Where is your money?
This is a great question. Until we started tracking our money, we really didn’t think about it. Now we think about it all the time! At least I do. And then I nag the DH!
Mrs. Frugalwoods and many others espouse YNAB (You Need a Budget) and / or Personal Capital. Both allow, as does Intuit’s famous software Quicken, and probably many others, access to your personal accounts – passwords are required to download and consolidate information. YNAB allows you to decline such reconciliation, but Personal Capital needs it to put together information for you. Quicken software doesn’t require it, but it does make life easier.
In my opinion NEVER GIVE OUT YOUR PASSWORDS TO YOUR FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS! Somewhere, someone is working toward getting that access. Experts worldwide agree this is a problem. No matter how good the system, it will have an issue somewhere, and good security costs money.
That said, it really is important to know where you put your money. I chose YNAB because it is online, but I don’t have to permit access to my personal accounts to get an idea of what my money is doing – or not doing. Much of what I do is manual, not automated with imports from my bank or brokerage; I do this because it keeps me in touch with things. I also write checks for most of my bills, except the house and car. YNAB keeps me from making adding and subtracting mistakes, and by manually entering data as I get it (i.e. write a check), it keeps me aware. And awareness is the key to knowing what your money is doing.