Budgeting tools

The first and perhaps most effective step to managing your money online is signing up for basic budgeting sites such as Mint.com, from Mint Software Inc. of Mountain View, Calif., Wesabe.com, from San Francisco-based Wesabe Inc., or Geezeo.com, from Geezeo of Hartford, Conn.

via The Best Online Tools for Personal Finance – WSJ.com.

SimpliFi.net tool

SimpliFi.net, from SimpliFi LLC in Winston-Salem, N.C., uses a virtual financial adviser named Sophie to guide you through a planning process based on financial goals, such as saving for retirement or reducing debt. The site assesses how much you should spend and save to reach your particular goal and tells you how likely you are to achieve it with a “Goal Point Average” ranging from A+ to F. (You don’t give the site any of your financial-account information, but you do have to input approximate balances.)

The site can provide details on how much you need to save over a certain period to reach your goals and offer recommendations on types of investments to consider. The site is registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which offers investors a measure of protection: Among other things, the site must comply with SEC rules for registered investment advisers and is subject to examination by SEC staff.

via The Best Online Tools for Personal Finance – WSJ.com.

Planwithvoyant.com tool

Another site, Planwithvoyant.com, from Voyant Inc. of Austin, Texas, helps investors forecast the impact of unforeseen events. Step-by-step wizards guide you through the initial preparation of a financial plan, such as identifying your goals and entering income information and expenses. Then charts and graphs show your current financial condition and allow you to test the financial effect of what-if scenarios, such as an unexpected pregnancy or an early retirement. You can also run simulations on how to mitigate those risks, say, by adding insurance or altering your investment strategy.

For specific questions and advice, you can reach out to Voyant’s online community forum or check in with a financial professional in your area. If you choose this free option, you’re presented with a list of local advisers, where you can check out their credentials and choose to ask one of them for feedback. (The site says advisers in this service must be registered with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, or Finra. They pay for subscriptions to the service, and offer help, as a way to drive new business.)

via The Best Online Tools for Personal Finance – WSJ.com.