You can use your smartphone to improve your personal financial awareness and to become more financially secure.
There are apps that can help you to manage your budget, keep up with business news, improve your fi-nancial literacy and detect scams.
BACK TO BLACK
You can use this budgeting app to set long-term goals and track your spending habits. Make a habit of adding a transaction right into your hand-held device while you are making your purchase. That way there is less chance you'll forget.
The Back to Black app helps you avoid spending more than you earn. You can set monthly spending limits for specific categories such as food, shelter, clothing and transportation. You will know exactly when you have reached your spending limit for the month. If your spending limit is not reasonable, you can modify the limit. Customize your budget to what you would like.
A pie chart shows your spending pattern. Coloured graphs tell you where your money is going each month. You can break down categories into subcategories. Touch the pie graph to see the breakdown.
What if you lose your phone? Do you lose your private information? Your personal financial details are protected by a four-digit pin code. You can also back up your data easily. With one tap you can email a backup to yourself.
The Back to Black app is available for Apple devices, including iPhone, iPod and iPad, from the iTunes app store. Note this app is not available for Android, BlackBerry or Windows Mobile, but there are dozens of other budgeting apps for tracking expenses.
For business news, consider using the Bloomberg or Bloomberg Radio+ apps. Both are free apps. Glance at the news headlines. Click on a story to read. Listen to a Bloomberg Radio report that is being streamed live while you are navigating to the Internet and browsing other websites on your device. You can download reports and later watch video off-line if you don't have access to Wi-Fi.
Do you follow particular stock prices or market indexes? On the Bloomberg Radio+ app, you can personalize the ticker by adding company symbols. Watch the up-to-date information stream across the bottom of your screen.
With the Bloomberg app, you can create a list of individual stocks that you follow regularly. Then, tap on a specific stock name and you can see news headlines related to that stock. Tap on a headline and read the full story.
You can also read Canadian business and personal finance stories on apps from The Star Phoenix, National Post and Globe investor.
The best way to prevent fraud is to recognize a scam when you see it after you've educated yourself on how it works on your Scam Detector app.
Scam Detector is an iPhone app in the App Store. An Android version for smartphones is available on the Google Play Store.
Sorin Mihailovici, an Edmonton-based journalist, was motivated to develop the Scam Detector app when a friend lost his life savings in a Nigerian scam. The app is regularly updated with the newest scams.
CSI GLOSSARY TERMS
If you want to improve your financial vocabulary to be able to read financial news reports, consider installing a free CSI app. Although the Canadian Securities Institute app is designed to promote training courses for financial advisers, the glossary is very useful for you as an investor who wants to learn more about your investments and better understand what your financial adviser is talking about.
The handy glossary tells you what acronyms mean. You can also look up the definitions of many words used in estate and income tax planning.
Terry McBride, a member of Advocis, works with Raymond James Ltd. The views of the author do not necessarily reflect those of RJL. Information is from sources believed reliable but cannot be guaranteed. This is provided for information only.
Securities offered through RJL, a member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund. Insurance services offered through Raymond James Financial Planning Ltd., not a member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund.