If you’ve ever read about personal finance, the chances are good that setting a budget will come up at some point in the discussion. It’s among the most common recommendations in improving personal finances. Our first blog post discussed budgeting, 7 Tips to Set Yourself Up for Financial Success, but setting a budget is the easy part. Following up, tracking, and reconciling accounts each month is where the real work takes place.
Advancements in technology are simplifying what used to be a time-intensive undertaking. Now the work takes place up front and the follow-up is handled automatically through the use of personal financial management tools (PFMs). PFMs organize your spending, saving data and displaying it in an easy to read dashboard. You simply load your online accounts and updates take place overnight. These tools allow you to see trends in your spending by categorizing each purchase (Groceries, Auto, etc…) as well as updating balances and transactions in your investments, savings, and loans, giving you a complete financial snapshot in one location.
Through online banking at simplygoodbanking.com, our customers have access to FinanceWorks™, a personal financial management tool, which is a free service. When logged into online banking you can access FinanceWorks from your dashboard or via the “Manage Money” tab.
See how some members of our team here at the bank use FinanceWorks to stay on top of their finances, plan ahead, and reach their financial goals.
Candi Huebner, Personal Banker – Mazomanie
I love the information I can get from FinanceWorks! Knowledge is power and I want the power to control my expenses to get the most out of my spendable income. I’ve set my budget goals in FinanceWorks. Then, throughout the month, I keep an eye on my progress and make adjustments in my spending if necessary. I also love the smart features of the program. After a little work up front it begins to recognize transactions and will automatically categorize future transactions so that I can see what percentage of my spending is going to what category. For example, all transactions done at my favorite grocery store are automatically categorized in my “grocery” budget. Having the ability to look back at spending trends by category makes it so much easier to reign in my spending. Being an informed consumer makes all the difference.
There is also a “tax watch” tool that allows me to tag transactions I want to keep track of for income taxes. This saves me so much time when tax season rolls around. A little work up front goes a long way. A great tool and best of all, it’s a free service in online banking!
Quinn Christensen, IT Officer – Spring Green
In today’s digital banking environment, pretty much every financial institution offers online access to pull statements, check balances, etc. FinanceWorks has been a true convenience to me because I’m able to see all of my external accounts on one platform giving me a proverbial snapshot of all of my finances. The system automatically logs into those accounts for me overnight and gives me balance and transaction updates daily. I can also input the book value of all my assets & liabilities, even if its credit cards, loans, or brokerage and retirement accounts at other institutions. I can also add the value of my house and vehicles making personal asset management quite convenient and easy. It truly beats creating my own Excel documents because all of the input and reporting is done for me. Not to mention it’s protected by the same security measures that protect our online banking accounts.
Mike Peterson, Investment Center – Mazomanie
Using FinanceWorks has really simplified my finances. Accounts that I have outside of online banking like my retirement, auto loans and credit cards were easily loaded to my dashboard. Now instead of logging into my various accounts individually to check balances, see if payments were made, or look for any unsual activity, I can quickly check each account from my FinanceWorks dashboard. For example, each month I am able to see that my car payment was taken out and the updated balance of that loan. It enables me to stay on top of my bills, not to mention it’s exciting to see my loan balance go down. Now it only takes me a couple minutes monthly to review my full financial picture.
- Complete Financial Picture – One Location
- Analyze Spending
- Simplified Budgeting
- Manage Bills
- Cash-Flow Analysis
We all have busy, complicated lives. That complexity makes it difficult to plan, budget, and make informed financial decisions consistently. Tools like FinanceWorks empower us to take control of our finances by using data and technology to our advantage.
For more information: FinanceWorks™ Demo