If you have money goals, there's a good chance you already understand the importance of knowing what you spend and knowing what you save. But managing your money–and all those spreadsheets–can get complicated! Monarch Money can help. In our Monarch Money review, we'll share our favorite aspects of this tool and how it stacks up to its competitors.
Who is Monarch Money?
It's more than just a budgeting app. Monarch Money is a personal finance tool that is designed to help you tackle modern money management. From your fully customizable dashboard, you can use Monarch Money to build a budget, review spending, and keep track of your investments. You can even get financial advice!
Some features that Monarch Money highlights on its website include:
- Net worth syncing – See all your accounts in one place.
- Recurring transactions – Keep tabs on recurring transactions all year.
- Spending insights – Track spending across your accounts and see your savings rate.
- Advice – Access custom advice from experts.
- Transaction lists – See all of your transactions in a single feed.
- Budgeting – Customize your budget to stay on track with your goals.
- Investments – Get an in-depth look at your portfolio.
- Custom dashboard – Tailor your dashboard to see what info you want.
- Financial goals – Get clear on goals like saving for retirement.
- Collaboration – Allow other users to add to your dashboard.
Monarch Money is both web-based and an app. (iOS and Android). It is currently available in the App Store and on Google Play.
Monarch Money Review: Best Features
There are a lot of features that we love about Monarch Money. Here are the top reasons why we think this fintech tool will shine for its users:
Complete Financial Overview
Do you find yourself getting frustrated keeping track of all the different money tools you use? You've got a high-yield savings account. Then, there are credit cards. Plus, a budgeting app. But don't forget your investments either!
And if you have a spouse, well, money dates can be challenging enough without having to go on a scavenger hunt for your complete financial picture.
That's the beauty of Monarch Money. It puts a complete financial snapshot at your fingertips. You can also easily add members of your household to Monarch as well. That way, you and your partner can get on the same page with your finances–whether you've combined all of your accounts or not.
I could spend forever in different spreadsheets, but I can't say the same for my wife. So anytime we find a financial tool that streamlines the process, we both get pretty excited!
There's a good chance that you've tried out a few different budget apps. Maybe you've taken a scroll through the app store, or perhaps you've searched the list of our favorites. One thing that really stands out about Monarch Money is its commitment to being ad-free.
That means there are no annoying pop-ups and no distracting sidebars. We know that ads don't bother everyone. But if you're someone who finds them distracting–or you find yourself clicking off the app and spending money!–you will appreciate the fact that there are no advertisements on Monarch Money.
Another way that many fintech companies make their money is by recommending products or selling them outright. Monarch Money does neither. That means there's no phone call to dodge once your net worth hits a certain threshold and no recommendations for products that you may or may not actually need.
Another thing we love about Monarch money is that it's made with couples in mind. You can invite other household members! They get their own login but have access to your household financial picture.
We know that no two couples manage their money the same, and so does Monarch Money. That's why they give users the option to choose which accounts and transactions are added to the shared household data.
Monarch Money wants to work for you. That's why you can make unlimited customizations to the app. The dashboard features 8 categories as a default:
- Getting started guide
- Net worth
- Monthly spending
- Recent transactions
The getting started guide is meant to empower new users. As a result, it goes away once you finish the walk-through. As for the other categories, you can reorder…or remove them completely. To do so, you simply do a quick toggle. This allows you to reinstate a category that you've removed if and when you want to.
You can also create custom categories. Categories function like containers that hold similar transactions. The default setup includes commonly used categories, but you are able to input your own. Plus, you can tweak the existing names or add emojis as subtle ways to make your money management truly your own.
Monarch Money Review: Areas for Improvement
While we think that Monarch Money offers a lot of perks that we haven't seen from other money platforms, it isn't perfect.
Here are the areas that we think Monarch might need to improve in the future:
Many people who are focused on their finances are also very frugal. Said another way, they want things to be free! If you can't stomach paying for a financial tool, you are going to have a hard time with Monarch Money.
In our opinion, though, the Monarch platform is so robust and the advice is so solid, the fee is worth it. Plus, you don't have to battle any annoying (or worse, tempting!) ads, and you can count on them to not sell your data. Paid services do have their perks!
They also currently offer a free 7-day trial so you can take the tool for a test drive before paying.
Limited Options for Crypto Owners
If you buy, sell, or trade cryptocurrency, Monarch Money might not be as much of a one-stop shop for you as it is for traditional investors. Currently, Monarch Money only syncs with Coinbase. That means that you might have to manage that piece of your financial picture separately.
No Credit Score Monitoring
For a platform that bills itself as an all-in-one money snapshot one thing that may surprise you is that you can't monitor your credit score with Monarch. Of course, with so many credit cards and other platforms offering this service, it's not a huge deal breaker. However, this gap is certainly something we would anticipate them filling sooner rather than later.
Monarch Money Competitors
Monarch Money certainly isn't the only financial management tool in the game. No Monarch Money review would be complete without acknowledging the many contenders in the fintech space.
Let's see how Monarch stacks up against some of the perennial favorites like Empower, Mint, and YNAB.
Empower vs Monarch Money
Empower is beloved by the financial independence early retirement crowd partly because of how many free tools it offers and partly because of how thoroughly it projects your financial picture. One thing that Empower is a bit infamous for is their sales pitch phone call that pops up after your net worth crosses $100k in assets.
For anyone who is phone-phobic, Monarch Money could win you over solely on that! There's no upsell or advertising with Monarch Money because it comes with a small monthly fee.
Additionally, Monarch Money has four calculators that we think the FIRE crowd would really love. These calculators include:
- Financial Health Calculator (We especially love this one!)
- Mortgage Calculator
- Debt Paydown Calculator
- Retirement Calculator
You can use these calculators (and get results!) without signing up for the paid version of Empower.
Find out more about Empower with our full Empower review here.
Mint vs Monarch Money
Mint is another long-time money management favorite. It's often billed as the best free budgeting tool around.
If you want an uber-affordable app that is dedicated to budgeting, you can't really go wrong with Mint. Mint allows you to sync your bank accounts, track your spending, and set up alerts. It also offers a credit monitoring service (Monarch Money currently does not).
However, if you want something that helps you see your total financial picture–or you don't like ads–you should give Monarch Money a try.
And if you want to see how the two stack up in more detail, take a peek at our Monarch Money vs Mint review.
YNAB vs Monarch Money
It's no secret that YNAB has legions of dedicated users. And they've saved those users a ton of money over time!
However, one thing that even the most dedicated YNAB-er will say is that there is a learning curve when it comes to using the tool. This learning curve causes some users to look elsewhere. Many of which have found more success with Monarch Money.
In addition to prioritizing an intuitive experience, Monarch Money also does a bit more than YNAB. Budgeting is the bread and butter of YNAB. However, Monarch Money wants to be a total money management platform. So if you are looking to focus primarily on your money goals and how to spend and save for them, YNAB might be the right tool for you.
But if you are looking to get an overall snapshot of your financial health and custom advice, Monarch Money might be more what you need.
Monarch Money FAQ
With so many different options for financial tools, it's no surprise that people have questions about Monarch Money. After rounding up the most popular questions, we dug in for answers.
Find out if Monarch Money is actually legit and so much more in our Monarch Money FAQ.
Is Monarch Money legit?
Yes! Monarch Money is a legit website. In addition to having a really solid team of founders and developers, Monarch Money also prioritizes user security.
One of the top ways that they keep your finances safe is by using read-only data. That means that Monarch Money can see your spending habits and can keep an eye on your investments. It can't, however, move any money within your account or from one account to another.
Monarch Money also uses bank-level security and encryption to keep your information secure.
Another way to know that Monarch Money is legit is to check out its reviews in the App Store or on Google Play. Currently, Monarch has a 4.8-star rating for iOs and 4.6 for Android.
Who owns Monarch Money?
Val Agostino, Jon Sutherland, and Ozzie Osman are the Monarch Money co-founders. These startup veterans have a wide-ranging background, giving them the experience needed to solve money management problems and create a powerful user experience at the same time.
Since its creation in 2020, Monarch Money has been backed by angel investors, as well as Accel and Signal Fire.
What does Monarch Money cost?
Monarch Money offers two different ways to pay. You can pay each month or you can pay an annual fee. By paying annually, you save over 40%.
- Monthly cost: $14.99
- Annual cost: $99.99, or $8.33 per month
No matter how you choose to pay for Monarch Money, you can take advantage of their free 7-day trial at Monarch Money. You also want to note that Monarch Money allows you to have unlimited household collaborators. That means that you pay once for yourself, and you don't pay again to add your partner, your adult children, your parents–or whoever else you have living in your household!
Is Monarch Money better than Mint?
Is Monarch better than Mint? That's for you to decide.
What we will say is that Monarch Money money is definitely different than Mint. Monarch Money actually bills itself as a Mint alternative. The biggest difference Monarch users notice right away is that, unlike Mint, Monarch is not ad supported.
There are other key differences between Mint and Monarch:
- User access: Mint is set up for single users while Monarch allows you to add household collaborators.
- Investments: Mint is more limited in its investment analysis while Monarch offers a more robust picture.
- Financial planning: Mint helps users analyze their past spending whereas Monarch encourages users to focus on their future goals.
- Support: Mint's support is quite limited while Monarch prides itself on offering responsive customer support.
- User input: Mint doesn't solicit user input but Monarch invites users to offer suggestions as to what they want the platform to offer next.
Final Thoughts on our Monarch Money Review
Whether you could spend all day combing through spreadsheets joyfully or find yourself overwhelmed with the sheer number of log-ins for all the different accounts you have, we could all benefit from a streamlined financial process. Monarch Money offers that and so much more.
Monarch Money allows users to set goals, create budgets, and track their spending. Plus, you can see your investments and net worth. You can even monitor your progress toward your goals and get advice straight from the apps.
As an added bonus, Monarch Money is equally powerful for couples to use as singles–at no extra cost! While it does come with a fee, we think that it's well worth it if you want an all-in-one experience that's ad-free. Check out Monarch Money and their free 7-day trial to see if this tool can support your financial journey.
How do you manage your money? Did anything stand out from our Monarch Money review?
Please let us know in the comments below.