Python is powerful… and fast;
plays well with others;
is friendly & easy to learn;
Python may be already included with your operating system. But, can also be installed for free with instructions from https://www.python.org.
Python Development Environment:
I’ve used various Python development environments, including the command line and Xcode. But the environment that I am currently using is PyCharm by JetBrains. It is free for students and academics as of this writing.
From the LaTeX Wikibook:
TeX is a computer program for typesetting documents, created by Donald Knuth. It takes a suitably prepared computer file and converts it to a form which may be printed on many kinds of printers, including dot-matrix printers, laser printers and high-resolution typesetting machines. LaTeX is a set of macros for TeX that aims at reducing the user’s task to the sole role of writing the content, LaTeX taking care of all the formatting process. A number of well-established publishers now use TeX or LaTeX to typeset books and mathematical journals. It is also well appreciated by users caring about typography, consistent formatting, efficient collaborative writing and open formats.
LaTeX is an indispensable part of my everyday workflow and I highly recommend it to writers everywhere, regardless of your discipline.
Installing LaTeX for free: LaTeX Foundation
Academic Article and BibTeX Management: Papers 3
Note: Papers 3 is no longer under development and has been replaced by a new product. I cannot recommend the 'new' Papers app replacement. iPhone/iPad Version
MacOS and Windows Versions
Quality Online Help:
TeX Help on StackExchange
Writing Finance Papers using LaTeX by Richard Stanton