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Do you ever find yourself wishing you had a personal financial advisor? Someone to help you get your finances in order and keep you on track with your day to day expenses in order to help you achieve your big-picture financial goals? Well, you’re in luck, because PocketSmith does that and more, and you can access the basic features without paying a cent. Sound interesting? Read our review of the PocketSmith app to learn more and find out if it’s a good fit for you!
What is PocketSmith
PocketSmith is an app created in June 2008 by Jason Leong, James Wigglesworth, and Francois Bondigue, which aims to provide the experience of having a “time machine in your pocket”, giving users a look into the future of their finances based on their financial decisions.
The app uses an event-based calendar system modelled after Google calendar to provide a wealth of useful financial services. It is designed to help its users see the bigger picture of their spending habits, savings, and expenses, as well as providing unique predictive tools to help them make informed decisions related to their financial situations.
How Does PocketSmith Work
PocketSmith works much like any other budgeting app, with a few key features that really set it apart.
When you set up the app you will import your finance and transaction history either manually or by linking your preferred accounts. PocketSmith will take this information and create a detailed expense report and basic budget, which you can refine as you see fit.
What really makes PocketSmith unique is its ability to take that budget and any financial decisions you enter, to provide you with a projection on your finances with a range between six months and 30 years—giving you a better idea of where you’ll be and how your choices affect that.
You can tweak your budget and test various financial scenarios to see alternate projections and help you make decisions that are right for you and your money long term.
Additionally, the PocketSmith app provides users with an easy to read calendar featuring all of their upcoming bills and payments, colour-coded by category for clarity.
How Does PocketSmith Make Money
While PocketSmith does offer a Basic tier for free, the app makes its money through the higher-end paid subscription tiers, which range in cost from $7.50 to $19.95 depending on the level of service and subscription plan you select.
Streamlined Set Up
PocketSmith comes with built-in integration for more than 12,000 banks and other financial institutions worldwide, which makes importing your finances a breeze.
Navigate and Organize Your Transaction History With Ease
PocketSmith allows you to organize, categorize, and label your transactions to help you get a better idea of where your money is going. It also enables you to quickly identify areas where you might be overspending, or discover trends in your financial data. You can find what you’re looking for regardless of the time period using their built-in search functionality.
PocketSmith’s budget calendar helps users find and track their recurring expenses, providing a clean and easy to read colour-coded overview of your upcoming bills.
Automatic Currency Conversion
PocketSmith allows you to keep track of your accounts across multiple countries and provides automatic currency conversion based on the most up-to-date rates each day.
Create and alter custom budgets on various time frames to suit your needs and financial goals. With the paid subscription tiers, you can even create multiple budgets, allowing you to make a weekly and monthly budget, or multiple versions of your budget to compare and see which suits you best.
Long Term Financial Projections
PocketSmith enables you to see the consequences and outcomes of the financial decisions you are making right now up to 30 years in the future, depending on your subscription level. This feature is incredibly helpful when you are facing a major financial decision, as it allows you test out all of your options and see the possible outcomes, helping you to make a more informed choice with just a few clicks.
Financial Summary At a Glance
PocketSmith provides you with a detailed financial dashboard that offers you an overview of all your key financial information at a glance. The dashboard also gives you one-click access to different areas of the app and your finances, allowing for quick navigation.
Pros of PocketSmith
PocketSmith comes with a ton of helpful features to help you get a better handle on your financial situation, now and in the future. The app allows you to view and organize the transactions in your financial history, create multiple budgets, test various financial scenarios, and view detailed short and long term financial projections, among other things.
Easy to Use
PocketSmith is easy to get started with and simple to navigate. Whether you choose to automatically import your transactions or add them into the app manually, it won’t take you long to get up and running, and from there things only get easier.
The app’s comprehensive financial dashboard provides you with a great home base and allows you to quickly navigate to other sections for more detailed information on specific areas of your finances.
When you use PocketSmith, you can rest easy knowing that all your data and sensitive financial information is kept private and secure. The app uses two factor authentication to verify every log in and allows you to share access with authorized third parties without sharing your login credentials.
Cons of PocketSmith
The biggest downside of PocketSmith is its cost. The app is considerably more expensive than comparable services and only allows access through a tiered subscription-based model.
While there is a basic tier available for free, it limits your access to most of the features that make PocketSmith worth using, forcing you to manually add all of your own financial data and only allowing you to create six month projections.
The app does offer discounted rates on its services, but only if you commit to paying for the full year at once, which leaves you with a sizable upfront cost and isn’t a great option if you are just getting started with the app and aren’t sure if it’s a good fit for your needs.
Who is PocketSmith Best Suited For?
Those Who Like to Plan Ahead
If you are someone who does your financial planning a few months at a time and carefully weighs the future impact of your financial decisions, PocketSmith would be a great fit for you. The app’s built-in financial projection feature takes the work and worry out of your budget, and allows you to test multiple scenarios so you can easily see the decision that is right for you, without breaking out a calculator and figuring out all the scenarios by hand.
The calendar feature is also great for financial planning by giving users a clear overview of their upcoming and recurring expenses, month by month, in an easy-to-read calendar format.
People Who Need a Little Help Staying on Track
If you are the kind of person who struggles to stick to your budget and meet your financial goals, you could also benefit from PocketSmith and its long term financial projections, as you’ll be able to see the impact and end result of your overspending.
Basic use of PocketSmith is available for free without a subscription. At this level you’ll be able to create as many as 12 budgets using two accounts, but you’ll have to import all of your financial data by hand. Even without paying, you’ll be able to view six month projections based on your budget and financial decisions, which will give you a decent view of the impact of your choices in the short term.
If you want something a little more comprehensive, the Premium subscription starts at $9.95 per month, or a discounted rate of $7.50 if you pay for the entire year upfront. At this tier you’ll get the option to automatically import all of your past transactions, in addition to creating automatic bank fees and having your transactions automatically categorized to make them easier to review.
You still have the ability to manually add or categorize all of your information as well, so you can make changes where you need to. You’ll also be able to create unlimited budgets for a maximum of ten accounts, and get custom financial projections for up to ten years in the future, which gives you a significant insight into your potential financial future and gives you a lot of data to use when testing various decisions and situations.
If that’s still not enough and you want as much help as you can get, upgrade to the Super subscription for a monthly fee of $19.95 or the discounted rate of $14.16 if you opt for the full year subscription.
The Super subscription level will offer you everything from the Basic and Premium tiers, but it allows you to add an unlimited number of accounts and gives you custom financial projections up to thirty years in the future. With that much data, you can really plan ahead and see how things like getting a mortgage could affect your plans for retirement.
Is PocketSmith Safe?
You can trust PocketSmith with your sensitive account and financial information, the app and its databases are extremely secure and offer you a number of features that help keep your data safe and private in your day-to-day use.
Two Factor Authentication
PocketSmith requires two factor authentication on all of its user accounts, so you can rest assured that your sensitive financial data is secure.
Every time you access your PocketSmith account, you’ll need to provide your password as well as a secondary form of identity verification that you select, for example, a code sent directly to your phone.
This means that even if someone were to have your password, they wouldn’t be able to gain access to your account, giving you extra protection against fraud and identity theft.
Secure Sharing Options
Having your account secured by two factor authentication doesn’t mean you can’t share your data should you need or choose to. PocketSmith also provides you with a safe and secure way to share your data with trusted third parties, such as your spouse, other budgeting services, or your actual financial advisor.
While PocketSmith is a great budgeting app, there is no service that is one size fits all. If you are just looking to get started with budgeting or take your financial planning to the next level, you might find one of these alternatives to be a better fit.
If you have any experience with budgeting apps, or you’ve done even five minutes of research online, you’ve probably already heard of Mint. Mint is one of the original and the best budgeting apps available, it has a huge following and a lot of happy users because it makes budgeting a breeze, even for those without any experience, and better yet, it’s free.
The app connects to your banking and credit accounts, tracking and categorizing your expenses automatically, and creating a budget out of your data to help you meet your financial goals.
It also comes with a ton of extremely helpful features that really help increase its usability, like recurring or one-time payment reminders for all of your bills, email and in-app alerts for over budget or unusual spending. You can even sign up to receive custom tips and product recommendations based on your finances, lifestyle, and goals.
Mint is also incredibly secure, with multi-factor authentication, security scanning from VeriSign, multi-layered encryption, and additional pin protection on its mobile app, among other features.
You Need A Budget
You Need A Budget, or YNAB for short, is another tried and true budgeting app with a huge following of satisfied users who swear by it. The company provides a number of video tutorials to help you make the most of the app and get started with budgeting.
YNAB makes it easy to collaboratively budget with your partner or as a household with real-time updates across all your devices and the option to add multiple users to an account without paying for an extra subscription.
It also provides regular reports to help you monitor your progress, and allows you to set specific goals and track them.
The app is extremely secure, using multi-factor authentication and top notch security protocols to keep your information safe and private.
Unlike Mint, only the first month is free, but the monthly subscription fee is only $7 for full access to the app and all of its features. When you consider that the average YNAB subscriber saves $600 in just the first two months of using the app, the cost is negligible, especially since you can cancel at any time.
PocketSmith Review Summary: Pros and Cons
PocketSmith is a great app that goes above and beyond the standard budgeting fare and gives you significant insight into your financial decision and their potential impact over various time periods.
It can be incredibly useful, especially if you are the kind of person who needs to be able to plan ahead with their budget, however, the app comes with a pretty significant subscription fee if you want access to all of its features.
If you don’t intend to pay for a subscription, or you don’t see yourself weighing decisions, modifying your budget through the app’s financial projections tool, or benefitting from the calendar feature—you might be better off using one of its competitors which focus specifically on budgeting for a much lower cost.
PocketSmith stands as a solid competitor against other popular budgeting apps like You Need A Budget and Mint, but it’s high price point makes it a less appealing option for a lot of budgeters.
The biggest perks of the app are its decision testing and financial projection features, so if you don’t see yourself making much use of them, or you don’t intend to pay for a subscription, you might be better off going with one of the alternatives.
There’s no harm in giving PocketSmith a try, even though the free basic tier has limited access to most of the features that set the app apart, it can still give you an idea if one of the paid subscriptions might be worth the cost for you.
Ricardo is an entrepreneur, investor and personal finance nerd who enjoys spending time with his family and friends, travelling and helping others achieve their financial goals. Ricardo has been quoted as a personal finance expert in several online publications including Healthline, Bankrate, GOBankingRates, MSN Money, Yahoo Finance, U.S. News & World Report, Forbes and USA Today.