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Why I Don't Like the Mint.com Personal Finance Website
I had heard wonderful things about Mint.com, a personal finance site, for months before finally deciding to give it a try about a year ago. I spent a good chunk of the morning getting everything set up and started. It didn't take long for me to dislike Mint.com, but I continued to try it for several months afterwards. I still don't like it and here is why.
I am always very hesitant to give out our personal information to companies. While Mint.com is a secure site, there are plenty of other secure sites that have been hacked into and had information stolen over the past few months. Anytime a site has your information you are at risk of it getting into the wrong hands. Mint.com wants ALL your information. You are asked to input all of your account information for every checking, savings, money market or other account you have. They also want all the information on your debts as well - house payments, car payments, credit cards, etc.
Mint.com is designed to allow you to manage all aspects of your personal finances in one location, so I see how they need all of your information in order to do this. In some regards it should make managing your money easier because Mint.com automatically updates all of these accounts with every transaction you do. The problem I have with this, is that every time I log in it tells me that there is an error in at least one of my accounts and I have to go through all sorts of hoops to fix it. I have to log into the broken account through Mint.com, answer all sorts of security questions and then wait for Mint.com to fix the error. This takes a lot more time than it should and frequently they aren't able to fix the broken link. So while they have access to all of my information they are not able to pull it as they should.
I also have found that it doesn't categorize my transactions correctly and in order for me to get an accurate picture of the areas I spend money on I have to go in manually and change most of them. Combine that with the fact that I use cash only for most discretionary purchases and this entire feature is not very helpful to me.
One feature that some people might like is that it shows you your net worth. It is one of the first things you see when you log in. But because it has all of your information then the chances are good that you are like me and have a negative net worth. While we don't really have any debt other than our mortgage it shows we have a negative net worth of over $170,000. I find this very depressing and would feel a lot more positive about our finances if they highlighted something else. Some people might find it motivational, but to me it is discouraging.
Maybe I am old fashioned, but I like having a notebook that I write in with a pen or pencil and keep track of everything myself. I had really wanted to like Mint.com and was excited about the possibilities for tracking my money better. Unfortunately it quickly became a hassle that wasn't worth it. Maybe it is just me and other people don't have these problems, but they are too much for me to overcome.