Need money advice? Go online

21st January 2013

Want to calculate your equated monthly instalment when the interest rates go up, say, 50 basis points? Go the online way. There are a number of websites, offering help and services, both paid and free, to individuals. There are also blogs and sites, offering views, tips, product analysis and market overviews.

Also available are sites that provide you basic spreadsheet software and calculators. Here, one would have to feed the parameters and the financial details in a non-automated way, each time. And, of course, the paid ones tender advice too, based on the numbers. Explains V R Govindarajan, co-founder and director, Perfios, a personal finance online site, “Either people don’t manage their finances at all, or the affluent ones have an accountant do it. Some who try managing their personal finance use spreadsheets. However, this is not a very easy task. Hence, the need for such sites.”

These sites typically target people within the Rs 5-10 lakh an annum salary bracket. Govindarajan feels those within the 25-40 age group would benefit the most from such tools.

There are a host of services on offer, like portfolio management and e-filing softwares. Other softwares available pertain to equity, loans, bank accounts, insurance, investments and credit cards. Given their rising popularity, a large number of sites are providing these. For instance, there is the money manager, being offered by Intuit, Perfios and Artha. “Intuit is the major player in this space and has plenty of funding. Perfios is the other big player, apart from us. There are three to four other sites, too, but they are much smaller,” says Rahul Majumdar, director, all channels, Artha Money

Inutit money manager, for example, offers expense analysis, budgeting tools, bank account statements, loan and credit card payment management and reminders and alerts to help manage your finances.

Majumdar says, “The services we offer revolve primarily around setting budgets, monitoring spends and providing a financial calendar that tells the withdrawn amount from an ATM. Spend analysis and budgeting, as opposed to managing an equity portfolio, is our expertise. We also offer portfolio management, but our focus remains on spending and personal expense management.”

What makes these tools useful is that they are automated. So, there is minimal wastage of time in managing your finances. Also, the data, once entered, is securely stored and easily accessible.

There are also add-on features, which help generate e-filing returns, balance sheets, and also statements, right down to the transaction level. However, for value-added services, like advice, analysis, ITR filing, etc, there are two premium versions, available at Rs 500 and Rs 1,500 annually, at Perfios. Intuit money manager, however, would cost you Rs 1 per day or Rs 365 per year.

While Perfios sees a lot of financial planners and chartered accounts using its software for back office needs, Artha Money, on the other hand, hopes to replace the financial planner himself.

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