Author Topic: Mint net worth change - changing history?  (Read 11052 times)

frugalnacho

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4033
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Madison Heights, Michigan
Mint net worth change - changing history?
« on: January 13, 2016, 10:45:47 PM »
I've been using mint since about March 2014, and have made a few major adjustments as I learn how to better use it to get a more accurate view, and it provides a noticeable change in my net worth which I expect.  For example I originally added my house with a set value I thought it was worth at the time.  Several months later I decided to link it to zillow to pull the zestimate automatically.  I have added some accounts here and there, and deleted others, and I think I have a pretty accurate overview of my entire net worth at this point.  Some of these changes made drastic changes in my net worth, like the house example where my net worth suddenly jumped tens of thousands of dollars over night.  I decided I wasn't getting an accurate historical view because of some of these major changes, so I exported the data and manually corrected some of these changes so I could get the real picture of changing net worth, and was planning on updating it every month.

I have my own spread sheet that I am putting in Assets, Debts, and then calculating a total net worth based on those values and graphing it.  I have been trying to put the new data in every month, but the new data I am downloading from mint isn't matching previous data I download from mint.  It's not off terribly far, but I don't understand how it doesn't match exactly to the penny.  I mean once October 2015 is over, those values should be unchanging right?  The value of my assets and debts should not change after the fact.  Yet each time I download a new set of trends (Nov 2015, Dec 2015, and Jan 2016) the data for October 2015 is slightly different.  I never noticed this before tracking it in my own spread sheet, but now that I am it's not making any sense to me.

Has anyone else noticed this?  Does anyone have an explanation why my historic values are changing?

EDIT: Just to clarify it's not just Oct 2015 changing, I was only stating that as an example.  Almost none of the monthly values are the same, but i'm not paying too much attention to the older data because like I explained I don't think that data was very accurate to start with. But I am noticing it for all of the recent months despite not making any major changes to my accounts.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2016, 10:49:48 PM by frugalnacho »

Timodeus

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 136
Re: Mint net worth change - changing history?
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2016, 05:36:39 AM »
Can't speak to your particular issue, but I've recently done the same thing (spreadsheet) since looking back over time in Mint is so inaccurate. In my case recently it was because of account connection issues that duplicated an account yielding a higher net worth than is accurate. If I delete or hide the "old" account as I did, it skews the past data for years. This was only one account, there were several others that had similar issues. I've been using Mint since late 2010 but the farther back you go the more inaccurate it is because of all the changes and issues they run into while refreshing your accounts.

In my opinion Mint is not very good at capturing and retaining the data over time as the amounts are not "fixed" but fluctuate depending on what accounts are connected to your profile. In the short term it is very accurate, so capturing it once a month on a spreadsheet was my solution. I won't even go into the "Investments" function which is beyond useless.   

Fastfwd

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 198
Re: Mint net worth change - changing history?
« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2016, 06:02:03 AM »
In my opinion Mint is not very good at capturing and retaining the data over time

I often wonder why they do it this way. Seems like it would be easier for them to just update data in the present and not change what has passed. Also I wonder why they bother with renaming transactions. For example every single shop at my mall is renamed to the same thing because the city name is in the mall's name. Also categories are often very wrong and they do not keep the correction for future transactions after you change them. But it's "free"(ad supported) so I can't really complain. It gives me a good short term snapshot.

Right now for the last few months mint has moved my RRSP(401k) inside my cash category and I can't get it back out. Screwed up everything as far as history goes.

NorCal

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 811
Re: Mint net worth change - changing history?
« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2016, 07:55:57 AM »
This is one of the major reasons I dropped Mint for Quicken.  I highly recommend Quicken in this regard.

Every time you delete an account in Mint, you lost the entire account history in income and net worth.

It's inevitable that one day your bank will change over their processing software, which will "break" your Mint sync.  The only way to fix it is to delete the account and start over.  This kills your entire history.

Mint is great for people who are just starting to get a handle on their finances.  However, it should be dropped for a more robust program if this is something you want to take seriously over time.

With This Herring

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1207
  • Location: New York STATE, not city
  • TANSTAAFL!
Re: Mint net worth change - changing history?
« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2016, 03:55:41 PM »
Wow.  Thank you, everyone, for this thread.  I had been wondering if I was foolish to keep my own Excel sheet instead of using Mint, but I refer back to historical info a LOT; this issue would drive me nuts.

frugalnacho

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4033
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Madison Heights, Michigan
Re: Mint net worth change - changing history?
« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2016, 10:56:38 PM »
This is one of the major reasons I dropped Mint for Quicken.  I highly recommend Quicken in this regard.

Every time you delete an account in Mint, you lost the entire account history in income and net worth.

It's inevitable that one day your bank will change over their processing software, which will "break" your Mint sync.  The only way to fix it is to delete the account and start over.  This kills your entire history.

Mint is great for people who are just starting to get a handle on their finances.  However, it should be dropped for a more robust program if this is something you want to take seriously over time.

Will all those transactions still be there though?  It would certainly suck to get ready to review my finances at year end only to discover everything that was medical (for instance) that was charged to a specific card suddenly vanished without a trace.  So far I have not had any issues like that come up.  It still bothers me that my historic data is changing slightly even without an account disappearing though.

I do really like that mint it pretty much on auto pilot though and records everything me and my wife do that's not a cash transaction.  It was pretty easy to get my wife to go along with it, because she pretty much didn't have to do anything.

Me:  I want us to start using mint to track all of our purchases and finances.
wife:  Hmm, sounds complicated.  What do I have to do?
Me: Nothing, it's completely automated.
wife: Hmm...I suppose I can get on board with that.

After she started using it she liked seeing where everything was going and watching investments grow, and also knowing the balance of all our accounts in an instant, so she was willing to enter cash transactions and categorize everything else as well.

Hopefully this is just a minor issue in the long run.  At least I will be pulling data out each month to put into my own graph.

BDWW

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 592
  • Location: MT
Re: Mint net worth change - changing history?
« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2016, 01:08:47 AM »
I've been using mint for a long time now. I've always kept a separate spreadsheet due to Mint losing information. I just log in once or twice a month to update my spreadsheet.

And as of the past month Mint is reporting a $0 balance for one of my accounts. Incorrect obviously, so I have to add that account to my spreadsheet manually. Its(mint) utility is limited over time, but -usually- it provides a good snapshot of your finances.

clarkfan1979

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2065
  • Age: 41
  • Location: Pueblo West, CO
Re: Mint net worth change - changing history?
« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2016, 11:14:33 AM »
I think mint is really good for keeping you on track for big picture type goals. If you want everything down to the penny then it would make sense to purchase a program with that capability.

TheAnonOne

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1587
Re: Mint net worth change - changing history?
« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2016, 11:24:35 AM »
As others have said, MINT takes today's linked accounts and infers past data from that.

Mint has my networth sitting at 0 at ages 20-23 and from 24-25 (I am now 25) it jumps up to 250k+

It does this because I WAS negative for a long time, due to student loans. So according to mint, my 'SPENDING' was just really high back then, because it was counting all of those student loan payments as a 'SPENDING' item, instead of a debt paying down item.


Ultimately, the past data is only a little bit useful. You could perhaps gleam your speed of growth from it, but what is done, is done. I don't worry about it too much. I started added my NW to my bills excel sheet, so in a few years, I might have a chart. Though, it isn't too important.

frugalnacho

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4033
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Madison Heights, Michigan
Re: Mint net worth change - changing history?
« Reply #9 on: January 18, 2016, 12:35:46 PM »
I think mint is really good for keeping you on track for big picture type goals. If you want everything down to the penny then it would make sense to purchase a program with that capability.

Mint does track to the penny.  This is really a separate issue.

As others have said, MINT takes today's linked accounts and infers past data from that.

Mint has my networth sitting at 0 at ages 20-23 and from 24-25 (I am now 25) it jumps up to 250k+

It does this because I WAS negative for a long time, due to student loans. So according to mint, my 'SPENDING' was just really high back then, because it was counting all of those student loan payments as a 'SPENDING' item, instead of a debt paying down item.


Ultimately, the past data is only a little bit useful. You could perhaps gleam your speed of growth from it, but what is done, is done. I don't worry about it too much. I started added my NW to my bills excel sheet, so in a few years, I might have a chart. Though, it isn't too important.

You can change and recatagorize those transactions so they aren't counted towards spending (or anything if you don't want).  I have the same problem with shuffling money between checking and savings account, for some reason mint thinks those are spending transactions (but doesn't simultaneously count it as income so it skews it), so I have to hide those transactions from budgets and trends.  I also have the same problem of my historic net worth not being accurate do to adding/deleting accounts, which is why I wanted to track it myself so I could go back and correct that data so I don't have a $100k jump in net worth for no reason other than I decided to let mint re-estimate the value of my house using zillow.

"What is done is done" - I agree with you, which is why i'm so confused why my previous historic data is changing every time I pull new data for another month.  It's done and should be recorded and unchanging, and barring me editing any of that data it should not fluctuate from the historic values I already have when I pull that data in the future.  That is the entire point of this thread - mint is not functioning and recording my historic account values as it should be and I don't understand why.

Jack

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4726
  • Location: Atlanta, GA
Re: Mint net worth change - changing history?
« Reply #10 on: January 18, 2016, 01:42:27 PM »
You can change and recatagorize those transactions so they aren't counted towards spending (or anything if you don't want).  I have the same problem with shuffling money between checking and savings account, for some reason mint thinks those are spending transactions (but doesn't simultaneously count it as income so it skews it), so I have to hide those transactions from budgets and trends.

Mark those as "transfer."

PhysicianOnFIRE

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 458
  • Age: 44
  • Location: Up North
    • Physician On FIRE
Re: Mint net worth change - changing history?
« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2016, 02:11:31 PM »
Personal Capital seems to do a better job with investments.  I use Mint for the expense tracking, Personal Capital to track my portfolio.

TheAnonOne

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1587
Re: Mint net worth change - changing history?
« Reply #12 on: January 18, 2016, 02:23:31 PM »

"What is done is done" - I agree with you, which is why i'm so confused why my previous historic data is changing every time I pull new data for another month.  It's done and should be recorded and unchanging, and barring me editing any of that data it should not fluctuate from the historic values I already have when I pull that data in the future.  That is the entire point of this thread - mint is not functioning and recording my historic account values as it should be and I don't understand why.

I think you understand why, you just don't like the answer. Mint simply infers past information from what it can get via the data-dumps from the external accounts.

If I add my house to MINT and then 3 months later add my mortgage. Mint assumes that my networth dropped 100k (or w/e the mortgage is) and my networth chart is now messed up.

However, if I delete an account, AKA my student loan account, I now have years of improved networth in the charts. Ultimately, the use of mints historic value networth chart is none.


TO SUM IT UP:
I don't know why MINT doesn't function the way you or I want it to, it simply doesn't. It would be NICE if they could save a simple value monthly and display that vs. what they do now, but they don't and likely wont. (they haven't been adding new features for a while now)

TheAnonOne

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1587
Re: Mint net worth change - changing history?
« Reply #13 on: January 18, 2016, 02:26:02 PM »
Personal Capital seems to do a better job with investments.  I use Mint for the expense tracking, Personal Capital to track my portfolio.

PC is great in addition to MINT. My one gripe is that I have a 'Lending Club' account, and PC sees it as simply cash. Then it complains that my investment portfolio sucks because I am holding so much 'cash'.

First world problems I suppose.

letired

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 826
  • Location: Texas
    • Needs More Glitter
Re: Mint net worth change - changing history?
« Reply #14 on: January 18, 2016, 02:59:04 PM »
As a note that might be helpful to some people: When you are done with an account in Mint, instead of deleting it, mark it as closed. That way, you will save the transaction history of that account, but it will no longer be shown to you in your list of active accounts.

frugalnacho

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4033
  • Age: 37
  • Location: Madison Heights, Michigan
Re: Mint net worth change - changing history?
« Reply #15 on: January 18, 2016, 09:23:16 PM »

"What is done is done" - I agree with you, which is why i'm so confused why my previous historic data is changing every time I pull new data for another month.  It's done and should be recorded and unchanging, and barring me editing any of that data it should not fluctuate from the historic values I already have when I pull that data in the future.  That is the entire point of this thread - mint is not functioning and recording my historic account values as it should be and I don't understand why.

I think you understand why, you just don't like the answer. Mint simply infers past information from what it can get via the data-dumps from the external accounts.

If I add my house to MINT and then 3 months later add my mortgage. Mint assumes that my networth dropped 100k (or w/e the mortgage is) and my networth chart is now messed up.

However, if I delete an account, AKA my student loan account, I now have years of improved networth in the charts. Ultimately, the use of mints historic value networth chart is none.


TO SUM IT UP:
I don't know why MINT doesn't function the way you or I want it to, it simply doesn't. It would be NICE if they could save a simple value monthly and display that vs. what they do now, but they don't and likely wont. (they haven't been adding new features for a while now)

No, you are still describing a separate issue.  I totally understand how adding/deleting accounts will affect the past history, and that's not what i'm having an issue with.  I brought up 2 separate issues, and the one you are describing is the entire reason I wanted to track it myself in my own spread sheet, because I think those drastic changes are erroneous.  However, I am not adding or deleting accounts, all my accounts have been humming along fine with absolutely no changes.  Even if mint is looking at my current account balances and back calculating all previous data (which doesn't make sense) it should still add up.  How can you explain discrepancies of tens to hundreds of dollars in my historic net worth based on when I pulled that data given that I am not adding or deleting accounts, and i'm not recategorizing anything older than a few days?

My Oct 2015 trends gave me a specific value for Oct 2015 and I put it in my spread sheet.  I did not add or delete any accounts.  Then when I pull the data a month later the Oct 2015 values are slightly different.  Rinse and repeat every month that I log in and pull my data.  No accounts are added, no accounts are deleted, no accounts change in anyway, yet my Oct 2015 values are changing slightly every time I log in and redownload my updated data. 

EDIT:  It's not so far off it is going to drastically change my graph, it's more that I just don't understand how or why it changes at all.  I never noticed it until I started logging myself.  I assumed I could download the csv file and each time it would just have a new line of data and otherwise be identical to the previous csv file I exported (unless I add or delete accounts), but it doesn't.  Each new csv file I export changes the values of previous months slightly in what appears to be a non random pattern for no apparent reason.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2016, 09:29:14 PM by frugalnacho »