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Question:


Do you have any recommendations for money management software/websites? Of course, I can get the “big picture” on my finances from goalgami. What about day-to-day spending and budgeting?
-goalgami_user001


Answer:


There is certainly no shortage of choice when it comes to personal finance websites, and it’s not just because there’s a lot of everything on the Internet. One thing that the Internet is good for is doing legwork by aggregating information from many sources. One of the most useful sites, Bankrate.com (http://www.bankrate.com), lists interest rates from multiple institutions on such essential financial products as mortgages, credit cards, money-market funds, savings accounts and certificates of deposit to allow savers and borrowers to comparison-shop and make better decisions.

Many aspects of financial planning, whether for the short or long term, boil down to simple arithmetic. Tools available online permit people to make back-of-the-envelope calculations effortlessly and efficiently, plugging in different numbers to test varying assumptions and come up with the best strategies and tactics. CNNMoney (http://cgi.money.cnn.com/tools/budget101/budget_101.jsp), for instance, provides lessons on such basic matters as setting financial priorities and lets users create budgets for ordinary living expenses – the “day-to-day spending and budgeting” you’re interested in. Other sections of the site cover crucial pieces of the financial planning puzzle like debts, taxes, insurance and investments. Users can assemble personal or family balance sheets and compare their circumstances with typical or recommended amounts.

Two other websites that provide sound, introductory financial information are Get Rich Slowly (http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog) and Motley Fool (http://www.fool.com). The first offers interesting takes on topics ranging from retirement accounts to “How to Stop Buying Clothes You Never Wear.” Motley Fool specializes in investment. One particularly helpful section is “13 Steps to Investing Foolishly” (http://www.fool.com/how-to-invest/thirteen-steps/index.aspx).
-Conrad de Aenlle



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