Monarch Review [2024]: Track, Save, and Budget All In One Place

Relative new-comer Monarch offers some helpful money management and goal settings features, but is it worth the price tag?
Updated May 30, 2024
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Using a banking or financial app has become a popular choice for many people, with 63% of smartphone users having at least one financial app. Knowing which app to choose for your financial goals might be tricky since some apps have one particular function, such as tracking your spending or your investments, but not both. That’s where Monarch might come in.

Monarch is a personal finance app that launched in 2020. It keeps track of your spending, keeps an eye on your investment accounts, helps you stay on budget, and even offers financial advice, all from a customizable dashboard.

But how useful can Monarch be for you? Here is how the app could help you see your complete financial picture in one place.


Quick Summary

Monarch lets you manage your money and track your investment. It comes with several features, including:

  • Tracking your monthly budget
  • Optimizing your spending habits
  • Getting help setting aside money for savings goals
  • Easily analyzing your investments in one simple interface
  • Keeping track of your net worth in real-time
In this Monarch review

What is Monarch?

Monarch is an app that gives users multiple ways to personalize their budgets and financial lives. It offers financial planning over various time frames and breaks big goals into smaller milestones.

Claiming to be the best alternative to popular apps like Rocket Money and YNAB (You Need a Budget), Monarch is a fintech startup that was co-founded by Jon Sutherland, Ozzie Osman, and Val Agostino. But Monarch works to distinguish itself from other apps by keeping ads off the platform and focusing on all-in-one financial management.

The Monarch app features general money management and investment tracking, including cryptocurrencies, and even offers financial advice from real financial planners. Users could view multiple bank and brokerage accounts in one place for quick reference and create a detailed plan to stay on track with their finances.

The main dashboard includes your primary bank accounts, credit cards, loans, investments, and other financial accounts. This dashboard could be reordered and customized based on your preferences. You could also invite a collaborator for no additional charge. This feature helps partners who have mixed finances or if you’d like to give your accountant or investment advisor access to your data.

Monarch offers a simple view of your accounts and doesn’t clutter the space with ads or a lot of visual distraction. This modern way of displaying your information makes it easier to see your financial picture at a glance and might help you keep your priorities front and center. Its website also includes mortgage, debt paydown, and retirement calculators to help you run different scenarios based on your savings goals.

The app also tracks spending trends and changes over time. It allows you to create short-, mid-, and long-term goals such as saving for a trip, buying a car, or saving for retirement. Saving money for multiple goals at once might be challenging, especially if you have accounts spread across different banks.

And while Monarch doesn’t physically move your money between your accounts, it helps you allocate money from your savings or checking account to a particular goal. This could allow you to see how much monthly progress you’ve made toward your financial future.

How does Monarch work?

Setting up an account with Monarch is relatively straightforward. You could open an account on its website or mobile app, which is available on the App Store and the Google Play Store.

Once you’ve logged in to your account, you can build your dashboard by syncing your external financial accounts and organizing their widgets. Monarch works with more than 12,000 financial institutions and investment firms. The app uses data transfer services Plaid and Finicity to connect to those financial institutions securely. However, some institutions, like Capital One, Wells Fargo, or American Express, may have trouble connecting.

Monarch budgeting features

Once you’re connected, Monarch will sync your transactions and allocate them to their respective categories, such as rent/mortgage, credit card, or groceries. You could also create and customize your own categorization. If one of your accounts cannot sync through the app, you could manually add expenses and transactions to get a full picture of your net worth and budget.

Monarch’s budget tracker and insights help you with budgeting by categorizing, tagging your transactions, and allocating savings to your various goals. Additionally, you could manually track valuables like art or collectibles in the app. There’s even an interface with Zillow to track your property value automatically.

Monarch investment tracking features

The investment section helps you view your entire portfolio, including 401(k) plans and taxable brokerage accounts. You can view your investment performance over time and chart changes based on specific time frames.

You can track investments through the mobile and web platforms. These platforms allow you to view how your investments are allocated based on the asset class. You could also analyze your historical performance and compare your portfolio against critical industry benchmarks across different time ranges.

Another useful feature, currently in beta, is providing personalized financial advice from real financial planners to help guide your financial journey and next steps. The feature works by asking you questions to tailor the advice you receive based on your situation. Monarch says it holds itself to a fiduciary standard, which means it must put your best interest ahead of its profit. Despite this disclaimer of bias, it's still important to do your research and use your best judgment with any financial advice.

Things Monarch doesn’t have

One thing Monarch does not offer is credit score monitoring, and their cryptocurrency feature only syncs with the Coinbase exchange. It is kept separate from the rest of your investment accounts, and crypto prices are tracked in real time and are updated 24/7. But if you use a different crypto exchange, you may not be able to access this feature.

On the positive side, Monarch does not contain ads, and it doesn’t try to sell you financial products like credit cards or loans. The app also claims it doesn’t sell customers’ financial data to third parties. If you’ve ever been annoyed by ads or worried about who had access to your data with other apps, Monarch may be worth the monthly or yearly subscription cost.

Who can benefit from Monarch?

As you learn how to manage your money, having an app that offers multiple features on one platform might be helpful. Not only is Monarch good at tracking your cash and spending habits, but some of its features might be beneficial for those who like to break larger goals into smaller pieces.

Using a banking app, you could set up a monthly contribution into your savings account. For example, you might move $500 as a lump sum into your savings account every month. But Monarch could help you break that sum up into different parts for an emergency fund, travel, or a down payment on a house. It does this without requiring additional bank accounts.

Monarch might fit you if you’re a visual learner and like to have clear graphs to see your progress over time. The custom dashboard allows you to view your accounts at a glance and see changes in your net worth or investments over time.

Monarch helps you “celebrate” your goal achievements with a confetti shower and notes the progress you’ve made instead of only displaying how far you still need to go.

How to get started with Monarch

Monarch is available on iOS and Android and has a web version. You could create a Monarch account and sign up for the free 7-day trial through either the app or web version, and you don’t need a credit card to access the free trial.

When your trial ends, you can choose one of the available subscription plans. You can pay for one month at a time, for $9.99 per month; or pay $89.99 once annually, which equates to about $7.50 a month.

FAQs about Monarch

Who owns Monarch?

Monarch, formerly Monarch Money, was founded in 2018 by Jonathan Sutherland, Osman Ahmed Osman, and Val Agostino. Monarch is backed by venture capital firms Accel and SignalFire.

Is Monarch secure?

Monarch uses two-factor authentication, but you have to manually turn this security option on by going to the Monarch site in your web browser.

Monarch uses Plaid and Finicity to connect to your financial accounts and keep your data safe. Plaid uses multiple encryption protocols and is working to create a framework of requirements that address security risks for companies that handle consumer financial information.

Is Monarch free?

Monarch is not free. It charges a subscription fee of $9.99 per month or $89.99 per year, which works out to about $7.50 per month. Charging a fee allows Monarch to keep ads and upselling off the platform.

Additionally, you can invite an unlimited number of people to your household once you sign up at no additional cost. Monarch has stated that it doesn’t sell user financial data or use it to try to sell you credit cards or other financial products.

Other budgeting apps to consider

Monarch comes with many features. However, If you tried its 7-day free trial and decided it doesn’t work for you, you could consider some other apps that might fit your needs better. These apps include:

Simplifi: Simplifi is web-based personal finance software by Quicken designed to help people visualize and track expenses, create goals, and manage transactions. Simplifi costs $2.99 per month, billed annually.

Read our Simplifi review.

Digit: Digit is a budgeting app that could help you save a certain amount of money each day based on your income, bills, and other expenses. It allows you to save money without major changes to your lifestyle. Digit offers a 30-day free trial and then costs $5 a month.

Read our Digit review.

Rocket Money: The Rocket Money app helps you track and potentially reduce your recurring monthly bills by searching for available discounts and negotiating your current bills to get lower rates. Rocket Money negotiates your bills for free, but premium services may cost between $3 and $12 a month.

Read our Rocket Money review.

Monarch Benefits

  • Track your monthly budget
  • Optimize your spending habits
  • Get help setting aside money for savings goals
  • Easily analyze your investments in one simple interface
  • Keep track of your net worth in real-time

Author Details

Kate Daugherty Kate Daugherty is a professional writer with a passion for providing others the head start they deserve on their financial journeys. Largely self-taught, Kate relied on books, blogs, and trial-and-error to learn how to budget and save for the future, all while working to pay back about $15,000 in student loans.