A couple of years ago, I wrote a blog post about how to jumpstart your New Year’s resolutions where I discussed a few ways to keep track of and record the progress of your projects and resolutions. One of the ways I suggested keeping track of things was by installing a few recommended phone apps, or “digital helpers”, as I call them.
At Financial Synergies, our goal is to help you simplify your financial lives. We also want to help you simplify in general, and are happy and honored to be part of your lives as your friends, confidants, and as your financial advisor. As technology is ever-changing, we thought it might be helpful to let you know of some new digital helpers that we are currently using that help us simplify and manage our own personal and financial lives.
Marie’s Favorite Apps
VIP Access by Symantec: I use this app every day to log into my Schwab Alliance website as well as our internal system. What’s great about this app is that it adds a 6-digit encryption code to the end of your password, that refreshes every thirty seconds. The app is smart enough to know that your device is linked to your specific user ID and cannot be used unless it is paired with your user ID. There is a desktop and key-fob version as well, but I prefer the phone app. If you’re interested in adding an additional layer of protection to your Schwab online login, feel free to call Schwab Alliance and they will get you setup in no time (800) 515-2157.
Genius Scan: The days of paper are almost over, and everyone is moving toward storing documents in clouds and keeping digital archives. This is a free app that allows you to take a picture of a document and convert it to PDF. It also does document restoration through imaging, so that crumpled receipt on your desk can get stored in a clean-looking manner. I use the app for document scanning, emailing, and storage.
Open Table: Houston has so many amazing restaurants (I recently read there are over 40,000 of them in the Greater Houston area!). It would be impossible to get to all of them, but Open Table makes it that much easier. The app allows you to search restaurants in your nearby area, see their availability, and make reservations with the restaurant from the click of a button, without having to work out a time with someone over the phone. They also offer perks for booking at specific restaurants.
Mike B.’s Favorite App
Voice Record Pro: Mike often uses this app to record notes and ideas, in professional high-quality sound files. The app allows you to bookmark, title, and tag each post so you can organize them and reference them easily.
Heath’s Favorite Apps
Amazon Music: If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you can use Amazon Music for free. As Heath explains it, the app is very similar to Pandora but there are no commercials and the sound quality is greater.
Google Now: Heath uses the verbal reminders feature of the Google Now app to make sure he’s balancing all of his to-dos. “I can just say something like ‘Remind me to pick up Dawson at gymnastics today after work’, and my phone will take care of the rest. Pretty awesome!”, he said.
Will’s Favorite Apps
Feedly: Will uses Feedly to aggregate all of the investment and financial planning news websites, so that he can get one stream of content, rather than having to go out and search for content. After you bring in the URLs for all of the websites you read, you log into Feedly or setup an email stream that will update you on all of the new content of those sites or topics you setup. You can use it on your desktop, iPad, or phone.
Nikki’s Favorite Apps
Waze: If you’re a commuter, you’ll love this app. Waze is an interactive maps app that allows users to report traffic incidents in real-time, can send you alternate route recommendations based on the road traffic data, and send you alerts to update you throughout your commute. Nikki says it is a life-saver for her commute to and from work.
MyFitnessPal: This is a calorie counter, meal-planning, workout logging, goal-setting, and step-counter app. The app allows you to connect with your friends to help promote camaraderie and empower each other to attain your goals. Nikki uses it every day, with the exception of this week because she was celebrating her 32nd birthday!
Candace’s Favorite Apps
Apple Notes: Candace says “I love the simplicity and I write everything in there: ideas, grocery lists, bill due dates, passwords, recommendations of places to go, etc.” The app looks like a yellow legal pad or post-it note, and you can type or verbalize content to add to the notes. You can email them to others, save them as PDFs, and more.
Yelp: You can view and use Yelp via the web or phone app. This is a community-based forum where users review places they have been, whether it’s a restaurant, car repair place, salon, you name it. It’s also great to use if you’re in a new place or on vacation and are looking for a good place to go to eat, a grocery, or even a doctor. Candace likes to read the user reviews of the places as well as leave her own reviews.
Do you have an app that you use daily/weekly that makes it easier for you to drive to work, conduct business, reminders, emails, etc? If so, feel free to email us and share how you use it and what you love about it.
If you have any questions about any of the apps we’ve discussed today, or need help installing and using them, feel free to give us a call or email us.