Ah, the golden years! This is the time when a senior should enjoy the fruits of his hard work. An average person spends maybe 30 to 40 years or more of their adult life working away with the goal of saving enough for a good retirement.
Once a senior retires, his income becomes limited. Therefore, it is all the more important that he makes a realistic budget to ensure that he is financially secure.
A lot of people do not like to make a budget because the thought of figuring out expenses and income can be tiresome. Or, they might avoid it because they do not feel confident with finances.
The good news is that there are lots of online tools and finance apps that can help seniors with budgeting. These tools are easy to use, and some have a really nice interface that is engaging to make the budgeting experience more enjoyable.
Best Budget Apps for Seniors
Here are some suggestions of the best budget apps for seniors.
AARP Money Map
All seniors have heard of AARP – the American Association of Retired Persons. It is the country’s biggest nonprofit organization that focuses on improving the quality of life for Americans age 50 and up.
When you join, you get a plethora of benefits. However, the Money Map tool is free to use even if you do not have a membership.
The tool is interactive. It helps you create your spending plan and lets you track how you are spending your money every day. If you have a goal of saving for something, this tool can help you get to your goal faster. It lets you customize your priorities.
By asking you a few questions, it can help you balance possible unexpected expenses with existing bills. If you have debt, it can help you map out a payment plan based on your current funds.
The Budget Builder section helps guide you into seeing what expenses are the most essential to cover each month. Then it suggests which expenses might be less important so you can reduce them and allocate the money to something more important. It can help you create a savings plan.
With Mint, you do not need to make guesses about your finances. It helps seniors monitor their money. It syncs all of the person’s bank accounts into one user-friendly interface. You can also add your investment accounts and credit card accounts to your portfolio.
Mint will keep track of any changes to these accounts and sync them together so you will not have to go to multiple sites to track your funds.
The app also has an alert feature that can warn you if you go over your spending limit. It creates easy-to-read charts that display percentages that you are spending on categories such as food, entertainment, transportation, and more.
By reporting your expenses in this way, it helps you see where you might be overspending so you can adjust your expenditures.
You can customize your budget according to your spending habits. You will also never be late paying a bill because the app will remind you.
PocketGuard simplifies budgeting. It links to your bank accounts and credit card accounts and tracks your income and recurring bills. Sometimes you want to know if you have any money left over for fun things after your essential expenses are taken care of.
This app can figure it out by taking your estimated income, then subtracting from its bills that are coming due, other expenses that you have already budgeted for, and the amount of money you plan to save.
It places your expenses in categories that you can create so you can see where you are spending your money.
This is a good tool for seniors who want to take more control over their finances. The interface is easy to use. You can easily see where you can reduce spending if you want to increase spending somewhere else.
Seniors like BudgetSimple because of its simplicity. The interface is intuitive. You can link your financial accounts and autofill the app with that information, or you can manually fill in the financial information.
It will help you create a budget that can let you see your spending habits and perhaps reduce them in certain areas.
Age Well Planner
The Age Well Planner is created by NCOA, the National Council on Aging. It provides financial education as well as budgeting tools. You can learn about Medicare and browse subjects like benefits. There are calculators that help you plan and control your spending during retirement.
It also offers suggestions on government resources that you can explore to see if you qualify for them. For seniors who are not yet ready to retire but who want to find new work opportunities, the app provides resources on skills-building and job search.
If simplicity is what you want, this app fits the bill. It is intuitive to use. Its main function is to assist you in tracking your bills every month and paying them on time. Bills can be paid right from the app, so you do not have to log into different accounts to pay your bills.
It keeps track of the bills coming up, so the app will not allow you to overspend right now. Prism does not have many other bells and whistles. However, since punctual bill paying is a major part of budgeting, if you can avoid late payments, you are well on your way to good financial management.
Best Budget App for Retirees
Most budget apps are appropriate for anyone who wants a tool to manage their spending and help them save. For retirees, they should find apps that take into account their money in retirement accounts and income from pension plans.
For instance, Mint, is also one of the best investment apps for seniors because it has a feature that allows users to compare estimates for investing in different types of retirement accounts like a 401(k) and IRAs (traditional and Roth).
The Age Well Planner has lots of information on aging, Medicare, annuities, and other issues that seniors find relevant and important to their lives.
It has a database of over 2000 senior benefits programs at the state and federal levels that the user can search through to see if he qualifies for any of them.
What Is the Best Budget App for Older Couples?
For older couples, it is important that open communication be maintained about spending. There are things that both people need, and there are also things that the individual person needs. The individual needs should be clearly expressed because the other person might not be aware of them.
Therefore, before there is any disposable income, each person’s essential needs must be accounted for in the budget.
Also, it is important for the older couple to avoid criticizing what the other person is spending on. Each person has the right to spend on things that he or she values. Even after being together for so many years, or even decades, sometimes an old couple can surprise each other.
So, in order to enjoy the remaining time that the couple has together, they should avoid arguing about money and be as transparent about it as possible.
As for apps that are great for older couples, because Mint can sync with your financial accounts, it is great for couples who want to link their shared accounts or their individual accounts separately. This approach requires little maintenance once it is set up.
While most apps have preset categories for you to enter your expenses, an app called You Need A Budget allows you to create your own categories. This is good for older couples who want to create priorities that are important to them as a couple.
They can sync their bank accounts through the app and allocate money to the categories they create. The app also has over a hundred online workshops free of charge.
The couple can learn more about budgeting and financial management. The site is also known for providing good customer support.
Zeta is set up so a couple can manage their shared accounts as well as their individual accounts together, but each person can control what information the other person can see. The bank accounts can be synced to the app.
If one person has a question about a transaction, there is a feature where the person can leave a note for his spouse or partner.
Best Apps to Help Seniors Save Money
Practically all the apps mentioned above will help seniors save money. Apps that categorize expenditures help the senior see which areas he might be overspending in.
He can use that information to adjust or reduce his spending in those categories and save for something that he really wants.
This app can search for local businesses in the senior’s location that offer deals and discounts to people over 50 years of age. The businesses include restaurants, places of entertainment, travel services, health services, home services, and many more.
It is based on location, so if the senior travels to another city, the app can find discounts in that area as well.
How to Choose a Budgeting App
There are a few things that a senior should consider in choosing a budgeting app. Here are some things to think about.
Is the app available for your phone or mobile device?
Some apps might only be designed for just iOS or Android, and not both. So, before settling on an app, you have to find out if the app is compatible with your device.
Does the app cost anything?
Many apps are free to download, but many have an option to upgrade to a premium version for a fee. When exploring an app, it is important to know which features are included in the free version to see if that is sufficient.
If not, then the senior has to decide if the extra features are worth the paid version.
Does the app sync to financial accounts?
One of the advantages of using an app for budgeting is that you don’t have to keep track of your accounts manually. If the app can sync to your bank and credit card accounts, you will see the updated balances on your app automatically.
One of the reasons why some people avoid budgeting is that it takes too much time going back and forth between the financial accounts to check numbers. If the app syncs the accounts, this problem won’t happen.
Does the app allow you to create your spending categories?
Most budgeting apps have preset categories like food, utilities, rent, etc. However, better apps allow you to create your categories. This helps you paint a more realistic picture of your personal finances that is based on your priorities. When it is personalized, you are more motivated to stick with it.
Is the app creator reputable and trustworthy?
You will be entering a lot of personal information on the app, so be sure that the app is reputable. Since it will link to your financial accounts, there should be ample security features in place to protect access to your information.
Apps that provide multi-factor authentication and encryption in data transmission are the safer bet.
Do Budgeting Apps Really Work?
Budgeting apps can help a senior gain better control over his finances. However, the best budgeting app in the world won’t be any good if the senior does not use it.
In order for the app to work, the senior has to commit to using it regularly. To motivate the commitment, the app should be easy to use and easy to read with a user-friendly interface.
Summary and Final Recommendations
Because seniors live on a fixed income, budgeting their expenditures will help them avoid over-spending and getting into debt.
The golden years should be a time when seniors work on their bucket lists, not worrying about how to pay the next bill. A good budgeting app can help them manage their income and spending effectively.
Older couples need to communicate and work on their budget together, so their individual needs are met as well as their needs as a couple.
Whether it is saving for the next cruise or getting that hot tub for your backyard that you have been dreaming about, a budget app can help you save money to realize your dreams.