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Pluto is a financial app that was started in 2017 by college students who were struggling with managing and saving money. They realized that personal finance wasn’t just about becoming an expert at budgeting and looking at graphs to track your progress.
Instead, the San Francisco-based team created an app with the help of behavioral science to look at different ways to make personal finance fun and relevant. Their app turns personal finance goals into a game by encouraging you to set short- and mid-term savings goals for fun things like doing what’s on your bucket list or serious things like paying off your student loan debt.
What Are the Benefits of the Pluto Money App?
Don’t like traditional personal finance apps that graph your spending and mention things like cash flow? No problem! Pluto works differently and is focused on helping you make your financial goals come true – even if they might not align with what society tells you are the most important financial priorities. It allows you to create your own saving challenges so you can feel good about reaching small, achievable goals.
Maybe you want to spend less on certain things this week like fast food or buying coffee. Or maybe you want to save money for spring break. Whatever your goals are, Pluto helps you set and track the small and big goals so you can see your weekly progress toward them.
Pluto can connect accounts at over 10,000 financial institutions in the U.S. with the app, then automates the tracking and categorizing of your expenses to save you time.
It has smart notifications and behavioral nudges to help you ensure you’re staying on track in your spending. The app is free and there aren’t currently details on the cost of the savings account when it is launched. It can be downloaded in the App store.
The Drawbacks of the Pluto Money App
The Pluto Money App bills itself as the personal finance app for the Snapchat generation, but it could help others as well. It’s primarily built for people who struggle to make and stick to financial resolutions. This is because it focuses on gamifying small goals into weekly challenges.
For that reason, it’s likely not the right personal finance app for someone who is committed to saving and just wants to track their goals. It might also not be the right app for someone who is focused on longer-term goals like saving for retirement or for the down payment on a house.
It also lacks some of the analytics capability that apps like Mint or Personal Capital have.
Another drawback is that the app is currently only available on iOS via the Apple store, which means that people who use other systems will likely have to use another app or wait until Pluto launches its version for Android.
The Bottom Line
Pluto can be helpful for someone who is looking to get started saving money but needs additional support and motivation to do so. The gamification aspects of Pluto Money’s challenges allow you to see the ways in which you’re making weekly changes and saving more money. This can be the perfect app to motivate you to take action in your financial life.
If, however, you have been saving for a while and don’t need that immediate reinforcement from an app like Pluto Money, you might be better off using another app with more capabilities so you can better track your progress toward your goals.
Author: Jeff Gitlen