Everyone, regardless of their age, income level or walk of life, must occasionally endure financial difficulties. Even if one lives comfortably and has no trouble paying the bills, there are still sometimes logistical headaches concerning money matters.
Luckily, you don't need to go it alone. To iron out a simple financial quibble, sometimes a bit of arithmetic using pencil and paper will do, whereas if you're facing a tremendous level of economic hardship, it might be worth sitting down with a financial professional to work out your difficulties. But for a medium-sized problem – one you can't figure out alone but don't want to bother explaining at a local bank – financial planning software might be the answer.
There's a growing perception these days that software is dead, as given the proliferation of money management tools online, there's no longer any reason to purchase applications for financial services. But U.S. News and World Report says there are multiple reasons to distrust that myth. First of all, sharing your private financial information over the internet can be hazardous, and besides, software tools still offer a range of benefits with which web-based tools can't compete.
Here's a look at what software can do to help you manage your money.
Making a budget
If you're living from paycheck to paycheck, you can use software tools to plan out how each dollar is allocated each week or month. You know how much you're paid, how much you owe for rent, and how much you need to pay bills, buy groceries and handle other expenses, so it's best to have a plan.
Paying off bills
If you have a million different bills to pay, it's nice to have software for paying them all off quickly and conveniently. Rather than logging on to a dozen different websites, find a program that can pay them all in one place.
If you're dealing with massive long-term debts – such as student loans, for instance – it's crucial to have a big-picture plan for paying them off without drowning financially. There are software tools to help you crunch the numbers.
It's never too early to start thinking about retirement. The millennial generation is looking likely to be on its own for retirement funding, which means it's time to start setting aside a few bucks from each paycheck. Sit down at a computer and figure out what amount works for you.