If you’re trying to get your finances under control, your first step is likely to be creating a budget.
Managing that budget can be far more challenging, however.
Fortunately, there are some great software options that can help you to manage your money and keep your spending on track.
PocketSmith is a convenient and easy to use personal finance software that helps the user to track spending, credit accounts, investments, and project future finances.
In this article we’ll delve a little deeper into this software solution to help you determine if it is the best option for you.
- Flexible tool to forecast your finances.
- Tailor a budget to fit your needs.
- Scenario testing to see future effects of decisions on your finances.
- Secure application to keep your data safe.
PocketSmith is a personal finance app that creates a summary of all your accounts, transactions, and budgets in one location.
While there are many aggregation and analysis apps like this, PocketSmith allows you to create budgets at any time, for any timeframe. So, you can create monthly, weekly, or even daily budgets according to your needs. Additionally, while the more comprehensive version is not free, you will not be bothered with ads that are often a bit of a pain with other apps.
PocketSmith allows you to not only track your recurring expenses such as utilities and rent, but you can also add one off expenses such as quarterly taxes. You can use the standard budget categories or create your own, so you can accurately track all of your spending.
This will help you to have a clear picture of your spending, comparing your actual spending to your budget, so you can see if you are off track and make adjustments accordingly.
PocketSmith Features & Functionality
As we touched on above, PocketSmith offers some great features to make it easier to manage your money.
- Budget Calendar: The app finds recurring costs and will help you to track them using a calendar. This is a user friendly tool that resembles Google calendar and allows you to immediately see upcoming bills without needing to scroll through a list. The expenses are even color coded, so you can see the spending categories easily.
- Future Forecasting: In addition to alerting you to upcoming expenses, PocketSmith will use your existing data and trends to forecast your finances for as long as 30 years into the future. This includes estimated bank balances. While this can seem like a frivolous feature, it can be useful if you’re considering long term changes such as buying a home or making retirement plans.
- Scenario Tests: You can also enter possible scenarios and see how they will impact the financial forecasts. For example, you could enter the details of an extended holiday or taking time off work for maternity leave to see how it will affect your finances. This will help you to make big financial decisions using data rather than relying on gut instinct.
- Budgets: As we mentioned above, most people will find the budgets the most useful feature of PocketSmith. You can create and track budgets and view your spending plans by any specified period.
- Income and Expenses Statements: You can also see the PocketSmith take on a profit and loss statement, creating an income and expenses report that looks like a business financial statement but is tailored to your specified financial categories.
- Net Worth: PocketSmith will also use your connected accounts to automatically calculate your net worth. You can link assets to liabilities, so you can track the asset’s total value. For example, you can link your mortgage loan to your home, so you can get a clearer picture of your financial position.
- Multi Currency Capable: PocketSmith has the capacity to deal with accounts, assets, and liabilities in different countries. It will provide automatic currency conversions that are based on the daily exchange rate. You’ll be able to see the native balance and conversions, while your net worth is recorded in your base currency. This is a great way to get a more accurate picture of your overall finances, and it even has exchange rate support for Bitcoin, gold, and silver.
- Live Bank Feeds: If you have a Premium or Super package, you will have automatic live feeds that are connected to over 12,000 banks and financial institutions around the world. This includes all the major banks in the US, Canada, UK, Australia, and New Zealand. You can import multiple accounts from the same institution, and once the details are imported, all of your transactions are automatically categorized.
Signing Up For PocketSmith
It takes less than a minute to create a PocketSmith account with just five steps. You don’t need to provide confidential information during the sign up process, and you can downgrade, upgrade, or even cancel your plan at any time.
Once you create your account, you’ll be offered some options. You can choose to manually add your bank information and any transactions, import your details from another service or take a tour to check how it all works.
Each option is accompanied by easy to follow instructions, so you can quickly get started.
How PocketSmith Works
Once you’ve completed the account details, you’ll be presented with your dashboard. This is the place where you can view your spending habits and earnings. You can click on the buttons to see past spending history get a snapshot of your budget, or look at a future forecast.
From your dashboard, you’ll also be able to look through all of your transactions and assign labels and categories. You’re not forced to use generic categories, and you can also add notes. You can search your transactions by notation, tag, category, or even amount.
Once you’ve looked at your overall spending, you can set up your first budget. This will help you to see any areas where you may be over spending.
PocketSmith Plans & Pricing
PocketSmith offers a choice of three tiers of plans. These are:
- Basic: This does provide free access to the app at no cost, but it is rather limited. You can manually import your details, link two accounts, and set up 12 budgets. You can also see six months of projections. This is a good option for those who want to try out the basic features of the app, and you can upgrade later if you want to get into the more in-depth tools.
- Premium: This is priced at $9.95 per month, but if you pay for the whole year upfront, the cost is discounted to $7.50 per month. However, the Premium tier does add some great functionality. You’ll gain access to automatic bank feeds, auto categorization, automatic and manual transaction imports, and unlimited budgets. You can also have ten accounts and see ten years of projections.
- Super: This top tier costs $19.95 per month or if you pay for a full year up front, $14.16 per month. This option opens up 30 year projections and unlimited accounts, making it a good option if you have a more complicated financial situation.
Obviously, since you’re sharing your financial details, you need to be confident that any app is secure, and PocketSmith is secure. The app doesn’t connect with your banks or sync your accounts directly. They use a bank feed provider called Yodlee. Yodlee is a part of the Envestnet group, and it adheres to or exceeds the security standards required for consumers and their financial data.
The app also features two factor authentication. As you login to PocketSmith, you’ll be asked to provide a one time code that is generated on your phone.
Additionally, the app connection is always encrypted. Your data is stored on encrypted physical servers, and all entries are monitored around the clock, so you can be sure your data is in safe hands.
Pros and Cons
As with any app or platform, PocketSmith is not perfect, and there are some pros and cons.
- Flexible: You can create budgets for any period. So, if you want a daily budget or need to monitor your weekly spending, you’re not stuck trying to use a monthly budget template.
- One Time Event Tracking: You can also track one time events, making it easy to track quarterly taxes or other expenses that are not part of your regular monthly spending.
- Tailored Categories: You can also create your own categories, so your budget is as easy to use and accurate as possible to your unique financial situation.
- Clear Calendar System: You can set up your calendar to see current balances and future forecasts. This provides a clear way to sync up your budget categories and accounts.
- Learning Curve: There is a learning curve, so be prepared that you’re not likely to master all the features of the app in a day or two. It will take some time to explore and learn how you can use all of the features and functions.
- Limited Free Version: While you never have to worry about ads popping up and ruining your concentration, the free version of PocketSmith is very limited. Although it can help you to get to grips with the basic functions, if you’re serious about managing your finances and working towards your financial goals, be prepared to upgrade.
Is PocketSmith Right For You?
PocketSmith is a great option for those who want to get a grip on their finances and keep everything on track. You can log into the app and receive email updates, so you can get more predictability into your financial life.
If you’re struggling to come to terms with whether a financial decision will impact your future, you’re likely to find the PocketSmith forecasts extremely helpful. You’ll be able to pose scenarios and see how it will affect your financial future to help you to make better decisions.
However, PocketSmith is also a good option if you’re the type of person who has a lot going on. If you find yourself swimming in statements for retirement accounts, investments, rental properties, and all of your other bank accounts, you’re likely to benefit from having a central hub to look at all of your accounts at a glance. The forecasting can help you to avoid any cash crunches and make more informed decisions about your financial commitments in all the areas of your business and personal life.
A Premium Product That Can Help You See Into The Future
PocketSmith is an excellent product with pricing that's fair for what you're getting.
Although there are cheap or free apps elsewhere that may offer some or most of the functions, many of these are often supported by ad revenue, so you can find your financial planning interrupted at the most inconvenient time with an ad.
However, if you don’t mind paying a premium for no ads, PocketSmith certainly delivers on great features.
It is one of the best financial aggregator apps with stand out features like the calendar function that can be used to track all of your accounts, including credit cards, student loans, checking accounts, and savings. Everything is color coded, so you can get a snapshot picture of your transactions and future expenses without needing to read through lists of figures.
While you will only have access to two calendars on the basic plan, you can upgrade to the Premium or Super Account can provide more than enough calendars for most users.
The Premium plan is the best value option, but if you have need of the additional features of the Super Plan, it only costs a few dollars more each month, if you pay for the full year in advance.
If you’ve been searching for an app that provides detailed account information and future forecasts of your finances, PocketSmith is well worth the investment. If you’re still not completely convinced, sign up for the basic, free plan, and you can always upgrade later.