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HelloWallet.com Review 2017. Is Hello Wallet Safe?


2017 HelloWallet.com review: Morningstar finance, budgeting account pros and cons, complaints, and fees. Is Hello Wallet secure to use? HelloWallet vs Mint vs YNAB. Is Hello Wallet safe and free?



What is HelloWallet.com?


Hello Wallet is a comprehensive personal finance tool owned by Morningstar, Inc. It gives the user insight into their daily spending habits and helps them plan for the future.


Setting Up an Account


Creating an account is straight forward but linking all the financial institutions to Hello Wallet takes a bit of time. For each institution to be added credentials needed to be entered into HelloWallet and go through the two factor authentication process (usually sending a text message or email to the account on file and enter in the code). For the larger banks this process works the first time but for the smaller credit unions or more obscure investment companies it can take a few attempts to get the timing right for the verification to go through.


Dashboard


One of the biggest draws of financial planning tools like Mint or HelloWallet is the ability to see a snapshot of all financial accounts without logging into each individual website. Every time someone opens the HelloWallet webpage or phone app it pulls the latest balances and transactions from all the linked accounts. The totals for assets and liabilities can easily be seen all in one place.


Track My Budget


Web-based financial tools try to making budgeting easier. Monitoring all transactions, categorizing them as they come in and adding up budget totals is what makes budgeting such a drag right? HelloWallet and other similar services like Mint take some of the load off by automatically assigning categories to transactions. But effectively setting up and managing a budget still requires hands-on work.

HelloWallet’s budgeting feature does make the planning and tracking process as easy and automated as it can be. If the application is linked with the user’s employer it will know gross salary, withholding status and therefore monthly take home. HelloWallet will try to guess how much of each category to budget for by looking at transactions from previous months. Then the allocations can be changed to fit what the user expects to spend and the amount that will be left goes into savings or for paying down debt.

This method of accounting for every dollar in a paycheck can be very eye opening when the budget is first set up. HelloWallet displays a pie chart with a slice for each of the categories: Retirement (contributions), Deductions (includes income tax), Bills, Regular Expenses and Savings. The user is able to edit the amount allocated to Regular Expenses by increasing the budget for a category, like Bars and Restaurants, and visually see how it affects the amount left over.


HelloWallet.com Review


Financial Wellness Score


HelloWallet is offered by employers to their employees as a financial wellness benefit. The service is packaged as a tool that will help them fix or monitor their finances, but how do they do this? HelloWallet goes beyond just the amount in a savings account to assess financial wellbeing. Investments are tracked, insurance policies evaluated, debt-to-income ratio is calculated. HelloWallet also watches whether the user pays off credit cards every month or are carrying a balance. Based on age and income, HelloWallet compares performance across many areas to similar users to provide a “Financial Wellness Score.”

Personalized guidance and help is available through the website to improve Financial Wellness Scores.


HelloWallet Review


Guidance and Calculators


With all the data it is gradually gathering about linked accounts and the user’s spending habits HelloWallet offers tailored guidance on how to improve the user’s overall financial wellbeing. Guidance is given in occasional notifications but the most valuable advice comes when a user creates a new goal.

It is one thing to just tell a person to save more or spend less. Instead, HelloWallet lays out a step-by-step view of the user’s finances to set up a plan that is sustainable. HelloWallet’s recommendations are based on research into behavioral sciences. A roadmap is created that shows what has been accomplished so far and what the next steps should be. Reminders are set up to ensure the user follows through on the recommended actions.

There are also very thorough calculators offered on the website. While so many personal finance calculators make hidden assumptions or only apply to certain situations, HelloWallet’s tools are very customizable and guide the user through best financial practice.


HelloWallet vs Mint vs YNAB (You Need A Budget)


In a few ways HelloWallet is comparable to the free and popular Mint web application but it goes beyond Mint’s (read review) basic features. Mint, which is owned by Inuit, has many similar features mainly its ability to compile all financial accounts and automatically sort transactions into budget categories. HelloWallet and Mint manage this equally well and this forms the foundation of what their budgeting capabilities are built on. But beyond that, Mint provides its users with a limiting budgeting capability compared to HelloWallet. HelloWallet’s tools, features and guidance outshine Mint by far, demonstrating the difference between a paid and free application.

You Need A Budget is another paid application but it only focuses on budgeting. It allows the user a lot of flexibility in setting up a robust budget but does not delve into the other aspects of personal finance like HelloWallet.

Pros


  • Robust, easy to use budgeting
  • Many features for financial planning
  • Links directly with income information from employer
  • Easy to use Android or iPhone app


Cons


  • Takes some learning to get used to the interface and find all the capabilities
  • Requires 1-2 months of monitoring transaction categories to check accuracy


HelloWallet Review Summary


HelloWallet is one of the most inclusive financial planning services available. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to personal finance planning but HelloWallet’s tools and features are flexible enough to provide guidance on anyone’s finances.


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