Wealthsimple is a whole new kind of investing service. This is the latest installment of our “How To” series, where we lay out smart and easy-to-understand advice on navigating the financial world.
We're going to get really excited about spreadsheets. Just a warning.
Wealthsimple is founded on some core beliefs. First, we believe that our financial lives are too complicated. Second, we believe that when someone or something can make our financial lives simpler, we'll all be a lot happier and better able to achieve our goals. Fourth, we believe that software should be elegant, gorgeous and as perfect as possible. (We didn't skip the third belief — it's about Nobel Prize winning finance theory. But that's another story).
With those core principals in mind, we asked the very people who build our product — the software engineers, finance enthusiasts, technology obsessives, producers, operations gurus — to pick the very best apps. Here are Wealthsimple's choices for budgeting, learning, paying and doing everything else with your money. (If you want to know our choice for investing smarter, here's a clue.)
You Need a Budget (YNAB)
When I meet with someone for a Portfolio Review, they often need help making a budget. And I often point them to You Need a Budget (YNAB). It's easy to use, and they make it easy to dig into the more granular parts of your budget so you can figure out where you could be spending less. It's not just me (I'm admittedly into making budgets) who thinks it's great. My wife loves it, and my brother-in-law is an even bigger fan.
— Mark Sette, Wealthsimple Portfolio Manager
Apple Pay lets you connect a credit card to your thumbprint so that you can pay for everything with the tap of a button. At stores, on websites and in apps — it's becoming ubiquitous, and quickly. This not only saves you from having to manually input your credit card credentials, but also keeps your credit card info out of the hands of vendors. Do you really want that shady airport cab service to have your credit card info on file?
— Mike Giepert, Wealthsimple Executive Creative Director
You collect points already, right? (You don't? Then you should!). Drop lets you link any credit or debit card to their service to earn points on top of your credit card's offerings. They do it by pairing up with companies — for example I earn extra points for each of my Uber rides and Foodora purchases. I already have enough to redeem $100 gift card to Amazon. It's easy and seamless. How many other products can actually say that? Of course I also like it that you can earn Drop points for joining Wealthsimple. It's a Canadian company but it just moved to the States, so here's your chance to be an early adopter!
— Jason Goldlist, Wealthsimple General Manager
A note for the self-employed: If you're your own boss, you're also your own accountant. (It doesn't sound as glamorous to say “I'm my own accountant!” at parties.) And if you're not organized, it's easy to lose track when it comes to managing expenses, making invoices, and praying you saved enough for tax season. QuickBooks is a a necessity for freelancers/side-hustlers. It gives you accounting-level insights without an accounting-level education. QuickBooks will give you a clear look at the health of your operation. Hint: if you're not making money on your side hustle, it's just called a hobby. Not that there's anything wrong with hobbies!
— Andrew Goble, Wealthsimple Editorial Producer
What I love about Mint is that it’s still number one when it comes to all-in-one-place-ness. Like most of us, I have a million accounts — credit cards, bank accounts, investments. And anything that means I don’t have to visit all those websites (and remember all those passwords) is a positive for me. And Mint makes everything not only accessible but visual. I can see the bottom line perfectly.
— Rachael Factor, Wealthsimple Public Relations Manager
(Currently US only; Canadian version in beta)
It’s everything I need to manage the mysterious world of credit. How’s my score? Are there any payments coming due? They have the answer. Credit Karma also provides personalized recommendations about which credit cards to sign up for based on your financial history. There are a million credit cards with a million options — so that help is welcome. They told me, for instance, I'd be best suited to use this specific American Express card, and I’m getting better rewards from it. It’s free, and I’m making money from it — which is a good combination!
— Nick White, Wealthsimple Digital Marketing Director
(Currently US only)
Albert is an app that analyzes your finances and gives you recommendations on spending and saving. It's super easy to link your bank account and credit cards. From there, it gives you a “financial health” score with actionable recommendations on how to improve, like setting up an automatic-deduction savings account or buying a certain type of insurance. Sometimes it’s painful to get notifications from Albert — nobody wants to be reminded about spending hundreds of unnecessary dollars on taxis and food. But I like having a nagging accountant that occasionally shows up on my phone to keep me on track or alert me to things I may not have noticed. And that's how I think of it — I have a personal accountant named Albert.
— Ajay Mehta, Wealthsimple Growth Manager
(Currently US only)
I love the clean design and simple interface of Square Cash. It allows you to instantly send money to anyone. For free! You can also request money from people, which is a great way to settle up with friends after a trip (for example). And unlike other peer-to-peer payment apps, it's completely private.
— Sharman Ordoyne, Wealthsimple Director of Production
(Currently UK only)
One of the worst post-vacation activities is checking my bank statement to see how much I was charged in transaction fees while traveling abroad. Monzo dubs itself “the bank of the future,” and its bright coral bank card makes every other card look like a relic. It works a bit like a prepaid card — the money comes from other affiliated bank accounts — but with real-time tracking and spending recommendations via an app. And there's no international transaction fees. Cherry on top: you can send friends money directly through the app (with all the emojis you could ever want!).
— Claire LaRocca, Wealthsimple Public Relations Manager, UK
Wealthsimple makes smart investing simple and affordable.