I might be the odd person out, but I have 6 bank accounts, 7 credit cards, 6 brokerage/retirement accounts. I can’t really explain why I have so many but I guess I just like opening accounts and I don’t like closing them.
What is mint.com? In short, you basically give them your logins to your financial institutions and they download all your transactions and group them all together to see your greater financial picture. It’s great for tracking all my expenses (so long as I pay with plastic cards) and the historical views are very interesting to me. Banks often take down your statements, but not mint.
Many people might be concerned to give our their logins and passwords for their financial institutions to a 3rd party. I know I was when I signed up when they were just a budding startup. Now they have been around since 2006 are part of Intuit who if you use TurboTax, you already trust them with your social security number. I’ve personally never had a problem and just the whole internet login/password is generally not the greatest security that exists. If you’re the type of person that is super paranoid, this product might not be right for you.
It’s free! I find this product useful and the way they make money is by suggesting other financial products to you based on your financial data they take. Yea, you’re gonna see ads, but they run a free service, how else do you expect them to do all this work for you.
Things I Love About Mint
- Aggregate my financial data. I can see all my purchases in one place.
- Slick user interface. Definitely better than most bank websites. Mint was a tech startup and they have a lot of emphasis on usability.
- Transaction history and searchable. Lots of banks and financial institutions only allow you to see statements for a limited time. Most banks user interface is clunky and not searchable.
- Helps me understand my spending. Ever wonder where all your money went? I know I did and still do on a drunk night out. Well for all the non drunk nights, I know EXACTLY where my money went. The caveat is that it can’t track your cash spendings. So I try to buy everything I can with credit cards. (But only if you can pay off your credit cards every month!)
Things That Could Use Improvement
- Categorization of transactions. Mint tries to auto categorize your transactions. The are not always accurate and require editing if you want the most true to form reporting. They do have features which will allow them to learn. I write a $70 check every month to park my car. Mint did manage to figure out that one as now when I write a $70 check, it auto-categorizes it to “Parking”
- Investment tracking. I wish it would allow me to just give a time frame and mint would tell me the annualized return on a particular fund or brokerage account, but it doesn’t seem like anyone does that. Honestly there is just a lot going on in the investments section and I don’t understand it.
- Ads. Who likes ads? Well i put up with them because this product is pretty awesome. I do wish they would suggest to me cooler more catered selection of products. The ones I see offered often don’t make sense to me in my current financial situation.
Time for a bit of a rant on this. Mint is always suggesting I open a Fidelity IRA. They already (or should already) know I have a Fidelity IRA! Stop suggesting it to me! Also I get ads for “Deduct up to $5500 off your taxes when you open an IRA.” Mint! You know my income, you know I am not applicable for this deduction based on my income!!
I love mint and that’s why it is my first real post on my site. I haven’t tried any others honestly. There is another money management service called YNAB which I will try out and write back about. If you are struggling with your finances and want to get them in order, get mint.com now. It’s free and it’s awesome.