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News Now

CU System
Need money smarts? There's an app for that
MADISON, Wis. (4/11/14)--Literacy implies understanding, and what better way for credit unions to celebrate April as National Financial Literacy Month than to introduce their members to technology that will help them understand their finances.
 
Bloomberg outlined several apps and websites that help consumers get a better handle on their spending and saving habits:
  • The website StickK helps consumers motivate themselves to meet their financial goals. Consumers put up money that they can meet their financial goals. If they fail, the money goes to charity. For even more motivation, the funds can be committed to a political organization the consumer is against.
  • Opower analyzes energy usage data to provide end-users with information on their consumption and personalized recommendations on how to cut their bills. Opower even advises consumers how much energy they are using in comparison to their neighbors and offers suggestions for saving.
  • The Level Money app provides a constantly updated view of how much disposable cash consumers have, after taking into account savings goals and bills. This keeps consumers from making impulse buys but also provides them with spending money.
  • The app Lift employs coaching, community and data to help consumers succeed. Users can create their own plans, and cheer each other on.
  • Check is an app that organizes bills and provides an alert when it's time to pay them.
  • Mint.com aggregates a consumer's financial accounts into one place and offers tools for setting a budget and tracking goals. The personal finance website also offers social networking.
  • WalletAI uses artificial intelligence to provide insight on spending habits and to offer financial advice. That advice might include warning you not to spend more than $20 per day or to opt for a regular coffee instead of a latte at the coffee shop.
  • LearnVest offers a seven-step plan for money management. For a monthly fee, the site offers each member access to a financial planner.
  • Betterment is an investing website that caters to each investor's level of risk. The site maximizes earning by investing in index funds.
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