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Fools,

Have been looking into Mint.com to help balance my budget, set personal financial goals, track my expenses, and overall manage my finacial expenses.

Before I pull the trigger on signing up, I wanted advice from the Fool on it. It seems like a VERY useful tool for personal finance, however it also seems it could be VERY risky.

From what I can tell, they aggregrate all your financial info and use it to help you manage your money. Hence, you have to give them the details on your bank accounts, investments, etc. Basically all your very sensitive financial info. It supposedly is read-only, meaning no one can use the info on Mint.com to transfer money, they can only see how much you have and where its at, but supposedly cannot access it I think. If your password / username for mint.com is the same as all your bank accounts, well then you might as well get your lawyer on speed dial IMO. Been reading reviews from various website and they range from love it to scared to death of it. One person said not to use it because they are owned by Intuit which also owns Quicken, hence they make Mint.com less 'safe' on purpose...other say Intuit is very trustful so go figure.

So what does Fooldom think of Mint.com? Does anyone have any experience using Mint.com or a similar software or website? Would love to hear what some of the more seasoned fools have in regards here and also any other advice for budgeting / handling expenses. I am a young recent college grad with my first job looking forward to the experience and also needing some advice for handling my money and meeting my financial goals.

I am reading The Black Swan by Taleb right now. Great book, dives deep into extreme events, their unpredictability, and their severe consequences. Something like Mint.com, to me, seems like it may be prone to a potentially very negative black swan.

Thanks in advance,

Dom
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Hi Dom,

I use mint with no complaints. I'm also the type to do all my banking online as well so.. i know plenty of people that refuse to use the internet for their finances. guess it depends on your being comfortable with the risk.

~Christian
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Thanks for responding, I too do most of my banking online. I use B of A online as well as ING.com to take advantage of their better rates than traditional banks.

I feel we have a similar outlook and understanding of the rewards but also potential risks using the 'net to manage one's personal finances.

How do you feel about having all your financial info consolidated on 1 website, if I may ask? Mint claims your info is safe since it is "read-only; thus it cannot be used to make any transactions, implying then I assume that no one can actually move $ to / from Mint to your accounts or any 3rd-party accounts. In your experience, would you agree?

My inference would be that as long as your mint password / username isnt the same as your brokerage account, bank acount, and wherever else your cash may be parked, then you are 'safe' if say a hacker breaks into Mint and gains access to all of its data and thus your financial info. They'd simply know how much $$$ Christian, Dom, or whoever has, but couldnt do anything about it. Crudely speaking, it would be the same as driving by someone's 10k sq foot house with 5 sports cars in the drive-way and a pool. You can tell he has a lot of money, but can't really do anything about it...crudely speaking again.

Nonetheless, hesitant about putting all my financial info in 1 place. Seems like that would be a goldmine to a hacker, hence Mint is much more of a target and mebbe then potential liability then say an account with B of A, Fidelity, Ing.com, etc. Of course, I could be totally wrong here as well.

Thanks for your thoughts.

Dom
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I do all my bill-paying online, but have not signed up for Mint.

If I could go to my bank's website and click on something that says, effectively, "I, YG, give Mint permission to access all my account info on a read-only basis," then I might try it. Such permission would, of course, be reversible.

But the way it works is that I'd have to give Mint my passwords, answers to my security questions, etc. Then Mint goes to my bank and says, "I am YG," which besides being dishonest on its face, also effectively gives Mint, or anyone who hacks Mint's client database, the ability to do to my accounts anything I could do, including withdrawals and transfers.

My financial advisor says that in general 20-somethings are comfortable with Mint; her older clients are scared to death of it. She doesn't advise for or against.

Personally, I use spreadsheets. For budgeting, I'm comfortable with YNAB, but due to convenience ended up doing budgeting with spreadsheets also.

YG
(50-something)
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if i am okay with online banking and bill pay or whatever, then mint isnt a leep of faith for me. most all of my banking is done at one firm any ways.

it's risky but so is getting into my truck in the morning and driving to work on the thruway. at some point i take the risk and am able to sleep at night. if this keeps you up at night, then simply dont do it. there's nothing wrong with that choice. there are plenty of free excel templates available on the office website.

~Christian
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Good point, Christian. At some point one must stop living in fear and start living their life.


"the way it works is that I'd have to give Mint my passwords, answers to my security questions, etc. Then Mint goes to my bank and says, "I am YG,"

YG, so if I'm reading your response right, then Mint has more than just a pure 'read-only' userface. It also has all the passwords, usernames, etc of your bank accounts, investments, etc. So then someone cannot directly transfer money in and out of your Mint account, but indirectly thru one's various accounts and respective passwords transfer money in and out. Hope I got that right.

How's You Need a Budget? Briefly google'd it and it looks alright, couldn't tell anything more
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I have been using Mint for a while now after using Quicken since about 1996. I have a love/hate relationship with it. My finances right now do not require managing every penny but I still like to keep track of everything so I thought this might be a good, portable option.

On a scale of 1 to 10 I give it a 9 in ease of use, meaning it was relatively easy to sync all my accounts and assets with the site.

I give it a 6 for updates. Many of my accounts require little to no maintenance but there are 3 that I have to re-enter my login info every stupid time I want to access the data. Why wouldn't I just go to the site?
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Not sure what happened there but I was not done! =)

When looking at a simple checking account, it is not clear to me what has cleared and what is pending so I give it a 5 for having up to date information.

I give it a *1* for not being able to reconcile accounts. As far as I can tell, you can't do that for any of your accounts.

Overall, I give it a 7. It gives me a ballpark idea of my net worth and account balances but it in no way can substitute for the actual data from the actual entities like banks. If you really need or want to know were every penny is, then this is not the software for you. If you just need to know about how things are going, this might be something you can use.

I believe the are owned by Intuit which owns Quicken so I don't think this site will ever be more than it is right now. Which in my book is a shame. I would pay them monthly to have the data I have with Quicken with the portability and immediacy I can have with Mint.

Just my $0.02.
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I just started using MINT lately, and agree -- it's easy to set up and use, but not polished. I sent in a couple bug reports, and their response (after having me do a lot of different testing) was basically "sorry, but this isn't a priority right now."

It makes sense, I mean, it's free. But still, it's pretty cool.

I am reading about YouNeedABudget.com right now. It looks really useful!
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