BreakingModern — I need help. I’ve been using Excel spreadsheets to track my finances for years. And even before that, I was using Lotus 123. In other words: I’m long overdue for an update.
Don’t Ignore Your Finances
When you forget to pay the gas and electric bill, the utility company will cut your power off. It’s that simple. There’s no one to blame but yourself. Paying your bills every month is your responsibility and your responsibility alone. It’s always a good idea to track and manage your financial transactions, but that doesn’t mean you have to maintain an array of bothersome worksheets like I do.
An app like Mint is perfect for people who obsess about personal finances (like me). It will automate most of the repetitive data entry and number crunching by contacting the financial institutions where your transactions were first recorded. The only mundane thing you have to do is input your initial information. Mint will do the rest.
Also: Mint will keep up with your financial activity in real time. This means that you can find out exactly what is happening in your financial world instantly from any device your prefer. Do you have enough money to buy tickets to the latest Rolling Stones concert? Can you jet to Albuquerque for this year’s hot air balloon festival? A quick check with your Mint account can tell you.
There are no fees for using Mint. Instead, Intuit makes its money by advertising and through deals with financial institutions and other interested third-parties (like the people that track your credit score).
Security is my greatest concern with services like Mint. While you have the usual security measures like passwords and PIN info, there’s more than a little trepidation about giving an online service access to your financial information — especially since that information is constantly being automated and updated in real time. With the push of a few buttons, a stolen smartphone could reveal all of your financial information to a stranger with malicious intent.
The counter to this security threat is two-fold. First, the Mint service cannot initiate a financial transaction. It can only record and report on transactions you have conducted with other sources. So, a nefarious person could not transfer money from your checking account using Mint alone.
And second, a Mint user can completely delete the information in their account any time they chose. In a matter of seconds, all financial information tracked by Mint can be removed from the system and the account can be locked. Of course, that means to get your financial life back in order with Mint, you’ll have to start over. But in the long run that’s small price to pay for the sake of information security.
Keeping track of your financial transactions is your responsibility — no one else is going to do it for you. But using an app like Mint can make personal financial management more automated and much less tedious if you are willing to commit to the services it provides. And because Mint charges no fees, it’s free to try (and use) — so there’s really no excuse not to check it out. Get the mobile version for Android on Google Play and Apple iOS, or access Mint through a web browser.
Featured/Header Image: Mint by Anthony Cramp via Flickr
First Image: Money – Savings by 401(K) 2012 via Flickr
Screenshots: Mark Kaelin Courtesy of Mint