What the King of Money Apps can Teach Financial Educators

By Right About Money Staff Report

January 25, 2017

Karl Ebert

Financial educators would do well to take their cues from Karl Ebert, also known as the King of Financial Apps. Ebert has created more than 450 calculators and online tools and says pretty much all of them strive to help individuals answer four basic questions:

How can I meet my financial needs?

How can I manage my debt?

How does a particular government program work?

How much do I owe in taxes?

“Everyone’s issues may be different, but they all have these common threads,” Ebert, 48, told CNBC. “The interesting part is even when the economy changes, the basic threads remain the same.”

Ebert is anything but a household name. Yet millions have benefited from his products. The CEO and founder of Minneapolis-based KJE Computer Solutions, Ebert has licensed financial tools to more than 10,000 websites and financial institutions, including AARP, American Funds, Bankrate, Navy Federal Credit Union and Thrivent Financial.

From buying a home and calculating what you need to save for your kid’s college education to figuring out the right time to claim social security benefits, Ebert has created a calculator for just about everyone—and in so doing advanced financial literacy among everyday folks around the globe.

Ebert’s most popular calculator is one that generates an amortization schedule for a mortgage. His personal favorite is a retirement planner that provides one solid estimate and asks users to enter only eight numbers. You can find those and more on his website Dinkytown.net.

Ebert’s tools make personal finance easier, if not easy, for ordinary people. For those in the financial literacy game, his four guiding questions suggest the value of keeping things simple and focused. Yet even this do-it-yourselfer understands that calculators and online tools have their limits—and that sometimes no matter how much you know about money you need to ask a pro.

“Financial calculators can give users a good ballpark answer,” he says. “When they want all the pieces lined up in the puzzle of financial planning, they should bring in a professional.” That too is a financial lesson worth sharing.

Posted in Gadgets & Apps, Youth on January, 2017