Traditionally, the start of a New Year is sometimes heralded with a resolution and for some people that could mean casting an eye over their personal finances and taking a fresh look at them. This article does not give (or wants to give) any individual or specific financial advice but is happy to signpost some digital resources that may help you tidy up and improve the state of your personal finances. Irrespective of where you are in your career or how astute you are in your personal financial affairs, there is always room to improve and learn more.
Many people are overwhelmed by trying to sort out their personal finances, never mind thinking of looking to software to help and develop their financial position. Yet, digital resources could consist of apps on phones or mobile devices as well as more traditional software on a personal computer. Once the software is populated with relevant data (to be fair this could be a significant job importing all the relevant data) all sorts of information and reports can be generated which can help the user figure out what is happening to their money. Good suggestions for software can be found from Tech Radar and Which.
The software giant, Microsoft did have a popular personal finance programme called not surprisingly, Microsoft Money but that ceased being sold and updated some years ago although a free replacement is still available. Some people are still using the original Microsoft Money programme but there are alternatives. One interesting offering is Home Bank, which is free and works across different computer platforms.
Some people may be more comfortable using modern apps in mobile devices to manage their personal finances. Again you will not be surprised that we are spoilt for choice in this department.
Just as there is an overwhelming amount of software and apps that helps you keep track of your finances, there is a similar abundance of publications and websites that also offer financial support. There are some very good financial magazines and a number are available via the excellent Readly app, which I have discussed in a previous blog. Equally don’t forget that some national newspapers often have very good financial sections (For example the Times newspaper, Saturday edition and the Sunday Times have excellent and relevant regular personal financial sections) which highlight money issues and check out the large number of financial podcasts from the usual providers that are widely available as well.
There are an abundance of personal finance websites and one of my favourites is Money Saving Expert founded by the reputable and well known personal finance journalist and TV presenter Martin Lewis. This site is a treasure trove of personal financial information and often is the usual starting point to finding best deals for mortgages, savings and credit cards etc. It is also full of consumer tricks, great advice and tempting consumer deals, which requires a lot of research. Yet this site does all the work for you and summarises the key findings for you; even better the site is free of charge to use. You can also subscribe (free of charge) to their weekly newsletter. I have been receiving this for years and there is always useful information here.
It is important to trust the financial advice you receive and it is important to know about the background of the resource. One useful website to check out providers and generate trust is Money and Pensions Service. From this page, there are links to some of their services that include looking at pensions and money.
Finally, if following blogs are your thing, then not surprisingly there is a plethora of financial blogs out there. Instead of searching you might want to use this website as a launch pad. It lists the top 35 British blogs and websites and there may be something here that could interest you here.
There is so much assistance out there, that it is easy to become overwhelmed and give up. So just pick a few resources mentioned here and follow them through and see if any can lead to help you improve the state of your personal finances. Everyone works hard for their money, make sure you put it to good and effective use.
Dr Harry Brown is medical editor of GM and a GP, Leeds