Technology makes our lives easier in so many ways, so why not use it to improve your financial wellbeing? There's no doubt that the internet has revolutionised the way we live, work and play – with many of us now also doing our shopping, banking and even our socialising online. The web is also a rich source of financial information, and plenty of sites offer clever apps and tools that can make it easier to manage your finances.
Wondering how much money you'll need to enjoy a comfortable retirement? ASIC's MoneySmart website has you covered, with their online Retirement Planner and Superannuation Calculator.
In the Retirement Planner, you can set a retirement age then work out what your retirement income will be from super and the Age Pension, based on your current super balance and contributions. You can even see how your retirement savings will be impacted if you decide to take a career break.
Using the Superannuation Calculator, you can then estimate how much further your super could grow if you top it up through salary sacrificing or by making aftertax contributions.
There are also a variety of retirement planning apps that you can download to your smartphone or tablet. One example is RetirePlan, which allows you to get a complete picture of your future retirement income. You can also compare different scenarios to see how your nest egg will be impacted if, for instance, you or your partner retire earlier or give your super an extra boost.
BUDGETING AND SAVING
If you need help drawing up a household budget, the MoneySmart website offers a handy Budget Planner.
With this easy-to-use tool, you can break down your family's expenses into different categories like utilities, groceries, entertainment and transport. You can then compare your spending against your income to see if you're on track or if you need to make some cuts. When you're ready, you can print out your budget summary and maybe stick it on your fridge, so you can check your progress throughout the year.
To keep an eye on your spending while you're out and about, you could try out popular apps like You Need A Budget. This app allow you to synchronise all your bank account and credit card balances with your bills and other expenses so you can see exactly where your money's going.
MoneySmart also has two great apps – TrackMySpend and TrackMyGoals – that can help you prioritise your expenses, set spending limits and create realistic savings goals.
Whether you're looking to buy, rent or invest, searching for the perfect property has never been easier. From the convenience of your desktop, phone or tablet, you can now get real-time property market data from sites like realestate.com.au and Domain.
With industry listings and insights at your fingertips, you can find houses and apartments in your preferred suburb or region. You can even filter your search results by price, property features, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and nearby amenities such as schools or parks. They also have tools to help you work out how much you can borrow, calculate your upfront costs and estimate a repayment plan for your home loan.
Hate tax time? The Australian Taxation Office has introduced an app to take the headache out of EOFY. With myDeductions you can keep track of your income records and tax deductions as an employee or sole trader, as well as storing photos of all your invoices and receipts.
If you're a business owner, apps like ReceiptBank, Expensify and Squirrel Street can help you stay on top of your business expenses – from scanning and archiving receipts to generating expense reports. There are also plenty of apps like Mileage Logbook by Driversnote and Travel Logs that make it easy to log and track your work-related vehicle use and mileage.
Online share-trading platforms have been around for a while, but many of them now have their own apps.
SelfWealth users can buy and sell shares directly from their smartphone or tablet, while Stocklight and Simply Wall St allow you to find, research and monitor investment opportunities in just a few clicks.
Raiz is an innovative micro-investing app that automatically rounds up your credit card purchases to the nearest dollar and deposits the difference into your investment account. And with the rise of bitcoin, new apps like CoinBase and CoinJar enable crypto-investors to create a digital currency portfolio and trade bitcoin online, with added security to ensure your investment is safe from hackers.
Get the right advice
While online tools and apps are great, remember that your financial adviser is the best resource available to you. Your adviser understands your unique circumstances and can tailor your financial plan to make sure you stay on track towards achieving your lifestyle goals.
To find out more, visit moneysmart.gov.au or ato.gov.au. Other apps discussed in this article are currently available at the time of publishing through the App Store or Google Play. They do not take account of your individual objectives, financial situation or needs. You will need to review the content and relevance of these apps to ensure they are appropriate for you and your circumstances.