Financial budgeting tools have become simpler to use and richer in functionality over the last few years.
And a few of the biggest players in the online money world are making upgrades for 2016, giving you fewer reasons not to get organized.
Quicken inches toward Mac compatibility. After a widely panned Mac version last year, Quicken launched a Mac version for 2016 that lets users pay bills directly from the program, transfer money between accounts and call for support or live-chat with a representative.
Thinking about downsizing to a lower-cost area in retirement? A feature expected in the first quarter of 2016 from advisory firm Personal Capital will let users model such a move to see how it will affect their overall retirement success rate, said Jim Del Favero, chief product officer for the company, which offers a blend of live and online financial advice.
The company will also add a feature to its site currently available for iPhone that alerts users when they reach preset spending limits, he said. Similar to weight-loss programs that give dieters a certain amount of calories per day or week to “spend,” the feature will alert users when they are exceeding targets.
“The alerts help you see in June if you’re on track to go over budget by the end of the year, so there is time to correct,” Del Favero said.
Betterment has launched a new tax-planning feature called Tax Impact Preview, which estimates the tax hit of a transaction before the sale is made. The company also added a feature that links customers’ outside accounts onto the site, said Alex Benke, director of advice products for Betterment.
In addition, if you’re beginning to calculate a strategy for collecting Social Security benefits, be sure the software you use has been updated to reflect several new cutbacks to the program that were called for in the recent congressional budget deal.
Under the new rules, the ability to file a so-called restricted application and to collect spousal benefits on a voluntarily suspended benefit are being phased out, significantly affecting the lifetime Social Security payout for many couples.
The Social Security Administration had not yet issued guidance on the new rules, but some data providers are already updating their software to adjust retirement income projections based on the changes.
Janet Kidd Stewart writes for the Chicago Tribune.