I’m sure you’ve heard it a thousand times before – personal finance is personal. Even though it’s a tired cliché, it’s still quite true! Perhaps it’s the personal nature of finances that explains why so often people will admit that they’re lost when it comes to managing their finances but refuse to hand over the reins to someone with more experience and expertise.
You could talk to a professional advisor. But how do you know you won’t get the same cookie cutter advice they give everyone else?
Or you could try out one of those new Fintech apps. But there are hundreds of apps out there. Which should you choose? And are you really going to trust a robot to manage your finances?
Oh, and what about fees? What are the odds you’ll actually come out ahead?
That’s where Cinch Financial comes into the picture. Cinch has developed a straightforward, personalized low-cost solution to help you take control of your finances. And best of all, Cinch promises to take on a fiduciary relationship with its customers. That means that every piece of advice you receive will be aligned with your best interests.
Cinch is undoubtedly one of the most ambitious Fintech products on the market. So, let’s dive into it and see if the platform really has what it takes to optimize your financial health!
What Is Cinch Financial?
Cinch is a financial advising tool that won’t cost you an arm and a leg like most financial advisors will. Best of all, Cinch acts as a fiduciary so you know that the advice you receive is focused solely on what’s best for you – nothing else! By offering reliable financial advice and clear action plans, Cinch hopes to provide users peace of mind when it comes to managing their finances.
Getting Started with Cinch
Signing up for Cinch is quick and easy.
- Personal Information. First, you’ll start by answering a few basic questions about your household income, dependents, home and auto ownership and insurance.
- Credit Profile. After that, Cinch will ask you for permission to perform a soft-pull on your credit to gather more information. This will NOT affect your credit score.
- Account Linking. Next, Cinch will offer you an opportunity to link your financial accounts. This gives Cinch more data points so it can examine your spending and saving habits and create a more accurate profile of your financial life.
- Final Details. Finally, Cinch will ask you a few final questions that will help it get a sense of your overall financial habits such as “Do you pay off your credit card balances each month?” or “Do you have any savings aside from the funds in your checking account?”
When I signed up, the process was incredibly smooth and took less than five minutes.
How Much Does Cinch Cost?
Users can sign up for a free 90-day trial. After the free trial, users move to a $4.99 monthly subscription. Cinch’s goal is to save you far more cash than you pay for your subscription. And since all it takes is one good auto insurance or banking recommendation, there’s a good chance the subscription will pay for itself within the first month or two!
How Does Cinch Make Money?
Unlike Nerd Wallet and Bankrate that get paid for referring readers to certain products, Cinch doesn’t receive kickbacks from the banks, credit card companies, or insurance companies in exchange for recommending them. And unlike so many other free financial apps out there, Cinch isn’t making a quick buck by selling your data and personal information.
So how exactly does Cinch plan to make money?
Well, that’s kind of a mystery right now. In fact, Cinch has come right out and said they still haven’t decided how they’ll monetize their product yet. For now, their top priority is creating a user-friendly tool that can provide straightforward, unbiased personal finance advice to help people make the most of their money.
How Cinch Works
Cinch is all about taking a holistic approach to financial well-being. Rather than focusing on individual transactions like so many personal finance tools out there, Cinch prefers to look at the big picture. And best of all, Cinch keeps things simple. They do so by taking a snapshot of your financial situation and breaking it into four pillars so you can know where you stand in an instant.
1. Spending Flow
Cinch takes the labor out of tracking spending and budgeting with a handy chart that compares “Money In vs. Money Out.” With just a quick glance, you’ll know exactly where you stand. And with Cinch’s Pocket Money tool there’s no need to track your income, bills, savings goals, and other items on a spreadsheet. Pocket Money tells you exactly how much money you have left to cover day-to-day expenses.
2. Debt and Credit
Cinch aggregates any credit card, student loan, auto loan and other debt in one place. This screen can serve as a helpful reminder as you work to pay down any outstanding debt obligations.
3. Rainy Day Fund
Just as you guessed – Cinch wants to encourage users to build up their emergency funds. Cinch will display how much you’ve tucked away in your cash accounts and will offer a little nudge to get you moving in the right direction.
Insurance policies are often an afterthought in the world of personal finance. But having the right life insurance coverage is a critical part of being financially prepared. Cinch will consider your income, debt, and dependents as it analyzes whether you have sufficient insurance.
What I Like Most About Cinch
There’s a lot to like about Cinch. Here are a few features I found most impressive.
As I mentioned earlier, there are all sorts of websites and tools that will help you search and apply for credit cards, loans, banks, insurance and other financial products. Most of those sites have relationships with certain companies and make money for promoting their products and services. Cinch isn’t like that. Cinch is a fiduciary and that’s what really sets Cinch apart.
As a fiduciary, Cinch is obligated to act in your best interest. That means that rather than recommending products and services that will make the most money for Cinch, Cinch has an obligation to recommend products and services that will make (or save) the most for you!
That brings us to those recommendations…
Cinch analyzes your financial information and makes specific recommendations to help you optimize your finances.
One of the first recommendations that Cinch suggested to me was taking a closer look at how much I’m paying for car insurance. Cinch analyzed my existing coverage and premium information and concluded that I might be paying too much for my auto insurance. I accepted Cinch’s invitation to begin shopping for insurance and Cinch provided rates from three different insurance carriers. (Remember, Cinch doesn’t get paid to recommend a provider.)
According to Cinch, I could save up to $73 a month by switching my auto insurance to Ameriprise Financial. In addition to offering unbiased suggestions to help me save on auto insurance, Cinch also provides a downloadable “Action Plan” with step-by-step instructions to walk me through the process.
Your Safety Net is essentially an emergency fund, designed to help you cover extra expenses that come your way. This feature helps users build up their savings so they’re better prepared for expenses such as routine maintenance, emergencies, or paying down debt. Safety Net funds are separate from your Pocket Money and shouldn’t be spent unless the need arises.
Each month, Cinch calculates a personalized portion of your income to set aside and provides custom recommendations for how to distribute that money. For example, if you’re carrying a balance on a credit card, Cinch will suggest that you use a portion of your Safety Net contribution to pay down that balance. If your savings account is running a bit low, Cinch will recommend allocating funds to build up your savings.
To be clear, these are only recommendations. You can adjust your Safety Net contribution as you see fit. And Cinch won’t transfer the funds or prevent you from accessing them. It’s up to you how you handle your Safety Net funds.
Cinch has a user-friendly interface that can be accessed from your browser on any device.
- Save Money with Personalized Recommendations. Cinch provides unbiased advice that will help you eliminate your debt, build your savings, and optimize your finances.
- Fiduciary. Cinch sets itself apart from most other financial tools on the market by providing truly unbiased advice. They don’t generate any income by suggesting products and services!
- Free Trial. What better way to discover the benefits that Cinch has to offer than a free 90-day trial?!
- Low Monthly Fee. Cinch is always on the lookout for personalized ways to save you money which means the benefits will typically far outweigh the monthly $4.99 fee.
- No App. Cinch hasn’t developed an app yet, which makes accessing the app on your mobile device a little less convenient.
- Less than Full Automation. Perhaps they’ll introduce this feature down the road, but for now Cinch doesn’t have the capability of negotiating lower insurance rates or applying for loans on your behalf.
Is Cinch Right for You?
Handing over control of your finances to an app is no small step. Cinch has acknowledged the challenge and stepped up to the plate, spending over five years fine-tuning its autonomous personal finance platform.
There’s a lot to like about Cinch, but what’s really exciting is that they’ve just scratched the surface. The Cinch team has some ambitious goals for the platform. We expect that they’ll keep introducing new features and refine the way they leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning to make a positive impact on a lot of peoples’ financial situations.
We’ll be keeping an eye on Cinch as they roll out new features, so check back with us every now and then to learn more about what Cinch has to offer. And in the meantime, go sign up for Cinch’s 90-day free trial!