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The combination of personal computing devices, smart phones and user-friendly software is causing many people to become more active participants in their own financial well-being. Two new easy-to-use apps are among many already established programs that allow us to see our financial activity in real time.

Empower is a recently-released account aggregation and budgeting app that offers a free basic service, or premium service for $4 per month. When you download the app, you’ll connect to all of your checking, savings, investment, and debt accounts. The creators of this app made it simple to track your spending, create a budget, track subscriptions. It even recognizes your recurring payments. Best of all, you can set up “AutoSave” to pay down debt faster or to set money aside in a higher than average-yield savings account. The app can also be used to transfer money between accounts.

The premium Empower service allows you to separate business and personal accounts, and also offers access at any time to chat with a financial expert. The design is not only easy on the eyes, but intuitive.

The other finance app worth considering is Wallit, specifically designed for parents and teens. This app partners with banks, and allows parents and teens to collaborate on savings plans. Parents can monitor their teens’ spending habits and set goals, as well as control allowance payments. What separates this app from others in the same genre is the coordination with existing banks, while similar apps attempt to replace traditional banks.

Since many schools do not teach students about personal finance, Wallit can serve as an educational tool as well. With Wallit, parents and teens can earn, budget, spend, send, and save all in one place. It also allows spending visibility and easy money transfers. For parents, instead of constant requests from teens for money, Wallit allows parents to simply transfer money into a teen’s account, or set up a recurring allowance within which the teen is required to operate.

Once you download Wallit and input all of your accounts, you can track spending habits and quickly see a list of transactions from each account. This is especially helpful if you make purchases using multiple accounts, like credit cards and your checking account.

Although there is a free version, it does not include some of the above-mentioned functionality. But, for $21.99 per year you will access all of the features. This is not the most sophisticated finance app on the market, but that is the point. It is great for beginners and for those who want to teach novice users about saving, budgeting, spending and tracking expenses. 

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