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What happened to Mint? (fastcompany.com)
494 points by vontzy on Jan 23, 2020 | hide | past | favorite | 440 comments

Co-founder of a (yet to be launched) Mint competitor here [1]. One pattern I think we all see over and over again is when products get bought by a large company, they often lose their "soul" (and the original team). Both those things happened with Mint.

Another important pattern I've seen is that products, in the long-term, morph to take the form of their revenue model. Many personal finance products are free, but make money by selling data or trying to upsell you on something else that you don't need (like, say, a credit card you don't need or a tax product that is overpriced [2]). This is what happened with Mint. It became a "top-of-the-funnel" lead generation tool for other products.

This also explains a lot of the problems with the internet at large today—misaligned business models. I'd definitely encourage anyone joining (or starting) a company to think about what the revenue model they are choosing means for the product and company long-term. Every company will say they are different, and that they actually care about their users and about building a good product... and maybe in the early days, the original team can stay true to that, but eventually time and money take their toll.

Companies that really want to build lovable, user-aligned products, set up a revenue model that encourages them to stick to that long term.

[1] https://www.monarchmoney.com [2] https://www.propublica.org/article/inside-turbotax-20-year-f...

This space is really difficult to crack for a few non-obvious reasons. The first is that the total TAM is less than you think; for most people, tracking their spending to manage budgets just doesn’t appeal to them. For many consumers, just seeing all of their finances is incredibly depressing. I suspect the 13mm Mint users are a large portion of the addressable market for this kind of product. So without a strong monetization engine that will work incredibly well at only ~10mm user range, you’re in trouble. Lead-gen isn’t sufficient here; Credit Karma has 10x the userbase and much stronger signals of intent, which is why they dominate digitize acquisition. When I was there, we put a lot of thought into how to crack personal finance, and ultimately felt that “spending” was too complex and too niche. The fact is you need radically different products for different parts of your consumer audience. That’s why you’ve seen a rise of more focused products like Robinhood, Wealthfront (going after the high end), savings apps like Acorn and digits, banking apps like Chime, etc (being a bank is profitable) that have incredibly strong revenue models attached.

I think you could run a reasonable lifestyle business here if you don’t take VC, but I’m skeptical this can ever be truly mass-market.

> I think you could run a reasonable lifestyle business here if you don’t take VC, but I’m skeptical this can ever be truly mass-market.

You Need a Budget (YNAB) is proof of this. I don't believe they've taken any VC funding and are a pretty successful lifestyle business in the Budgeting/Finance space.

I hate the phrase "lifestyle business." Look: it's a business. No, it's not going to make VCs billionaires. But it's a perfectly respectable business nonetheless. Nothing wrong with that.

So I went to Wikipedia and found this definition:

"A lifestyle business is a business set up and run by its founders primarily with the aim of sustaining a particular level of income and no more; or to provide a foundation from which to enjoy a particular lifestyle."

Seems like a useful concept. What's wrong with it?

It's a useful concept when used appropriately. There is nuance that you are missing.

When used it's a description that the business owners provide based on how they run their business, then it's OK. When you use it to describe someone else's business it's often considered a slur (unless they've previously shared this with you and you know that fact.)

Many smaller companies are not actually lifestyle businesses although that term is thrown around here. The owners may be part-time because they actually operate a group of companies, grow niche companies to sell outside of the VC world, etc. They are indistinguishable from lifestyle businesses, but the owners are looking to do a lot more than sustain a level of income.

> When you use it to describe someone else's business it's often considered a slur

I see.

I find it a bit unsettling that in some cultures stating that a business has priorities other than profit at all costs is considered a slur.

If you are using "lifestyle business" to mean "a business has priorities other than profit at all costs", you are using it incorrectly. A lifestyle business is one where the owners have set a target business size and profit level, and do not try to grow past this; some owners even actively inhibit growth to keep the business from getting too large. The purpose of the business is to give its owners a fixed cash flow.

A company whose owners are working to grow the business consistently and organically is not a lifestyle business; it is also not pursuing "profit at all costs". Most privately-held businesses fall into this category.

As to "lifestyle business" being a slur, it is unfortunate that members of the growth-obsessed communities use it as such. They don't see a business with a fixed target size as serious. Incidentally, many also think the same about the organic growth case I mentioned. I ignore them, and most other things from VC startup culture.

> A lifestyle business is one where the owners have set a target business size and profit level, and do not try to grow past this; some owners even actively inhibit growth to keep the business from getting too large.

I think this is too far narrow a definition of "lifestyle business". The better definition is simply a business that fits the founder's intent and lifestyle.

I know several founders that started from nothing, built their company to turn a sizable profit and resisted big VC money.

It's demeaning and inaccurate to call them "lifestyle businesses", they made a calculated decision. Roughly, they took a chance with self-financing, and maybe a ~40% chance bet on making a good living, versus taking the VC money and having 3% on becoming unbelievably wealthy.

Given a 40% chance of making several million and a 3% chance of making billions, it's pretty reasonable for folks to take the higher probability, even if the statistical expected value is better with the VCs. These aren't people who "gave up", often, they made the smarter decisions.

Yes, of course. As you said, there is certainly a spectrum between "profit at all costs" and "fixed growth" or similar constraints. That is easy to visualize.

I find it interesting and even inspiring that some economies allow entrepreneurs to make this kind of choice. That is not my reality at all. In South-America, we grab every chance we get and don't let go. There is much less opportunity.

You nailed it. It can be either a neutral term or a slur depending on the context, as the above comment says. But I dislike it mostly for the reason you mentioned. It implies that the only really alpha, desirable businesses are those that make a bajillion dollars for VCs and don't have much benefit to customers or the general public.

Yeah, that is awful. And it's a shame that such a useful concept got a negative connotation.

People who are looking for VC funding for their business consider it a slur, because VCs will use it as a reason not to fund.

To give an analogy: “family car” is a good way of describing a safe car that fits a lot of passengers. But if you set up your SUV for rock-crawling and somebody calls it “a nice family car” you might consider it a slur.

Yes, I get the analogy. But the actual case to which it refers has much broader implications.

Sort of, but don't read too much into it.

I'm not sure it's specific to a limited set of cultures. I think there would be fairly broad cultural support for it being considered diminutive. Besides, the core of the problem is that it's only valid when that business owner describes itself as a lifestyle business.

The German Mittelstand is a more positive version of this.

It is literally "Middle Class"

They want to stop at the 'M' part in SME.

I can say that, while competition is part of every capitalist society, at least in my region of Brazil the search for work-life balance is something few entrepreneurs would be ashamed of.

Well, it ascribes an intent that may not be there. Why do you assume that the business is actively limiting growth, as opposed to trying but failing to grow? It's like calling something a pet project. You can say that about your own project, but if somebody else calls it a pet project, it could rightly be construed as demeaning.

That's a fantastic description of the business model a guy I know runs his plane tours under. He likes flying. He doesn't earn enough to justify flying just himself around in circles every weekend. So what he does is take people up with him on scenic tours. No real room to grow. He's not competitive if he tries to start scaling and actually completely cover pilots, planes, and the advertising required to keep them busy. But he keeps his hobby mostly cost neutral through word of mouth.

What it is not is a good term for any business that doesn't take VC. There are many businesses where the primary objective is to grow and make lots of money but where VC doesn't make sense. It's probably most businesses. So when someone calls a business a lifestyle business simply on the basis that the market isn't big enough to warrant VC, it's insulting to a large swath of business owners and generally a case of unwarranted elitism. Like if Zuckerberg was looking at businesses earning tens or hundreds of millions a year and went "how cute, lifestylers" it'd be shitty but at least he'd have the success to back it up. Mostly on here you see it from people just leaching off the success of their industry. They earn hundreds of thousands but use their position in tech to look down on people pulling in millions.

Someone making tens or hundred of millions of dollars a year is far beyond the definition of a lifestyle business.

At that point you will have achieved significant scale and all the headaches that come with it.

Getting back to the above post, a budgeting tool is a lifestyle business. It will likely never grow to 100m+ revenue or 200+ employees.

It can however make for a great lifestyle business that generates enough money to cover living costs with minimal investment from the owners (after initial investment of building the business).

What if their lifestyle costs tens of millions?

This just proves how stupid the label is.

It's often set up as a binary. Either you are a VC backed "big play" or you're a lifestyle business.

Which lumps a business that employs 140 people in several states and makes a few hundred thousand in profit every year with a bookstore with a cat that barely breaks even, and is closed every Wednesday so the owner can go skiing.

It's a positive term....

Sometimes. Depending on the context. But usually in SV VC circles it's a dismissive term.

> But usually in SV VC circles it's a dismissive term.


But that's always going to be true because VCs don't invest in lifestyle business.

You pretty transparently have a chip on your shoulder about this. "Lifestyle business" is not a pejorative. It can be, but it generally isn't.

Actually, I don't at all. A lot of people in tech agree with me on this. See thread.

Do not worry. There is only a tiny group of people who know the meaning of the term.

They’re great, but they aren’t super quick with features and I wish the product had more, especially when it comes to the graphical reports.

It’s also an expensive product for most people. But we do need more of these sustainable low-growth non-VC style SaaS companies out there.

If a product is good, we shouldn't judge it on its inability to continuously add new features.

Not sure I understand that. If I want feature X, and <app> doesn't have feature X, then that's a negative. Doesn't mean <app> is not "good", but it's certainly criteria by which to judge it.

If <app> is good, then its nice to focus sometimes on the fact that its good, rather than on what it doesn't have. Its similar to judging a Honda for not being a Maserati that gets 200 miles per gallon.

Sure, but whether or not I decide to stick with <app> depends on many factors. One of those is "does it do everything I need/want." If the answer is no, then that factors into my decision.

No app is gonna rub your back at night or hold your hand on your deathbed (well, yet, google is probably working on something), so "everything" isn't... really a thing.

Who said "everything"? You're just making up arguments I never made. Can we agree that an app with zero features is useless? Assuming we can, the utility of an application is a function of which features it has and how well those features are implemented. So the features are important, and how they're implemented is also important. I don't understand why that's (apparently) controversial.

Arguably, though, an app is more than just the sum of its feature list. Also, even if a feature is desirable when considered in a vacuum, that doesn't necessarily imply that adding it will improve the product.

Somewhere in between $very_long_ago and $long_ago, I stopped using a well-known personal finance app because I grew dissatisfied with it overall. It gained all sorts of genuinely useful capabilities over that time period, and didn't shed any, but still managed to become less functional (for my purposes) at the same time. I ended up replacing it with a competitor whose feature list was much, much, much smaller.

I just wish their imports were a bit more reliable. Although some of that comes down to the fact they use 3rd parties that scrape the screen of your bank, so any time something changes, it breaks the imports. (it would be great to get an API standard, with proper authentication, etc)

Also, there is a plugin that gives you more reports: https://www.toolkitforynab.com/

I love YNAB but definitely not for the reports. I've been downloading my data and analyzing it in Rstudio whenever I want prettier charts.

Agreed. Their reports are horrible and for all practical purposes useless. It has a few other warts and areas of improvement, which bother me, but none as much as the lack of reporting.

The question is what happens to these lifestyle businesses when a VC backed company comes along with a $100MM raise in the space and a free product. Do they survive? Does the team lose their livelihood?

VC money does not fix TAM, be it 100M or 1B. What is does; allows startup to pivot and find other areas of growth (hopefully really fast), which is not easy or guaranteed to work either. Recent examples like WeWork, Zume and many more... I must also add, sometimes not everything that one sees fits in the definition of TAM... by true definition of TAM, AirBnB and UBER would have been a lifestyle business when they were first started....

Luckily for most founders, a business that tops out at $10mm a year in net income is still considered a lifestyle business for most VCs.

Yep. You can probably go higher than this today - $25 million these days seems to be too small for the VCs.

That makes a ton of sense to me. In some areas, I think our natural categories obscure human variation that's important from the product perspective.

For example, task management software sounds like a coherent thing. But in practice, people think and work so differently that there will never be a solution that everybody loves. At least from personal experience, personal finance is the same way.

Meta: do you view a product through the customer's eyes or through the eyes of the person making it?

That's been an important insight for me to understand. Describing something in terms of its features/how it works, you might say "photo sharing app". But this core feature could be wrapped, packaged, marketed, and described so many different ways: flickr, Instagram, Getty Images (!!), a scientific collaboration tool, etc.

"Task management" feels similar.


With the caveat that this problem often persists even within the eyes of the customer. A lot of people would agree with the problem statement of, "I need something to help me keep track of what I have to do." But "I", "keep track of" and "what I have to do" varies widely in ways that the customer isn't aware of.

It's sort of like picking a place for a group of people to have dinner. A lot of people think they just want dinner until you say, "How about X" and then they realize their desires are much more specific.

I'm sorry, what is TAM?

Total Addressable Market - how many people might use your thing.

Good baiting to gauge how many MBA/VC types are lurking....they can't resist!

Total addressable market

Total Addressable Market

total addressable market

> The first is that the total TAM is less than you think; for most people, tracking their spending to manage budgets just doesn’t appeal to them. For many consumers, just seeing all of their finances is incredibly depressing.

I think that depends on how you address the market, actually. The Mint way, which requires continuous engagement and ad impressions, is something you’d be right about. But there’s a larger addressable market of people who intermittently think about getting their finances squared away, maybe as a New Years resolution or something. If you market to those people the way gyms do, there might be a larger market.

I think you hit the nail on the head, which is that this is only a successful business if: * The revenue model is stronger than lead-gen. * The product isn't too complex or depressing. :)

> For many consumers, just seeing all of their finances is incredibly depressing.

Fuckin' ay. Consider me one of those consumers! ...I should probably stop consuming.

I was told recently by someone who runs one of these types of apps that TAM that has been tapped so far is <1B. And these apps have been around for a while. So for some of these businesses, their consumer app can be a "wedge" to get them going, but they hedge by exploring B2B opportunities.

Mint never really lost its soul. It always seemed like it was going to try and upsell me on stuff, but that was fine by me because I'm not in the market for new credit cards or whatever. But I guess that's part of the problem, and they're just not making much money off referrals and therefore can't be bothered to improve the product?

The problem for me with Mint is that it just... stopped getting any updates, and the visualizations are not configurable at all, so if you want something that looks a bit different, or doesn't use a pie chart, or shows more things at once, you just can't do it. And it's all in Flash! I ended up building a crappy set of graphs in Excel and using Mint's csv output to try and get a more useful view of the data.

To me, the lack of updates is Mint losing its soul.

What was refreshing and different about Mint for me is that they said, "Hey, what if we really look at how people deal with their money and design accordingly?" It was a huge, innovative leap forward. It was far from perfect, but if they just kept iterating with the same spirit, I knew it would get to be something I loved. Alas, alas.

Founder of Lunch Money (https://lunchmoney.app) here! I encourage you to check us out– we aim to be that personal finance app that was built for the modern-day spender.

Exactly. Mint gave you a modern way to look at your finances instead of using your bank's terrible website.

But if it's not a modern way to look at finances....

Transaction tagging is also super bad.

I used to use it pretty regularly, but I'd spend so much time categorizing transactions, one pulldown menu at a time. I got sick of it and haven't logged in in a long time.

Same here. Tracking where my money was going was the only reason I signed up for it - having to put all that time and energy into making it actually do that killed its entire value proposition for me.

This is the main reason I stopped using it. I don't know if they pushed an update to transaction tagging, but it got really bad all of a sudden making the product much less useful to me.

Agreed. I don't know what they did but having to consistently re-categorize rent payments from whatever nonsense they were auto-categorized as killed it. Automation is great when it doesn't get things comically wrong.

If you use the web interface you can set rules to automatically categorize recurring transaction the same way in the future by hitting the details button as you categorize transactions. It works for me. Oddly I don't think the app has that feature.

I always assume that once I categorize a recurring bill as something, it will always be categorized that way. If feels like it takes recategorizing it many times before the category sticks. Which is really annoying.

If you use the web version of Mint there's an option to explicitly tell Mint to categorize it that way in the future. It works for me.

Credit Card referral was/is a big business. I remember personal finance bloggers were making $50 dollar for each referral. If mint can convince each customer to get a new card every year, it will be a 500 million dollars business. It is not huge but a sustainable business.

Mint is vastly under capitalizing on its spending data. The recs are all generic / not personalized. Not like “hey you spent $10k on groceries, you could’ve gotten $300 back with amex blue cash everyday. Sign up now and earn a $150 welcome bonus”.

I'm super interested in this solution, can you expand a bit on your motivations and help me better understand the problem?

I see a lot of times, people export to Excel to do their own analysis. I think there is something about doing it "my way" that helps me connect with the data, whether it's budgeting or (my current project) fantasy sports.

Specifically, what value do you get from exporting and creating your own graphs? How much time do you spend / how frustrating is it to have to export and build the graphs?

Specifically I wanted a stacked bar chart so I could see spending over time broken out by category. So if I had a spike, I could see "oh, I bought a plane ticket that week" and I could toggle categories on and off, and just have a graph with, say, groceries and fast food over time. Excel makes this reasonably easy to do, but you can't do it at all in Mint.

One day I will throw it into an instance of http://redash.io and have more fluent access to the data, since I write SQL-backed graphs in my actual job I'm much better with it than Excel.

You and I sound very familiar! I also have plans for personal dashboards using redash for everything from weather to a shared calendar. Also plan on putting it in a display in a Magic Mirror for aesthetics... but who has the time!

Couple questions, if you don't mind taking the time:

1) What makes you want to use Redash, instead of a spreadsheet?

2) If you had a service that (securely) sync'd data into your spreadsheet, would that provide all of the value of Redashing it?

> And it's all in Flash!

I think they moved away from Flash, I see svg now for charts

They moved the "Trending" section charts to something SVG based. The "Investment" section charts throws up a "You need Flash error" and now blocks you from navigating to other "Investment" section information even if you just wanted to look at the tables rather than graphs, making the entire "Investment" section a broken window.

I gotta say, a Mint-that-doesn't-suck is something I could absolutely see myself paying $5 a month for, for the rest of my life.

The core functionality is indispensable, but it's become so outdated, inefficient, and difficult to use that I'm champing at the bit to jump ship. I'm surprised it's taken this long for a serious competitor to emerge, given that it's been saturated with ads for at least half a decade and Plaid's been around just as long.

Try Personal Capital (https://www.personalcapital.com/). I used Mint for years but jumped ship about 6 months ago and am glad I did so.

Ive had both for forever, and I dread the day I need to export all my custom categorizations and reinput them into pc. And ill lose all my budget vs actual data. If you were just starting out now, Im not sure what id recommend, because mint still does some things better (maybe im just more familiar with) than pc. But in a strict sense, pc is lightyears ahead of mint. I might have some stockholm syndrome.

I love being able to instantly graph net cash flow over the last 10 years.

Export it to excel / sheets and don't look back.

I started doing this a while ago because Mint only tracks the maximum account value for a particular month and doesn't let you modify historical data. So once or twice a year, something with an account would change and I'd end up with a month with a 70% or something jump in net worth which would drop off the next month.

Plus, you can do projections with excel.

I agree with you; Personal Capital is very good. I use both. But they aren't interchangeable. Personal Capital is pretty good for tracking investments and net worth, but Mint is much better at budgeting and tracking monthly expenses.

I disagree. I find the budgeting to be equal (although I don't use it much in either) and personal capital to be better at tracking expenses. Both can categorize and analyze equally as well, but personal capital also has a nice cash flow view that mint lacks.

Personal Capital is free, works amazingly - not really a budgeting tool - but more an aggregating tool. Depends what you want to use it for, it does have some* budgeting capabilities.

+1 for Personal Capital, I used to use Mint but hated how buggy it was, Personal Capital has worked like a charm and I think their UI is great

+1 for personal capital, a bug free Mint basically

That's You Need A Budget, which I love paying for.

I've had a Mint account almost since launch. I've tried multiple times over the years to pick up YNAB. Last week I started taking another stab at it. The two aren't quite equivalent.

YNAB seems to pretty actively want you to "Fresh Start." One of the giant values for me with Mint is historical information. I often will dump a CSV or troll through old transactions since I can't remember which account was used. After not touching Mint for a year I could go through and touch up categories and answer if "eating out" was something I'm doing more of in Nov/Dec than January. Or I could skim through and mark deductions when filing taxes or looking for medical expenses.

My needs have changed a lot since I was clawing out of debt. I don't really see myself setting a budget, but more tracking categories to find outliers. I guess kind of like changing my diet instead of trying to make my next meal "healthy."

That said, I'd love to ditch Mint. There are so many ads garbaging up the interface. I never found their charts all that useful. Their offers seem to be whoever bought ad space this month instead of what would improve my financial situation. YNAB is way better at things like bi-montly bills that use income split up each month.

I'm still on v4, it works great and I had to pay for it once. I know the model is subscriptions these days and $7/mo ($84/annual purchase) really is nothing in the big picture but it still bugs me. Looking through their release notes it doesn't appear that there has been major improvements in the budgeting aspect of the software. If you've used v4 is it worth it?

I used v4 back in 2012-2013 (when I was in college). They switched to nYNAB a year or so after, and I hated that everything was "in the cloud" and there was an option to "automatically import transactions from my bank account." I was like, what? I thought YNAB was about manually tracking my balances so I always knew what was going on.

But I got back into budgeting in mid 2018, and I actually love all of those features. imo the $7/mo I pay is well worth the auto-transactions, auto-syncing across all devices without dropbox, ability to link several different accounts (my checking acct is with a small local credit union, I have a brokerage account, a personal loan I'm paying down, etc.).

I'd go check the YNAB forums, there's a lot of v4 users who really hate the cloud version. I tried to switch and gave it up for two reasons:

- Import from v4 is super broken for credit card accounts and I ended up with weird positive balances that don't add up based on any combination of transactions. Forum advice was "start over".

- You cannot tag income as "available for next month", instead all income must be immediately budgeted. Which is different than the old YNAB advice of being a month ahead. Forum advice is to earmark it a special category then fix it when the next month lands (https://support.youneedabudget.com/t/63pgpp/budget-using-onl...).

- No side-by-side month view. You can only view one month at a time.

The differences were too much for me and the import was so borked that I immediately gave up and stuck with v4.

I don't think your 2nd bullet is completely true, although I don't think it's the same as how it worked in v4.

You can receive income in January, then switch to February and allocate it to a category. When you switch back to January, it will not show that money in your To Be Budgeted total. So you can zero out January while having the next month already budgeted for.

My system is to switch to the next month, select all categories, then click the "Budgeted Last Month" button to automatically apply my previous budget to that month. Then I switch back to the current month and fix any underfunded categories and allocate any overflows to get the balance down to zero.

Longtime YNAB user here. It was rough moving to nYNAB at first, and I missed features for awhile. It's generally caught up and surpassed YNAB 4 in most respects. Things I still miss: the red right arrow (good reason to abandon it, but I still liked it), and being able to see three months side-by-side. Starting over occasionally is not a bad thing, IMO, and I did a fresh start with nYNAB. I created a "Next Month's Income" category, and use it exactly like YNAB 4; I don't budget beyond the current month. It woekd just fine that way. I generally ignore "Age of Money", which took over as the "Live on Last Month's Income" rule, and still follow the latter.

YNABaaS brings automatic integrations to the table and the 'sync' story is, obviously, much easier since it doesn't involve Dropbox. That's all I noticed. I did a trial and just was not impressed. In my opinion, using the SaaS version when you own the desktop software should get you a charity write-off.

What does bug me is being forced to store all my data on their servers. I'm sticking to v4 until I'm forced onto something else (or I build my own replacement)

Bank of America does it for free:


I run all of my spending through BoA credit cards / checking accounts, and they automatically categorize 99% of transactions and there's a nice little report of the last 12 months. It also incorporates Merrill data, and you can add other companies' logins to so BoA can import those transactions too, but I'm not a fan of giving out login information.

Its not just BofA - Amex does a great job of classifying your transactions and giving you monthly and yearly reports on your spending. Other banks with "premium" credit cards do similar things.

I'm sure many do, others in the thread have noted USAA and PNC. Doesn't seem like a hard thing to implement.

Founder of Lunch Money (https://lunchmoney.app) here– I encourage you to check us out! I started Lunch Money because I was also surprised there wasn't a modern-day competitor to Mint.

How do you guys do the importing? (Specifically do you use a bank API service such as plaid?)

I'm unsure if this is still the case, but they relied entirely on Plaid when I tried it. I don't necessarily have a problem with this, however Plaid doesn't support some of my most critical accounts. In the end, this is why I had to stop using Lunch Money.

It's more UK-centric perhaps, but I've had a great time with Money Dashboard[0] for tagging and multiple-accounts overview. The In/Out chart is great for checking that I'm not spending too much each month.

[0] https://www.moneydashboard.com/ [0.1] affiliate: https://share.moneydashboard.com/71926HSZ

Lots of these exist. I pay for PocketSmith.

Wealthfront is great as well. The projections are far better than anything else I've seen.

It's old school, but I use Quicken. It works fine and it's less than $5/month.

Co-founder of Truebill here. Try Truebill! And let me know what you think.

Sure but... Let's not kid ourselves. The FIs are actively killing these products because we all realize how much we can damage the PBR stickiness of American banks.

The "KLO-ification" of Mint, the C1Acquisition of Level, Visa tactically grabbing Plaid: they're all to consolidate the industry and allow existing players to stifle the American banking landscape.

I’ve looked at a lot of budgeting apps. In order of priority, I want:

1. Don’t be evil (aka don’t be intuit)

2. Web based with some sane security (2fa, encryption at rest, etc)

3. The ability to sync transactions from my bank.

4. Budgeting/reporting.

5. Some sort of sane forecasting. You’ve got N months of data from a customer, why can’t you tell them in 6 months this account is expected to have $x in it?

6. Sane APIs.

No one I’ve been able to find has been able to do all 6 of these.

> 4. Budgeting/reporting.

> 5. Some sort of sane forecasting. You’ve got N months of data from a customer, why can’t you tell them in 6 months this account is expected to have $x in it?

I work on a methodology engine and have implemented both of these, at least on the data side, and they are essentially aspects of the same thing.

Fundamentally, what's hard is user trust. If they see numbers that don't make sense, explaining that "technically you told us this and this which all adds up to that" sounds like "we can't do arithemtic" to users.

The budget needs to agree with the forecasts. And the forecast doesn't quite semantically "fit" the budget; your forecast shouldn't "know" about the future or it can't give faithful metrics whereas your budget is supposed to plan ahead.

It also gets tricky when people use the damned thing, because your system needs to be resilient to users not doing the things they promised to do. For example, if they promise to deposit $500 in projected account A, but instead deposit it in tracked account B, you would project that the money lands in A, and also report that there's $500 more in B. So now those totals are off.

And budgeting itself is a surprisingly tricky problem. There are so many techniques to make a budget work that selecting good ones is hard. And users will say, "oh, I always want to spend $500 on this," and when that results in something stupid, "well, obviously not then." Even without that, it's hard to make the budget not do weird stuff that gives a user a WTF moment. The most counter-intuitive stuff tends to happen when the person is running low on funds, but that's also the raison d'etre of a budget.

> 3. The ability to sync transactions from my bank.

> 6. Sane APIs.

Between not making money off the APIs, having the user get frustrated being bounced between my support and the competitor, and that the APIs become another component that must be secured and administered, I'm not surprised APIs are uncommon.

Which makes me sad.

I'm the founder of Buxfer (https://www.buxfer.com)

Forecasting is one of the strongest aspects of our product. We also provide alerts ahead of time if we can predict your account balance will fall below zero (or whatever threshold you configure). Forecasting can also be used to preview your expenses/income/cashflow for the upcoming months / years.

We do have an API, but I admit it's not the best around. Other than that, our product does all the 6 things you point out.

Happy to hear more feedback at shashank@buxfer.com

I like your privacy policy. It's reasonably easy to read, has a nice chart, and makes nice sounding promises.

Why don't you link to it from your home page? I had to do a Google site search to find it. (And maybe even put the 'what we share' chart somewhere more prominent)

Added. Was an oversight, thanks for pointing out!

No problem. I see it now on desktop but not mobile.

True, fixing mobile is slightly more involved due to the current design. But I've made a note and we will get it fixed soon!

Makes sense. I'll definitely be looking into your product, it seems quite useful.

What do y'all use for aggregation? CashEdge, Plaid, something else entirely?

We were doing it in-house for a while, but switched to Yodlee and SaltEdge for the past 2 years or so.

Thanks :-)

Founder of Lunch Money (https://lunchmoney.app) here– I encourage you to check us out! We've got everything you're looking for except for #5 (forecasting) and our developer API is nearing completion and we'll be beta-testing that soon!

#5 is so critical. If you can’t enter transactions ahead of time and know where you will be, then what is the point?

7. auto-categorization

> It became a "top-of-the-funnel" lead generation tool for other products

If I recall correctly, the original pitch deck for Mint stated that this was the plan. Weird to say it morphed into something that was just the original vision.

Edit: found the deck https://www.slideshare.net/hnshah/mintcom-prelaunch-pitch-de...

That's not their pitch deck. That's a class or competition project.

Source: was attending Berkeley with the people listed on the first slide when this was published.

Totally. But, and I'm speaking more generically than Mint here, in the early days of a company, a team (esp the founder) can more easily navigate the tension between revenue generation and building a great product. That's a lot harder to do as part of a larger (and especially publicly-traded) company.

Hey, just wondering: was the fast company article was placed there by your PR people?

Not that there's anything wrong with that, I'm just curious.

No, this wasn't placed. Fast Company was already working on the article and just reached out to our CEO for comment.

I wrote the story and I can confirm that. It's been on my to-do list for a while--I had another client turn down the idea--and I finally remembered to pitch it to my editor at FC after being irked yet again at Mint telling me to install Flash, tweeting out my frustration and deciding I should monetize that frustration.

(Val made his way into the post when another ex-Mint dev tweeted his apologies for what had become of the site; I got in touch with him and he suggested I talk to Val.)

> Many personal finance products are free, but make money by selling data or trying to upsell you on something else that you don't need (like, say, a credit card you don't need or a tax product that is overpriced [2]). This is what happened with Mint. It became a "top-of-the-funnel" lead generation tool for other products.

Question about MonarchMoney. Is it going to be a cloud service or a standalone old-fashion desktop software? Most of serious personal finance people would prefer desktop software in order to protect their own data. However, most consumers prefer a free and hosted solution. Which market is MonarchMoney going after?

Initially we're going to be cloud-based, but we hope to support other storage models.

Cogent Question: So are you saying you have a theory on how to build a business model here that continues to help people after they've gotten their budget sorted out?


Twice, I've had coworkers - developers, mind you - tell me in a meeting with the whole team that "We're not going to turn away money." Both times I was left speechless, and silently judging like mad.

Because if you really dig into what a statement like that says about their character, you're going to be very, very disappointed, possibly lose respect for them, and once you have no respect the temptation to say something unpleasant is much higher.

Which is not to say, "I'm surrounded by scoundrels." There's something systemic there. When we have to repeat back what we've said or how we've behaved it's often a lot easier to see that we're disappointed in ourselves. That this is not the person you want to be. You know someone who has done this to you, or rather, for you. You might even hate it a little bit at first but they've done you a huge favor. Eventually you see it.

Problem is, there's no incentive or even huge disincentives to try to do things like this in a business setting. I'm sure this has been playing out in slow motion at Google, if only for statistical reasons. It seems to happen most places.

Good to see that there are some other competitors looking to emerge. I've had several discussions with my colleagues who can't stand Mint, have used YNAB to life-changing effect, but feel like they've "outgrown" the YNAB philosophy as it's targeted towards people still looking to set a solid financial foundation. They also have to straddle multiple tools for different purposes - YNAB for budgeting, Personal Capital for investment tracking, typically. Looks like you're aiming to fill in the gap there. Looking forward to seeing what y'all come up with!

I have a few requests for you:

1. Allow people to enter transactions ahead of time and plan ahead. I dropped Mint in favor of Quicken because no other tool allows me to properly plan ahead. But Quicken still lacks support for a number of financial institutions as well as stock options.

2. Please support stock options and non-public wealth tracking. Quicken has to be shoehorned into it, Personal Finance supports it but doesn’t allow you to plan ahead. You could do a lot here for people.

3. Have it be cross-platform. I wish I could edit Quicken transactions on my phone but I get this dumbed down synced version that is practically useless.

Put those three in and I’ll be one happy user.

> 1. Allow people to enter transactions ahead of time and plan ahead

This is such a no brainer. I tend to buy tickets to concerts/shows at times two months of time and I want to reflect that in that month's spending and not this months.

FYI - you can forward-date purchases in Mint by a few months.

Just click on the transaction and then again on the date and modify.

You can’t manually enter transactions in the register though last I checked. That’s the essential thing - predictive cash flow.

Hi there, always interested in personal finance services, but I'm having a hard time understanding from your website what sets Monarch apart from other apps?

How does it differ from YNAB (of which I am a big fan), for example? At first glance YNAB has all the same features shown on your website, and the "budget with ease" screenshot in particular could have been taken right from YNAB.

And what exactly does "The first all-in-one personal finance platform" mean? What does it have that others don't?

Hope this doesn't come off as overly critical! I am really interested.

Thanks for asking! We're not yet ready to share too much, but if you're really curious feel free to find me (LinkedIn link in profile).

At a high level, though, if you read the complaints in the rest of this thread you'd get a pretty good sense of what a product in this space would need to do to be successful (of course).

YNAB is great as a budgeting tool if you're willing to subscribe to their entire budgeting system, which most people aren't.

Thank you for the thoughtful response. This is anecdotal, but I signed up for Mint as a pretty naive college student who had no idea that Mint was tossing my financial data all over the damn place. A few years later I eventually learned how Mint really works and promptly deleted my account (and then purged as much advertising data as I could in a bout of paranoia).

I hope the next generation of personal finance apps maintain strict privacy guarantees while running on a subscription model. I'll definitely be giving Monarch a look!

1. Is your new service still based on Yodlee backend? Everyone else who provides any consolidation service seems to. I am not saying they are bad, but it is better to be clear upfront.

2. Are their any features for Pro consumers who are not looking for budgeting or retirement planning? I don’t mind paying $100 a year for a good service. I would rather not have it free.

3. I am ready to switch banks or even brokerage firms if they provide a saner integration with your service

Hi. Monarch co-founder here.

1. We are primarily using Plaid, but will support multiple data aggregators to provide our users with the best coverage for their financial institutions.

2. Yes. We will go way beyond what current products do. I can't go into specifics ahead of our launch, but we are confident we can help people achieve better financial outcomes cheaper and faster.

Our view is that a subscription-based model allows us to align our incentives with our users and focus on building the best product, rather than trying to optimize for advertising partners or data sales. On the latter point, we highly value privacy and will not share nor sell your financial data.

3. That's great to hear!

I fear there exists a class of product that seems like a great idea, but can only survive in a "big" acquisition, and that getting acquired is a poison-pill. Mint may be one of those. We have a regional clone of Mint called 22Seven that was acquired by Old Mutual (a big insurance company), which means I'm not going near them with my banking data.

One of the features I think these types of products need going forward is end-to-end encryption. There's simply too much data being exchanged between Plaid, this service and any third parties used. Someone's every transaction, investment, and budget will be too lucrative not to sell. I would pay for a service that could keep all this data private.

You can use Quicken. It is a desktop software and does not store your data/password in the cloud.

Out of curiosity, is Monarch using Plaid for financial data aggregation? I have been wondering how long it would take for a standalone budget/asset tracker to emerge using Plaid's services. It seems most Plaid users are selling other financial products, and tack on aggregation as an additional feature, like Personal Capital.

From their Privacy Policy[1], they are:

> We use Plaid Inc. ("Plaid") to gather End User data from financial institutions. By using our service, you grant Monarch and Plaid the right, power, and authority to act on your behalf to access and transmit your personal and financial information from the relevant financial institution. You agree to your personal and financial information being transferred, stored, and processed by Plaid in accordance with the Plaid Privacy Policy.

[1] https://www.monarchmoney.com/privacy

This is a super packed field. There are many budget apps out there. I was unhappy with all of them so I wrote my own. For a while I had some thoughts of pushing it and turning it into a company, but ultimately I just kept it for myself. Good luck, would love to see a budget app that is truly good.

I did the same thing. Shocked that five years later there still isn’t a great app that really wows. I think the fundamental problem is that the data is broken. Banks don’t get context from the merchants, and the devs only get ugly data from the banks. The only way this situation will improve is if we can somehow get devs better data. I kicked around ideas on how to do that for a year or so before running out of steam.

Would love to hear more about what you tried and what you learned, if you're up for it. Couldn't find a way to reach you but if you're open to it, my linkedin is in my profile link.

How are you going to get around 2FA? NerdWallet (which probably has more than enough money to hire lots of really good engineers to solve this problem) consistently has problems syncing my 401k/credit card/checking accounts.

I have had an idea of how I would want to build a mint competitor, but I’m not up for the challenge. But I’d love to see yours. Can I get on the email list? My username at google’s free email service..

I still can't believe Mint is free. In the era of subscriptions, I'd totally be willing to pay for it, especially if it led to actual development and ability to have useful support.

Psyched to try it! Any idea what the wait list time frames are looking like? I'm currently at position 11,178.

How are you approaching your product in a way that discourages your company from morphing it into a money manager that upsells your users credit cards or loan products?

YAMC? (Yet another mint copy?).

There are a lot of apps out there doing pretty much same thing as mint - can you give us a preview of how your app will be different?

I did an 'onboarding' with you guys. Really wanted to like the app, but stills seems very early in the ideation phase.

When are you going to have a beta out?

How do you guarantee to your users that the company will never be sold to another company?


Is this one of those things where if they fail you can point to this post as validation for your genius, but if they succeed you get to claim credit for motivating them?

Win win baby.

They didn't lose their soul. They never had one. It was a financial scheme from beginning to end. There was never any intention to produce anything useful. Probably one of the founders had a rich daddy.

One of my longest standing mint mysteries is how I alone was A/B tested into them trying to bum pizza off me: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CSg_ZxLU8AAF96d?format=png&name=...

I haven't been able to find any other confirmation that this was a thing outside the one time I saw it.

Yikes, for-profit companies begging their customers for handouts to pay their employees? What a shit show.

Could be a malicious browser extension or virus trying to steal your payment or bank login credentials in a seemingly innocuous way.

This is hilarious. Thanks for sharing.

That sounds like a April Fool's joke. Or maybe they saw you are a billionaire pizza entrepreneur?

I think it's just an awkward way to write $5, $15, and $30.

lmao is this real

I switched to https://ynab.com a while back. It's not exactly the same concept as what Mint was intended to be, but I couldn't be happier with the move.

I have been using YNAB for over 2 years since my 50 year old mother somehow found out about it. It is a different way to think about budgeting and the tool only excels if you work within the "YNAB principles". I would recommend reading the companion book You Need a Budget before starting with the app. It was important for me to digest and understand the philosophy before I started using the tool. Otherwise I believe I would have been turned off by the rigidity.

I seem to respond well to defined, rigid systems. I handle all my task management via the systems outlined in Getting Things Done. I'd be curious what other books are out there for handling aspects of life with a systemic, opinionated approach (professional life, social life, dating, etc.)?

I tried really hard to like ynab, but I just couldn't get the hang of it. I think the hangup is that I'm not really looking for a budgeting tool, I just want to categorize and see where my money is going - less so planning. Its easy to do that with Mint as budgeting in Mint feels more like an addon then a core concept.

Founder of Lunch Money (https://lunchmoney.app) here– I encourage you to check us out! I'd like to think we're a more non-opinionated and simple alternative to YNAB.

I'll just throw in an extra 1up here. I am a very happy customer of Lunch Money. It's the only app I have ever stuck with for any amount of time.

It is still early days for the product, bur it is rapidly improving and the creator is very good and communicate. The couple of times I have requested support (mostly for feature suggestions), she has gotten back to me very quickly.

Out of all the services listed here, yours looks the best. I’ll try it out once I start my new gig in a month.

I don't really use YNAB to strictly budget either, but more for tracking as well. Essentially, I budget the fixed categories (mortgage, property taxes, insurance, etc.), move some fixed amount to a savings category, and then leave the rest as "To Be Budgeted".

Then, as the month goes on and some of the categories that didn't have a fixed budget are "over budget", I just move the required money to the individual category to zero it out. Anything that caries over to the next month goes to the savings category.

I couldn't handle the forced system in ynab - it's clunky and I want a budget program not a whole new budget system. To me less useful than an excel budget because it tries to force you to do things it's way.

I'd rather use Excel than be forced to use their stupid system.

You might like Tiller Money. It's basically the bank integration that Mint and YNAB have, but instead of being forced to use their interface it backs out the data into an Excel/Google spreadsheet that you can build your own system on top of. (It costs money, but after what happened to Mint I consider "sustainable business model that doesn't involve selling your data" a feature for this sort of service.)

Only allowing logins via google is highly disappointing, and makes tiller unusable for me.

The last thing I want to associate with my google account is my financial data.

While I can understand not wanting to create a Google account (even just to use as a login), my understanding is that if you use Tiller via Excel, Google will not have access to any of your financial data.

Check out Tiller; I tried both it and ynab, and went with ynab because I'm the opposite of you, at least in this regard :)

Why is it a new budget system? You just categorize the money you have right now, there you go, that’s your budget.

If you're using it for budget management, YNAB is much, much better than Mint.

Been using YNAB for over 5 years now, since back when it was a pay-once desktop application. Can't live without it at this point.

The best part for me is how it handles where money you earn goes, it always goes to next month, not the current month (granted, after I graduated college it took me a bit to actually get back into this because of living with effectively 0 income for 4 years), so you know that you're already budgeted for the month when you get into it. That feeling is super comforting for me.

I've been using it for about two months now, and while it takes a little getting used to, it is so much more powerful for actually getting a handle on your finances. Highly recommend.

I finally feel like I have a solid handle on my budget, Mint never gave that to me.

I really like ynab, but they stopped importing my discover card months ago and they have basically declared that there is nothing they can do since their partner can't do anything about it. There is a contingent of their users who claim that it's better that way, but if I'm manually adding transactions and categorizing everything my self, then why not use an excel sheet instead of paying 90 dollars a year.

I'm on month two of ynab, and I'm a total convert. It's been extremely valuable to me so far. We'll see if I can stick with it.

The Flash requirement in 2020 kills me. Account synch gets stuck and never finishes. Correctly categorizing transactions usually involves pulling up my bank website to see how the charge was really originally described. Mint pulls some info on this but it's often truncated, so you can try to set up rules but there are often collisions because of that bad incoming data.

Somehow in an era where personal data on spending habits is supposed to be extremely valuable, they can't afford to fix the product, and this is the best we can get.

I feel like they aren't even trying with the categorization.

Every payday, I get an email notification from Mint asking if I recently made a large purchase, in the amount of my paycheck.

Why even bother having a transaction categorization system, if it can't tell the difference between a deposit and a withdrawal?

Cant you tell it "always categorize"

You can tell it, it won't necessarily work.

I've recategorized a certain transaction pattern and marked it "always categorize" every paycheck for several months.

This! The account synchronization regularly breaks and will tell me that my "Credentials are Out of Date" at which point I then go, and sign in again only to be dumped at the loading page of my financial institution with nothing happening. An hour later Mint will be fine. I don't understand how they can regularly such a large integration broken.

When I first heard of Mint and realized they wanted all my financial passwords, I was uneasy. Seeing where they are now — using Flash in 2020 — I'm glad they don't have my info.

My impression of Intuit's acquisition of Mint was always that it was done precisely so that it wouldn't grow and become a major player in personal finance. That what they were really purchasing was the Mint userbase in an attempt to cross sell them on paid products. And so they have kept Mint around with the absolute bare minimum of effort for the sales funnel through to revenue generating products

I have this same impression, but I also use Mint to organize my finances.

I'm a big fan of how I can categorize expenditures and export them as CSV's or charts, which I can then send to my accountant for an easy tax season.

Without this (so far) free tool - as I have not paid for anything Intuit related minus likely my personal data - my annual U.S. taxes would be a massive pain in the rear end, being that I'm self-employed.

I use Wave, free accounting tool that has ledger and account-driven structure (i.e., you set, say a "Software" account, perhaps with a sub account of "subscription" etc.) I was able to use it to setup the exact structure I needed to categorize expenses/revenue to correspond to my Schedule C every year. Connects to credit cards and bank accounts to capture all of those transactions too. It's been extremely useful for me, though I'm not sure how long that will continue: They were purchased by H&R Block this past year.

Yup. As an avid Mint user, nothing as happened to Mint as far as I care. The people working on Mint competitors are probably going to get a rude awakening. Sharing one's bank and brokerage passwords is not done lightly, after all.

What tool will take Mint’s place for this exact use case?

The killer feature I am waiting for is any site or app with automatic transaction importing from my bank without requiring me to input my online banking password and thus being one data breach away from someone having full access to all my accounts (sms-based 2FA notwithstanding)

This is a solved problem in tech (OAuth, I think) so clearly there are perverse financial incentives (ie. my bank doesn't want to make it easy to me to export my data)

Does anyone know what would have to happen to make this possible? My bank is in Canada, if that matters.

Or a financial institution could create read-only accounts with no permission to transfer any money anywhere. Besides fintech apps, these are useful for guardians of young or elderly to monitor them. Or when I am traveling in an area with untrustworthy wireless or cellular and want to see if a transaction cleared.

Fidelity Brokerage has this kind of account.

The issue is that many banks treat "read access" as a piece of verifying info that can give full account access.

It’s my understanding that banks in the EU must make their APIs public after PSD2. So...regulation is about the only thing they will get the incumbent to share their data

Yes, you need bank collaboration and they don't want to share the data. Right now the only way to get it is web scraping, basically.

You could create a company that stores all your credentials for you, and they perform an OAuth layer, but then you have to trust them :)

Fintech companies have tried to get at this goldmine of user data. You got it right, banks will never willingly give away this treasure trove of highly monetizable and privileged data abd drive their memberbade away from their own digital offerings.

There are ways. I'm working on one right now! It's not easy and go to market will take a looong time so I'm keeping my day job but I believe it's a problem worth solving.

> It's not easy and go to market will take a looong time so I'm keeping my day job but I believe it's a problem worth solving.

Is your solution technical, or do you also have a solution for the fact that it's a service banks have no incentive to offer? (And incentives not to)

Try a European bank, but I get the impression that they firmly wait until local regulation allows what they’ve built for elsewhere.

For personal tiller excel with service account credentials

Spendee? Not sure if they expanded out of Europe finally.

This is a solved problem in the EU thanks to PSD2.

Just going to post a great alternative that people over at http://reddit.com/r/financialindependence/ recommend Personal Capital http://personalcapital.com/

I've been using it for about 4 years now. Best money management system I've used in a long time

> Just going to post a great alternative

To clarify, personal capital is for US residents

From their support page:

>Although you can access the Personal Capital application from any location, we currently only support U.S based financial institutions (currency, USD) for linking accounts. Note that for security reasons, you will need a valid U.S. phone number to sign up for Personal Capital.


"For security reasons" is laughable.

They want your phone number because their "advisors" blow up your phone every month or two trying to get you to use their financial services (which I'll never do). They also like telling me in the UI that I'm "not putting enough of my money" to work or some BS, just cause I like having a little nest egg.

That being said, it's a massively useful tool. I'll gladly let my Pixel spam filter their calls every couple months in return for being able to track my net worth and investments so easily.

I can confirm they will blow up your phone. I went through with their sales pitch once (didn't buy) and afterwards they stopped calling.

I use it in addition to Mint actually. Mint for tracking spending and PC for macro view, like net worth/investments. I recommend Personal Capital for this as well.

That's what ephemeral VoIP numbers are for. For a couple of bucks and ten minutes to install and configure the software you're all good.

Personal Capital is good, however, be aware they require a phone number for 2FA and they will call you once every 1-2 years on that phone number to try to sell you their advising services.

To me it's still worth that annoyance. The only thing I use it for is balancing my portfolio across ~8ish different brokerage accounts.

Personal capital is amazing for investments, but it's shit for budgeting, and that's why Mint still rocks.

Came here to say this. I use both and Personal Capital works better for investments than Mint and Mint for other things. I am still not satisfied with Mint Budgeting and I am currently trying YNAB. Mint sync with banks works better than all and YNAB is not intuitive to use (at least for me) . Maybe I am not the right demographic.

Same situation, I'm religious with budgeting in Mint, and Personal Capital gives me my over all net worth progress.

The Mint trends let you look at net worth and income over time... what makes Personal Capital so much better for looking at net worth progress? Genuinely curious because I might switch over if there's actual differentiation.

The biggest problem I had with Mint and investment accounts was that they were flaky, and always had some type of issue connecting. Personal Capital on the other hand works flawlessly with them. Conversely Mint seems to always work with other things like credit cards, while I run into issues on PC sometimes.

Haven't had the connection issue on my end. Ah well, seems like there's no reason to switch things over!

I switched to Personal Capital last year after I became frustrated with Mint's stagnation, and it's a dramatic improvement.

Personal Capital does a really good job in squeezing out analytics from your Cashflow. Great tool.

Could you say what's good about it for you? Like task-management software, I think the "money management" category hides a lot of variation in how people think about and do things. The right product for one person is definitely the wrong product for another.

I switched because Personal Capital has much nicer UI and tools for understanding your investments. As my income increased over my career I found that budgeting was becoming the least complex part of my financial life compared to managing retirement, brokerage, stock grants, etc. funds.

I agree on PC being much better in tracking investments and performance especially as net worth increases compared to mint. I have also found it to be more solid connection wise vs. Mint over the last year where mint has really gone downhill for me for some reasonwith many unresolved issues, whereas the PC support tickets I filed were resolved rather promptly. Not all is great, categorization and tagging of transaction is terrible, and you can't have sub categories, so if you need that, you need to use something else, which is not great.

I tried it out after seeing all the glowing reviews in this thread and it couldn't connect to ally.com.

Can it aggregate/scrape data from your accounts though if you have 2FA setup on all your various accounts?

I've been using Mint daily for 12 years.

The #1 thing that I need from Mint is 100% reliable integrations so it can automatically pull all my data, which it no longer provides. I have been talking to their support for about a year asking to fix an integration with US's largest mortgage servicer.

The #2 thing is reliable inference of transaction categories. That's also starting to wither. Categories are all over the place.

Everything else I really don't care about. Even if there's on interface and just a big "Export to CSV" button I'd be thrilled about it.

> The #1 thing that I need from Mint is 100% reliable integrations

So Mint does it's own integrations instead of using something like Yodlee or Plaid. For me, Mint has been way more rock solid than sites that use the others. All of them have gotten way worse over the years as banks have cranked up security and generally been hostile to APIs like this.

Personally, I'm looking to move my financial services in order to get better integrations (specifically faster ACH transfers and integrations like Mint). There's no reason a secure solution (that doesn't involve me giving Mint my credentials and allows read-only access) can't be widely adopted.

I 100% agree with this, as an active Mint user. The integrations lately are terrible. I have to reconnect most accounts almost weekly, and they usually still fail after that. It's incredibly frustrating.

I use Mint purely as an API to coalesce and export the transaction history. I then use a Google Sheets workbook to view my balance and expenditures (by Mint-assigned category) over time — allowing for coarse insights, prioritization, and adjustment.

The Mint-assigned categories are terrible, and I regularly have to review and re-assign categorizations.

It you’re just using it to get data into Google Sheets then you should checkout https://Tillerhq.com

Do you have blank templates of your Sheets workbooks that you could share?

I don't know whether this is just nostalgia, or maybe my finances used to be less complicated, but nothing beats the experience I had with the Microsoft Money desktop app.

It was easy to download transactions from participating banks (I think in OFX format?) and it was easy to see the last successful sync date per account. The UI made it straightforward to categorize my transactions and dead-simple to compare monthly spend against an easily mutable budget.

In fact it was so easy to use that for a good long while I found myself manually entering cash receipts and even tracking my cash purchases. And it cost $0. It felt better than Quicken for personal finance.

Maybe I have missed some major innovation in personal finance software -- I largely use Mint and home-grown spreadsheets now, and I keep hearing that people use paid tools like YNAB or free complementary-to-the-company's-real-job tools like the Personal Capital suite -- but this all feels like it's worse now.

I agree. I tried GNU cash afterwards but it wasn’t the same.

Some early Microsoft products were so good - I was once lost in the middle of the Netherlands, typed a nearby company name in Microsoft Autoroute and got directions to my destination. All offline.

Nowadays, I’m can’t even get Windows 10 to navigate me to the correct program from the start menu search.

Totally agree. Microsoft Money was close to perfect sometime in the 2000s. I am really sad that it got abandoned.

Presumably it still runs, do the integrations with banks no longer work?

Last time I tried no. If I remember correctly one bank after the other abandoned OFX.

What did they abandon it for, QBO?

I think for nothing. Are there any desktop programs that allow you to pull bank data without scraping?

Fun alternate history: Microsoft wins government approval of its Intuit purchase and spins off Money to Novell as promised, Novell handles Money as well as it did WordPerfect, and then nobody wants to challenge Microsoft-owned Quicken.

I use Personal Capital and love it. It's just better when you have a variety of 15+ assets and supports things like Carta. Admittedly, it's been a long time since I used Mint but I now need a much broader view. I don't really care about my individual transactions; I'm more focused on turning a different set of knobs at this point in life.

My biggest complaint about Personal Capital is the frequent phone calls from their financial advisors despite asking them to stop. I'd be happy to pay $10+ a month just for their aggregation services but my private bank is leaps ahead in terms of sophistication and access to alternative investments not typically available to the public.

I don't know if it was the cause of it, but I scheduled a meeting with the PC advisor and all of the calls stopped, presumably because I was going to talk to someone on the phone. Fortunately, they didn't have any validation on the dates so my appointment is scheduled for June 2076 or something. This has a slightly different annoyance since there's now an overlay on the top of the body that says "Prepare for your upcoming call" but at least no phone calls.

Their sales calls are the reason I deleted my PC account and (reluctantly) returned to Mint. I, too, would be willing to pay some small subscription amount.

Same experience here. Tried to switch from Mint to PC, got like 5 calls from them in the first week or so, cursed the caller out over the phone on the fifth one, and then immediately deleted my account after. It's predatory and it completely destroyed any trust I reluctantly gave them in the first place.

I really wish there were self-hosted options for seeing all of your finances in a single spot. Even paid options. That's what I really want.

It took me calling them out in a tweet to get myself off these calls. The only place I used my phone number was for two factor auth, which they then decided they would use to up sell me. There's also no way to opt out on their website. Very shady practice but love the product otherwise

I dunno... I kind of like the fact it hasn't changed.

I've been using it for years. It does what it needs to do, and literally nothing else.

Most of the charts and graphs work fine. It seems to be specifically the investment ones that require Flash, which is a bummer. Honestly I'd never used them before, so hadn't even noticed.

But in contrast to other software that completely overhauls its interface (usually for the worse) every few years, and turns into slower and slower bloatware... I guess it's kind of refreshing to me that Mint hasn't changed... knock on wood.

I've been using https://lunchmoney.app/ since it launched. On top of being one of the cleaner saas apps I use the developer has been super responsive whenever I've submitted feedback or feature requests. It's the first budgeting/expense tracking app I've ever actually stuck with which I attribute to the aforementioned "cleanness"/usability. Genuine +1 from me (and I'm not even including my referral link)

Founder of Lunch Money (https://lunchmoney.app) here– thank you everyone for the mention!

For those who haven't heard of Lunch Money, we launched originally on Show HN back in October 2019. I'm a solo founder and this is my full-time job. My motivation is to create a non-opinionated, delightfully simple to use personal finance tracker. We are a subscription-based service and I don't intend on ever selling ads. My intention is to keep this an indie product and continue improving for our small but growing user base.

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to jen@lunchmoney.app

LunchMoney has been amazing and the quality & speed of new features has been impressive considering it's being built by one developer!

I've also become a Lunchmoney convert. To me, it really has the feel of Mint in the early days -- responsive developer, clean UX, and narrow focus. Definitely a product I'm happy to pay for.

Does it ingest transaction data from all major credit cards like Mint can? It only says "banks" on the landing page.

The data comes from plaid.com, so take a look.

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