Monarch Money Review: A Budgeting App Done Right 
Updated: Feb 15
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Get an in-depth review of Monarch Money, the all-in-one personal finance platform. Our expert analysis breaks down the features, ease of use, and investment options offered by Monarch Money. Learn how the platform can help you budget, track expenses, and invest for your financial future. See why Monarch Money is quickly becoming the go-to choice for managing money online. Don't make a financial decision before reading our unbiased review of Monarch Money.
Monarch has added one of the coolest features I have ever seen in a budgeting app! Check it out below!
Reviewing Monarch Money felt eerily similar to reviewing PocketSmith. So, if you read my PocketSmith review, then you can probably skip to the summary below to get my final thoughts.
Monarch Money is a personal finance organization tool, launched publically in November 2020. As the tool continues to grow and develop I'll add details of new features below. If you want to keep up on your own, click the link above and sign up. Or you can go to your App Store or Google Play Store and download the app yourself.
Over the past year, Monarch has expanded its features to include some of the best in the space. What started out as a very basic budgeting toolset has gotten extremely robust in the last 12 months since its launch.
If you want to try out our free budgeting tool, click here, subscribe, and we will send you a free copy!
How does Monarch Money Score:
Cost and Fees: 5 out of 10
Security: 8 out of 10
Ease of Use: 8 out of 10
Features and Tools: 7 out of 10
Overall: 7 out of 10
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What is Monarch Money?
Monarch Money is budgeting and expense-tracking software that helps individuals take control of their finances. This tool is designed to be user-friendly and easy to use, making it a popular choice for those who want to manage their money more effectively.
Monarch Money is also designed to be accessible from anywhere. It is a cloud-based software which means it can be accessed from any device with internet access. This allows users to track their expenses and budget from anywhere, making it a convenient tool for those who are always on the go.
Additionally, the tool offers a free version that can be used by anyone, but also offers a premium subscription service that provides additional features and benefits such as, saving goals, recurring transactions, and more. The premium subscription service will cost you $9.99/month or $89.99 annually but, you don't have to deal with any financial advisors trying to sell you something and there are no ads (al la PocketSmith and many other similar options). Just an easy-to-use tool trying to help you meet your personal financial goals.
One of their founders originally helped launch Mint.com so there is plenty of experience on their team when it comes to organizing personal finances. What's more, Val Agostino has heard from Mint users what they like and don't like about the platform and has takedn that knowledge and integrated into Monarch's tools.
How does Monarch Money work?
Monarch Money's goal is to help individuals create and meet their savings plans and goals by evaluating and organizing your income and expenses. They provide a variety of tools and software integrations to help you get your personal finances in order, visualize goals and plans, and execute your vision of a health financial future.
They even offer a free 14-day trial so anyone can check out the tools and see if they make sense for you.
Monarch Money is different than other, similar, tools in that they have built a step by step process for each of the key parts of building your financial plan. In addition to the easy step by step instructions they provide you will also receive data showing the long-term financial impact of your present spending behaviors. Here at The Saving Dude, we are all about thinking long term and identifying a personal finance tool that helps highlight exactly that is really something we can get behind.
Monarch Money Pricing
Monarch Money currently has 2 different payment plans, but no various levels. Everyone gets the same features, but you have to determine whether you want to pay monthly which is $9.99, or annually, which is $89.99. So, you can definitely save money if you are committed to Monarch long-term.
Monarch Money Features
Dashboard - This is your home base for all things money. The more accounts you associate with your Monarch profile the better picture you will have of your financial health.
Accounts - This is a breakdown of all the accounts you have associated with your profile. In addition, your net worth is calculated on your behalf. Your assets and liabilities are broken out for you along with all your various investments. This is the breakdown of the wholistic view you get on the dashboard
Transactions - If you prefer to dive into certain types of spending behavior the transactions tool is where it's at. You can use the filters to narrow down by transaction name, amount, account, and date range.
Cash Flow - This is very similar to your net worth. In the case of cash flow, you only have income and expenses listed (things like the value of your house are excluded).
Mobile App - Having a highly functional mobile app is a must in today's world. The benefit of Monarch's app is they don't have to slim down the features. They provide a full-featured mobile app (only on Apple today, but Android is scheduled for release soon).
Plan - This is one of the best and easiest to use planning tools I have seen. Better still, Monarch's software can help develop a plan for you after a few days of transaction history is acquired.
Goals - This is a must for anyone using personal finance and budgeting software. Monarch has a fully-featured goal tool for all your needs.
Forecast - The impact of your everyday choices is hard to visualize over a long time horizon. Monarch's forecasting tool can help you understand the impact of buying an espresso machine vs buying a daily espresso at Starbucks. This type of feedback loop really helps to drive behavioral change which is the key tenant of getting your personal finances under control.
**Investments** as of August 2021 this is out of beta - This feature helps you analyze your entire portfolio across multiple financial institutions, break down asset classes, comp vs industry indices, and much more. There is even a plan to roll out support for crypto investing.
**Track your home value** - This is a new feature as of August 2021. You can connect your Zillow account, identify your address, and use the Z-Estimate as part of your net worth calculation within Monarch Money's platform.
**Advice** - This is a new feature as of August 2021. By answering a few questions within Monarch you can get personalized financial advice. This product is lead by Nalatie Taylor. Prior to Monarch, Natalie ran her own consulting firm, developed courses for LinkedIn Learning, spent time at Ellevest, Clever Finance, LearnVest, Ameriprise, and American Express. Her experience in Finance is extensive and someone I personally look forward to getting advice from.
You can check out all upcoming and newly released features within Monarch's publically published Product Updates page.
One of the biggest pros of the Monarch Money tool is its user-friendly interface. The tool is designed to be easy to use, even for those who are not financially savvy. It has a simple, intuitive layout that makes it easy to navigate and find the information you need. Additionally, the tool offers a variety of budgeting templates that can help users quickly and easily set up a budget that works for them.
Another pro of the Monarch Money tool is its ability to track expenses in real time. This feature allows users to see where their money is going and make adjustments as needed to stay on track with their budget. The tool also offers automatic categorization of expenses, which can help users easily identify areas where they may be overspending.
On the other hand, one of the cons of the Monarch Money tool is that it does not offer investment tracking features. This means that users will need to use a separate tool or service to track their investments and portfolio performance. Additionally, the tool does not offer any type of financial advice or guidance, which may be a disadvantage for some users who are looking for more personalized assistance with their finances.
Another potential con of the Monarch Money tool is that it is only available online, which may be an issue for some users who prefer a physical budgeting tool or who have limited internet access. Additionally, while the tool is free to use, it does offer a premium subscription service that provides additional features and benefits. This may be an additional cost that some users may not be willing to pay.
Monarch Money Alternatives
YNAB - You need a budget
and a ton more
How to get started with Monarch Money
Setting up an account actually only took a few minutes because I used their account connection tool which, like all other tools on Monarch, had step-by-step instructions that were super easy to follow.
First, follow this link to open your account. This link will take you to their Welcome Page.
The next step in the process is providing your email. This is critical for ensuring you are who you say you are and for future communication from the Monarch team.
In an effort to ensure your security and privacy Monarch Money requires a verification code that they email to you. While some might think this additional step is unnecessary I believe that any additional security they can provide is welcome.
The next step is your basic password creation.
Then we start to get into the nitty gritty. You can choose to either setup your accounts manually or with their step by step connection guide. Here is a look at the manual setup page.
Monarch uses Plaid to link your bank accounts. Plaid is a third party data encryption tool. They use Advanced Encryption Standard and Transport Layer Security at or above industry standards to ensure your data stays safe.
Their landing/dashboard is visually appealing and provides all the most important information to your personal financial health. They try to keep it simple and not overwhelm you with data which I truly appreicate.
They also provide a crisp and clean account overview page.
They keep the user interface consistent and simplistic throughout making your financial data easy to understand and action upon. I love their transaction filters. This allows you to drill into certain types of spending habits to ensure you are on track.
The cash flow page, again, retains a familiar user interface. This consistency is important as an easy to use platform helps users interact with Monarch more frequently. It also reduces the learning curve which is a large hinderance for many software tools.
We all have the need to create a plan for our money. This is exactly what you are going to do in order to achieve your goals. Monarch is here to help you build your plan and achieve your goals. You can utilize their software to analyze your spending and create a plan based on your goals, or you can create your own plan. Either way, having a plan is one of the most important steps toward financial health and they have an outstanding tool to help you with that.
Here is their dashboard to track your plan.
Creating your goals has never been easier. Before you even start creating goals, Monarch will walk you through a tutorial of how their system takes you step by step to create the most impactful goals for your money.