What are you still doing here, the blog post is done. Shoo.
Ok fine, I’ll say it again. Mint.com changed my life.
This is not a fanatical statement. I don’t say it with the wide-eyed fervor of a zealot proselytizing his chosen idol, but with the calm rationale of fact-grounded retrospect. I do not run around yelling at friends, family, and strangers on the street, “Try Mint.com, it will change your liiiiiiiiiiife.” (Textually simulated Doppler effect is hard.) Instead I sit at my computer or my desk on the day I pay bills and think to myself, “Man, this app is just the best. I need to make sure my fiancee uses this before we get married.” This app has quietly made my life better.
Mint.com, in the basest form of its use, is an aggregator, allowing me to link all of my accounts to one place. It allows me to see the big picture, as it were, and allows me to develop a philosophy for that particular month. I have lean months. I have fat months. The shape of those months, however, comes from the information gleaned from having all my accounts listed on a single page, and updated from the companies that hold those very accounts. It also allows me to see my spending trends, so that little bit of lying to yourself that you really needed to spend $748 on fidget spinners and mobile app games is no longer as convincing.
Another thing, and this is the thing that makes me feel like a financial genius, is that Mint gives you a monthly soft credit report from Equifax, one of the big three credit bureaus. In addition to giving you the score, there is a breakdown of what goes into the score you have, what goals will help you raise that score, and how long negative impacts on your score will stick around. It doesn’t take very much brain power (thus how I feel like a genius) to determine a rough course of action that will allow you to raise your credit score. As a reference, I have raised mine 10 points last month, and almost 40 points since I started using this feature. Information really is power, and this information grants anyone the power to get other people to loan them money at slightly better interest rates.
The last function of Mint.com that I use, is the bill pay feature. It already tracks your bills, the functionality to pay them from accounts already linked to the same site is a no-brainer (again, very good for me). Even if you are nervous about putting all your information into one place, Intuit, who owns TurboTax, is about as safe a bet as you will find. If you aren’t going to give your information to Intuit, chances are you probably aren’t going to feel comfortable linking your accounts to anything. Which is your prerogative, again I am not a zealot.
Mint.com has other features, such as budget setting functionality, links to TurboTax for easy tax filing next April, financial blog posts (sorry for mentioning another blog on here, Jimmy), and suggestions for various banks, credit cards, lenders, etc. I am not as qualified to speak to that as I do not currently use those features, but it is nice to have them there.
I am getting married in October, and in taking the long view of my finances, my future, and my family, I turned to Mint.com and instead of foundering, I came up with a purpose and a plan. I am not a zealot. I am not a proselyte. I am not the guy you shy away from at parties because he doesn’t have any other topics of conversation (you shy away from me at parties because I have too many topics of conversation). I am, however, a believer that Mint.com is a very very good way to change your life for the better. To gain the power of information, and to be given a direction to point that power. I do not shout it in the streets, but I will say:
Mint.com changed my life.
The previous guest post was by the incomparable Marcus; philosophy major from Montreat college, purveyor of Biblical truth, the seeker of serenity! . . the one, the only Sir Ulrich Von Liechtenstein! (ok, maybe I exaggerated a little on that last part)