to hire a personal planner. Finance is an app which is capable of providing you with the most recent updates about the stock market. The best feature of this app is that it provides you with stock quotes which are very much reliable because they are quoted real-time. This app also syncs well with your stock portfolios which are loaded in Google Finance.

2. Real Estate Droid

If it is your dream to be a real-estate businessman someday or to be a licensed real estate broker, then this finance app is the best deal for you. Real Estate Droid comes with features which can, for one, search houses for sale. Once you find a catch, you can search information about its neighborhood with real-time updates. With this app, you can also check out mortgage quotes made by real lenders and compute for mortgage loans. You can always take advantage of the built-in loan calculator.

3. Financisto

Financisto is a finance app that is very much capable of doing many things. For one, it lets you add multiple types of bank accounts and even a multiple number of accounts per type. This means that you can add checking and savings accounts together into your file manager. For both types, you can add more than one account. With Financisto, you can also monitor which among your payments are recurring. Once you see the pattern, you can schedule them to make sure you don’t lag with your payments. This app can also help you create either a short-term or long-term budget.

4. Karl’s Mortgage Calculator

If Real Estate Droid is not enough for your mortgage needs, then you can always opt for a more specialized finance app, which is Karl’s Mortgage Calculator. By using this app, you can calculate how much mortgage you should be paying in the future and you can even visually see the results with its easy-to-read charts and graphs. This app can help you compute for your future payments, given the principal loan amounts, interest rate and terms. Karl’s Mortgage Calculator, however, is limited to supporting interest-only amortization and Canadian computations.

5. PayPal

Almost everybody knows of PayPal now. With the PayPal Android app offered in the market, you can do all things you normally do on your PayPal account. The bonus point here is that apart from being able to pay an item, you can also help hasten its delivery process. So, if you’re dying to take hold of that most recent Victoria Secret scent, then you don’t have to wait for the normal number of shipping days just to have it. You can always make it two or three days earlier with this app. With PayPal app at your reach, you can always access your PayPal account anytime you want.

The Changing Face of the Critical Illness Market

It is common practice when purchasing a property to consider your spouse/dependents in the event of your death. Many want to ensure that when making a significant long-term investment, such as a home, that if they were to die prematurely, their largest liability (their mortgage) is taken care of and their dependents are provided for. This point is substantiated by the fact that in the UK today over 43% of the adult population hold some form of life cover. Yet, when we consider that with modern day medical and technological developments, people are living longer and surviving what were previously deemed to be terminal illnesses, it’s clear to see why term assurance policies have become so much more affordable. Very few however consider the consequences of contracting an illness and its effect not just upon ones physical health but also considering the longer-term financial consequences.

Upon the diagnosis of an illness, one may have to temporarily or even permanently give up work. When considering this, how can you be expected to meet your liabilities? Not just bearing in mind the mortgage but also our other outgoings. For any household these could include utilities, food, travel, school fees, family holidays in addition to the cost of potential medical and hospital related costs. Few people have savings that they can fall back on, and even those who do would see them dwindle rather rapidly without a continual source of income. All factors that illustrate the importance of considering critical illness cover when undertaking ones financial planning needs.

So what exactly does Critical Illness Cover do? It provides the policyholder with a tax-free lump sum, similar to that of a term assurance policy and is paid out upon the diagnosis of a critical illness. Some of the most common being Cancer, Heart Attack, Stroke and Multiple Sclerosis.

The reality lies with the fact that before the age of 65, you are 6 times more likely to contract a serious illness than to die. So why did 3 times as many people take out life cover than critical illness cover last year?

One possible answer is that nobody expects it to happen to them. However, one of the most daunting statistics out there is that 1 in 3 people will contract cancer at some stage during their life according to the Imperial Cancer Research fund – a truly staggering number. Not only that, but over 156,000 people in the UK will suffer a heart attack and over 150,000 will have a stroke this year alone. Yet this is something that very few people prepare for and do not have the financial capability to deal with the consequences of.

Another possible reason for the low number of policies in relation to life cover is the poor public perception of Critical Illness cover. Stories published in the newspaper and even broadcast on television of how when putting in a claim for what one would believe to be a critical illness, insurers have turned around and told policyholders that they are not covered. Most recently an article was published on a bus driver from Derby who suffered a series of infections in his left leg and as a result had to have it amputated. When he contacted his insurer to put in a £500,000 claim he was informed he would have to of had two legs amputated before they would pay-out. BBC’s Watchdog also broadcast a piece on the failings of CI cover after hearing from a number of women who had been declined a pay-out following being diagnosed with breast cancer. This was due to the fact they were diagnosed with Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS). An early form of breast cancer which has the potential to become malignant and spread, however as it had been caught early, it remains contained and therefore would not qualify for a claim. Most would argue however that these women were not just subject to a highly traumatic experience. They had to take significant time of work to receive treatment and recuperate and should therefore be entitled to some form of compensation. One woman following her mastectomy required a further 8 operations due to complications with her skin, leaving her physically unable to work, yet still she still did not qualify for a claim.

So how is the Critical Illness market responding to such issues? What we are beginning to see in the market is that some insurers such as PruProtect, Royal Liver and AXA are beginning to pay claims out upon a severity basis. What that means is that should you be diagnosed with an illness that is under the terms of the policy, you will receive a payout of between 10-100% of your sum assured. The amount is determined by how serious your illness is and how greatly it could affect your lifestyle. It is not a case of you having to be critical before you receive a payout as with many others in the market. Your cover will not cease after the claim as it would many CI policies, it will continue following the claim and the premiums (if guaranteed) will also remain at the same level you were paying prior to the claim. So in the case of the Derby bus driver who suffered a leg amputation, under PruProtects Serious Illness Cover, he would have received a payout of 75% of his sum assured (£375,000) and his cover would have continued following the claim. In the case of the lady who was diagnosed with DCIS, she would have received 10% of her sum assured to assist with medical care as well as give her the peace of mind to know she wouldn’t have to return to work. Her cover would also continue following the claim so should the cancer return, she would have been able to make another claim.

When one considers other insurance markets, it’s obvious to see how this approach makes basic common sense. With regard to household cover, when a water pipe bursts in your home, you don’t receive the total value of your house. You receive a pay-out in proportion to the damage caused to the property and your cover continues. When your car is involved in a minor collision, you don’t receive a pay-out for the whole car, you make a claim to the value of the damage caused and again, your cover continues.

People want financial protection that they can not only claim on, but also have the cover continue after that claim. Not simply to be told that their condition is not deemed critical enough and if it is, that their cover cease following the claim. It’s clear that severity based payments are the way the market should be headed. A point further substantiated by the fact PruProtects Serious Illness Cover was awarded the Best Critical Illness Provider Award for 2009 & 2010, as well as a DEFAQTO 5 star rating for 2007 through to 2011.

Critical Illness and Life Cover are policies that nobody ever wishes to make a claim on, yet evidence shows they are vitally important and can help support ones liabilities and families’ future. Life cover has always been the leading product in the market in terms of sales, yet what is increasingly evident is the value critical illness can offer, especially given the changing nature of the market.

Michael Rhodes is a Financial Protection Consultant for Genesis Advisory Services (UK) Ltd who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority and form the protection arm of the Genesis Capital Group of South Africa. To find out more about Serious Illness Cover, get in contact on 020 8387 1331.

Where to Find Car Loan Low Interest Finance

You may be surprised to learn how much you will be able to save when you take out car loan low interest finance. If you have been working hard to negotiate the best sale price on your new car, you certainly won’t want to negate the savings you make by paying dearly for finance. There are many companies around who can offer you a good deal on an auto loan and, when looking for car finance, you should aim to pay the lowest rate you can.

When looking for car loan low interest finance you should ensure that you consider all options available to you. A lot of people feel more comfortable sticking with their own financial institutions or the larger bank lenders as they seem to think they will be able to provide the best loans at the best rates. This is not always the case. These days there are a large number of non-bank lenders who provide car loan low interest finance.

Probably the best place to start looking for car loan low interest finance is on the internet. The majority of non-bank loan providers operate solely online as it is an easy way to set up their business without having to outlay a lot of capital. These companies also have minimal running costs, so they can afford to offer car loan low interest finance and still make a reasonable profit.

It is important, when searching for car loan low interest finance, that you realize that interest rates can vary considerably between lenders these days. Ensure that you take the time to shop around and get as many quotes as possible, as you may never know when you will come across the perfect auto loan at the lowest price around. It is only by approaching as many lenders as you can that you will have any success in finding car loan low interest finance.

Looking for car loan low interest rate financing is quick and easy when you do it online. Not only can you compare lenders at a time that is convenient for you, but you will only need to enter your details once in order to receive multiple quotes. The other great thing about getting car loan low interest finance online is that the application process is incredibly straight forward. Once you have found a great rate from a reliable lender, you will be able to apply for your loan online by completing a standard application form. Your application will be submitted to your lender immediately and so the processing of your application is a lot faster.

One thing that you will need to be cautious about when getting car loan low interest finance online is that you will need to ensure that the lender you go with is legitimate and reputable. Sometimes a company that offers ridiculously low rates may not be the most trustworthy, so always take the time to find out more about a lender before signing on the dotted line. You can check out the business ratings of various lenders online through the Better Business Bureau or through auto finance review sites.

Top 10 iPhone Apps for Personal Finance

There are many applications for the iPhone that give users the ability to make personal financing easier than ever. While solving one pain-in-the-neck issue, it creates another – which app to buy? Because of the popularity of these headache-reducing apps, there is an overwhelming amount of options available in the App Store. Deciphering which app is the best available is almost impossible. Add in the fact that so many aren’t free, and choosing the right one the first time around could save time and money. Before downloading anything, it’s important to know if the functionality of the app (money transferring, budget tracking, etc.) fits your needs. Provided is a list of ten apps including the price and primary function that can make tracking personal finances much easier.

Mint – There are tons of finance apps available that focus on budget tracking. Few are as popular as Mint, which allows users to manage multiple financial accounts from one simple user interface. With user-friendly features and no price tag, there is little wonder why this app has so many users.

Loan Shark – Dealing with loans is never a pleasant experience. The Loan Shark app helps ease some of the pain endured while handling loans without having to pay anything. It simplifies the process of calculating loans by a great deal and also has many features including a full amortization table, a one-tap extra payment option, and a “favorites” feature.

MoneyStrands – This app is another free option for tracking your budget. With features like alerts, analysis, security, and support, it is one to compare to Mint.

PageOnce – Planning long-term investments can be easy to put off. This app also assists in budgeting your current finances like MoneyStrands and Mint, but really excels in planning for the future. It gives you the ability to look at your 401k, IRA, and stocks all at the same time, while not costing you a cent.

Toshl – Toshl incorporates cloud computing into every day financing with this free app. The cloud feature allows users to automatically sync their mobile movements online. Additionally, there is a premium upgrade ($19.95/year) that allows users to export to Excel, PDF, or Google Docs among other features.

MoneyBook – MoneyBook is another addition to the long line of apps for budgeting. This one, however, comes at a price. Promoted as “Finance with Flair,” the app costs $2.99 and is loaded with features to make financing easier.

SplashMoney – At $4.99, what differentiates this from the free apps is its ability to connect wirelessly to most online bank accounts.

Square – The price is right for this free app that makes credit card purchases simpler than ever. By signing up, Square, Inc. will provide a credit card reader that can be attached directly to the iPhone. Once connected, users have the ability to swipe all major credit cards with only a 2.75% charge per swipe.

PayPal – Ebay-owned PayPal provides users a secure, simple way to send or receive money wirelessly.

General Banking – The bulk of major banks have available apps for free. These provide easy-access to any and all bank accounts in a secure fashion.

This is only a small example of the many, many apps that can help make financing easier. With the continuous release of new applications and updates to old ones, banking from your iPhone will continue to simplify; finding the app for doing so may not. This list is a great place to start looking.

For more information about iPhone application development, visit Magenic Technologies who have been providing innovative custom software development to meet unique business challenges for some of the most recognized companies and organizations in the nation.