There are a lot of great tools out there online, all of which carry the magic price of free, to help you properly manage your family finances. I haven’t always been the best at managing my personal finances growing up, but with the wealth of information and tools available in today’s age, it makes this task much less daunting. There really is no better time to get a handle on your finances, which is especially useful given our current economic climate.
These tools should go a long way to help you feel like you are in control.
The starting point for anyone looking to organize their finances. Mint offers a safe/secure way to pull all your bank accounts, investments, etc. together and track them as well as set retirement goals. Mint will also send you reminders if it believes you can refinance, lower your interest payments on your credit cards, etc. As an added bonus, there is also an Android and iPhone app for Mint.
CNN Money Retirement Calculator
Know how much you need to retire? Most people have no idea. I won’t waste words describing the importance of a retirement calculator, but this is good recommendation as a starting point if you would like to use one.
Beyond your retirement calculator, it’s also important to know how much life insurance, disability insurance, or otherwise you will need to keep your family safe and comfortable should something happen to you. This site is very well done, easily understood, and is organized/managed by a non-profit organization.
Khan Academy Finance
If you haven’t heard about Khan Academy yet, you are missing out on an amazing resource. You can see this TED video here, or any number of web articles would do a great job to show you how it is revolutionizing education. Sal (Khan) does a great job at showing you how IRAs, tax deductions, bonds vs. stock, and a load of other information all via video format targeting to someone who has no starting knowledge of those topics.
This is a product I can not personally vouch for, but am highlighting it here should someone else be interested in the concept. Smarty Pig allows you to create as many virtual savings accounts as you you would like, at no cost to you. Money can be moved to and from your checking account to help you save for various targets like vacation, gadgets, etc.
One final product I also cannot personally vouch for, but plan to use in the future, is Lending Club. Lending Club works for both lenders and borrowers. If you wish to lend your money out (similar to how a bank would) you can do so and obtain interest in the process. If you are a lender, you could get money loaned to you for a car, home, or other project. This appears to be a great way to make money and make a decent return on that money as well.