Money at 30: How I Keep Track of All My Banking Accounts
As I’ve lamented before, being a reviewer of FinTech apps and other offerings, I have far too many banking accounts. Granted, with yet another tool I’ve reviewed recently announcing its shutdown, occasionally my list starts to dwindle. And, yet, there’s always another new account I find to take its place. Knowing about my dilemma, friends of mine have often asked how I keep track of all of these accounts. After all, if such tips and tricks can help someone like me who’s overloaded, then they must do the job for those with a reasonable number of financial accounts to keep tabs on. With that in mind, here are some of my favorite options.
A Google doc
Let me start simple and share my “backup plan” of sorts. When I create a new account, the first thing I do is add it to a Google Doc I keep. While I don’t have this document shared, I don’t put any actual account info on it, lest I give some bad actor a perfectly wrapped gift to open at my expense. Instead, I simply put the name of the bank/app and what type of account it is (savings, checking, credit, brokerage, etc.).
Basically, this document is just there to help me make sure I don’t somehow forget about an account I have (yes, this has nearly happened). More recently, I’ve also found it helpful to add statement cycle dates for my credit cards, since that list keeps growing as well. Although this Google Doc doesn’t have all of the details that the other tools I’ll spotlight do, it’s an easy-to-create and simple-to-share solution that helps me and my wife stay on top of where we have money.
Today, there is certainly no shortage of account aggregation tools out there. Nevertheless, Personal Capital has remained one of my favorites. There are several reasons for that — but, most of all, I just like the layout of the platform. That’s why this is another one of the first places I go when I open a new account.
Unlike with the Google Doc, using Personal Capital, I can also see what the current balances are of my various accounts…some of the time. Since I’m often reviewing newer applications and accounts, they aren’t always linkable via Personal Capital. The good news is that, in these cases, I can manually add an account and a balance. As an added bonus, doing so also helps keep my net worth total in Personal Capital close to correct.
By the way, in addition to Personal Capital, there are a few other aggregation tools that might work for you. Of course there’s the ever-popular Mint as well as the increasingly-popular Rocket Money (formerly TrueBill — and a review is coming, by the way). Each of these options has its own pros and cons but, if what you really care about is just monitoring all of your accounts in one place, nearly all will suffice.
iPhone app folder
Since I mostly use my phone to access the majority of my accounts, I’ve taken to creating a folder for all of these apps. Again, this helps me from forgetting about certain accounts I have — even if my iPhone decides to offload an app, which often happens to me. Truth be told, I actually have two folders for my finance apps: one for apps to review and another for accounts I’ve already covered but need to monitor for updates.
By the way, Apple may attempt to automatically lump all of your apps together for you into a folder titled “Finance” or something similar. Despite this, I’d still recommend creating your own additional folder for a couple of reasons. First, this will ensure that whatever filter iOS uses doesn’t miss anything. Also, on the opposite side of things, that broad description may mean a folder cluttered with apps that don’t quite fit the criteria you’re looking for (for example, I don’t really need my Geico insurance app in with my banking accounts).
Not that I’d recommend having dozens of banking accounts… but, should you find yourself struggling to keep up on all of the financial accounts you have, there are a few things I’ve found helpful. Beyond dedicated apps like Personal Capital or Mint, simple tools such as Google Docs and proper iPhone folder configuration have been surprisingly effective for me. Here’s hoping the story’s the same for you!
Also published on Medium.