NerdWallet is a personal finance site that provides tools and resources to help consumers make financial decisions. Their new mobile app, simply called NerdWallet, allows anyone with an iPhone to ask financial questions about any subject and get in-depth, one-on-one help for free from their in-house financial experts. We recently reviewed the app as part of our series highlighting the best budget apps of 2016-2017.
What I Liked
It’s a real person providing information tailored to the question(s) you have. And just as there are times in your life when you need a handyman rather than a general contractor, sometimes you need a quick answer to a general personal finance question, rather than a full-blown relationship with an investment company.
There’s no cost to download and use the app, and in my experience there was never a sales pitch. When you create an account, you answer a short list of questions so they have an idea of what stage of your financial life you are in. My first question was about my 401(k)s from two previous employers, and if I should combine them or leave them be. My second question was about how much I should set aside quarterly for income taxes as a self-employed individual whose monthly income varies widely. The tax question was well answered and included links for more information. The 401(k) answer was more generic.
Hmmm, Not So Much
The app’s advisors operate Mon-Fri 9 a.m.-5 p.m. PT, and I’m on the East Coast, meaning that in the middle of a conversation I would suddenly receive their canned reply that they had all gone to bed. Additionally, as the conversation proceeds, it can turn into a lot of typing on your mobile device.
What Others are Saying
The app was just released so we used a beta version for testing. NerdWallet says it created the app after identifying a need among its customer base to have a human help them make the best financial decisions. With this app, you can carry your financial advisor with you in your pocket, NerdWallet says.
Anyone who has a general question about personal finance. No burning questions in mind? Try it anyway: They have a great list of ‘starter’ questions, ranging from “How do I build an emergency fund?” to “What should I do with my 401(k) from my previous job?” From there you can easily move on to more complicated issues and, better still, do it in your own time.
One major benefit of the app is that the advisors are either certified financial planners or those who have passed the Series 65 exam, which is the Uniform Investment Adviser Law Examination. This should provide a sense of security that answers are focused on consumer need, not products and services. That said, NerdWallet does receive compensation from its advertisers, like this site does. But also like us at Get Rich Slowly, NerdWallet pledges that all reviews and recommendations are made independently, without oversight or endorsement from the companies mentioned. [Editor’s note: See below for our disclosure about this review and our compensation. The article was not reviewed by NerdWallet.]
Not Good For…
The NerdWallet app may not be ideal for consumers who have very specific or very complicated financial advice needs. This is more for the beginner than the established investor. Likewise, if you really dislike texting, this might not be the right interface for you.
Financial advice (Free to download from the app store)
The app is free to download from the app store and compatible with iPhones. Requires iOS 9.0 or later. Currently not available for Android. NerdWallet says the conversations are encrypted for security.
8 out of 10
NerdWallet paid Get Rich Slowly to review this product. The author’s opinions are her own.
About this series:
Welcome to a new weekly series where we test drive savings and budgeting apps so you can quickly find the tool that works for you. Want to join us by sharing an unbiased review or by adding your thoughts to an existing one? To share your first-person experience, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Read all budget app reviews here.
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This article is about App Reviews 2016