Many personal finance writers place a lot of emphasis on saving and investing money for retirement. But once you retire, you’ll still have to spend a considerable amount of time managing your money. Saving money involves building up a large enough nest egg to live comfortably in retirement, but managing your money is about making it last as long as you need it to.
Once you retire, at least four factors will affect your retirement investments: inflation, swings in the financial markets, large and unexpected expenses such as medical bills, and the potential of outliving your money.
Intelligent investing will go a long way toward avoiding problems in any of these areas. But managing your money wisely is just as important. That starts with having a budget in retirement. Luckily, the internet and app stores are packed with resources to help you budget better. Here are some of my favorites.
1. Mint. Mint is a popular free budget software package. It’s an all-in-one financial application that allows you to easily manage your money and pay your bills on a single online platform. Mint also allows you to check your credit score for free.
Mint pulls all of your financial information into the platform, allowing you to see the big picture of your financial situation in one place on a continuous basis. You can add accounts, credit cards, and bills to see what you owe and when you need to make payments. You can also track your spending patterns and investments.
Mint also has more than 20 kinds of alerts to notify you of fees, remind you to pay bills, and warn you if you’re going over your pre-determined budget. They will also send you a summary of your spending and saving so you know exactly where you stand.
2. You Need A Budget. YNAB is a budgeting application that enables you to track and automate your budget. Unlike Mint, it isn’t free, but it offers a free 34-day trial. The app runs on both Windows and Mac and has a mobile app feature as well. YNAB has a wealth of information and tools on the site, including classes about personal finance topics.
YNAB’s budgeting principles are a bit different. The goal is to have you live on last month’s income. Once you’re living off of savings in retirement, this may be less important than during your income-earning years. But it’s still a good tool for managing your money.
3. Personal Capital. Personal Capital is a registered investment advisor that offers a free online dashboard. The dashboard tracks investments, including asset allocation, holdings and fees. It also offers budgeting software through its cash flow tool, which allows you to drill down into your expenses, enabling you to track your spending by various criteria including category, merchant and date.
The investment platform has a 401(k) fee analyzer, mutual fund fee analyzer and tax optimization. The tool also allows you to view your upcoming bills, including your last payment made, the minimum payments due and the total balance outstanding.
Personal Capital isn’t my favorite tool for strictly managing your budget. But it’s a good option for keeping track of your investments and their performance once you’ve retired.
4. Quicken. This application automatically downloads your income and expenses like YNAB and Mint. It also automatically categorizes transactions, though you can later recategorize them to suit your needs. The software automatically sets up budget goals based on what you've spent in the past, then allows you to customize your plan and track your progress. You will also be able to see upcoming paychecks, bills and payments to help you avoid late fees.
Quicken is a bit more complex to use than Mint, but it includes many of the same features. It also offers more robust tracking for investments, making it more of a combination of Personal Capital and Mint.
5. Mvelopes. Like other budgeting software packages, Mvelopes tracks all of your income and expenses in one application and allows you to retain specific details of your spending patterns. They also offer a mobile app so you can track your budget on the go.
Mvelopes uses the familiar envelope system of budgeting, although in electronic format. They also offer money4life coaching, which is a custom budget program that includes live phone support, one-on-one coaching, and programs to help you save money.