I'm often asked which personal finance software is the best. I strongly recommend YNAB 4, the system I personally use. It is by far the best budgeting system on the market. The software is fantastic and the methodology is extremely effective. You can read the review or Try YNAB 4 with a FREE 34-Day Trial!
Rudder is fairly new on the personal finance software circuit, apparent through a whole slew of Google AdWords (they keep popping up in my gmail account). The idea is basically to have your finances done for you, where all you do is get a daily email (one every morning) to tell you how things are going.
*UPDATE: Rudder shut down their product and is no longer offering their services. You can go to the Rudder website to see their explanation.
The Rudder Interface
The Rudder interface is clean and simple. Sometimes I feel like it’s a bit too simple because I don’t know where to find things…. here’s a quick walk through setting up:
You only have two basic navigational settings: 1) Overview and 2) Settings. You find out quickly that the Settings section is the same as the walk through at startup. I found this confusing at first.
The main interface, the Overview, is extremely simple. You can see your account balances, an activity feed (which you can’t edit), upcoming bills, and What’s Left. What’s Left is basically what you have in your account less your planned income, expenses and credit card payments. What’s left (no pun intended) unclear is whether it accounts for your credit card payment as paid in full or if it looks at your required minimum. If it’s the latter then I think that’s a pretty bad thing, promoting more cash available than there really should be (if you care at all about paying off your cards.
Rudder’s Daily Email
Each morning, since I signed up for Rudder, I’ve received the following email in my inbox:
A click, I open it, and voila, I have my finances for the morning.
The thing is, I now actually filter this email so I don’t see it every morning. Why? Well for one reason it really had a hard time with my bank, Wells Fargo. So it kept telling me there was no activity when I knew darn well I had spent some money.
The second reason I no longer open the email? It’s just not adding value to me from a personal finance perspective. Where there’s no value, I quickly (very quickly) lose interest. I’m still struggling to see what the true value is in having an email sent to you every morning telling where you just spent your money. That’s what you’re likely to remember anyway!
(Note: you can tell rudder to email you never, daily, weekly, or monthly. If you say never, then why the heck are you signing up for the company that claims to be your finances “in your inbox”?)
I’d rather have something shock me when reaching for my wallet to buy something I don’t need…an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, no?
Some Things I Don’t Like About Rudder
You can’t edit a bill. You have to delete it and re-do it. Come on! Is not this pretty much a standard? If you can create something, you darn well better be able to edit it.
Zero reporting. What I’ve described above is exactly what you get. I’m sure they’ll build out more features as they go along.
Nothing new to offer. There are dozens of other apps that offer what Rudder does, and much more. Alerts are nothing new at all. I think they jumped on the personal finance web 2.0 bandwagon a little early and this is the result. Shiny-ness, a clean interface, but nothing truly value-added.
What do I Like About Rudder?
It’s free. I won’t say you get what you pay for here because that would be cliché.