If you’re not already aware of it, I’d like to draw your attention to a great—free—website that could make a powerful difference in your financial life. It’s called Mint.com.
Juliet and I learned about Mint.com during a breakout session at the FPA Business Solutions Conference in Dallas a couple weeks ago. The session’s presenter was Aaron Patzer, the under-30 entrepreneur who invented the site (and who holds Masters degrees in Computer Science and Engineering from Princeton and Duke). Last year, Aaron sold his young company to Intuit (the makers of Quicken, QuickBooks, and TurboTax) for $170 million. From what we saw, I’d say Intuit got a bargain.
Aaron has stayed on as the executive in charge of his brainchild, and it was a rare privilege to witness his presentation. He demonstrated the site for us, and we were blown away by its ease of use and potential to help people get a handle on their finances.
The system allows users to enter all the logins and passwords from their various financial assets and liabilities: bank accounts, investment accounts, retirement accounts, annuities, home value, mortgages, credit cards, auto loans, etc. The system reaches out to the respective institutions and collects the pertinent information, and within a few minutes, it can tell you your net worth, the values of all your assets and liabilities, how much money you have spent and in which categories.
The amount of information the system can give you from such a small effort on your part is uncanny. It analyzes your spending habits and creates a budget for you. It tells you how much you have been spending on groceries, gas, restaurants, etc. It even tells you if you have spent a significant amount on a particular category than you normally do. (When I logged in this morning, it informed me that, in the past 30 days, I have spent $383.22 more on hotels than I usually do.)
The system is not perfect. An institution has to be on the Mint.com system for you to be able to follow it. For example, while it appears that most of the banks in our local area are on the system, Mountain 1st and HomeTrust (the parent of Tryon Federal) are not. You can ask the system to reach out and include those institutions; I’m sure the more people who make the suggestion, the sooner the missing institution will be included.
I recommend that all my clients sign up for Mint.com at their earliest convenience. The information it gives can be of great value as we analyze, assess and plan for the future. Non-clients can get just as much out of it. Check it out and let me know what you think.
Have a great week!