Author Topic: Mint - I love you but I don't agree with you  (Read 8400 times)

YoungGranny

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Mint - I love you but I don't agree with you
« on: November 02, 2015, 11:09:24 AM »
I want to start by saying I absolutely love Mint and have gotten quite a few of my friends to use it and be mindful of where there money is going. I also love the goal feature since I like to set milestones for myself to stay on track. All of that being said, I recently completed a goal and it said "Next Steps - Save for a new TV"

No Mint, just no.

Jack

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Re: Mint - I love you but I don't agree with you
« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2015, 11:29:22 AM »
Any TV too expensive to cash-flow is one you have no business owning at all.

I mean, WTF -- 50" LED flat-screens are only $200 or so now! What, do you need something out of Brave New World or Fahrenheit 451 that takes up the whole wall?!

(Not that a TV is a reasonable purchase to begin with...)

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Mint - I love you but I don't agree with you
« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2015, 11:38:51 AM »
The TV one is pretty awful!

I have a "save for downpayment" goal. Their "how much house can you afford" calculator is alarming. We have different definitions of "afford" if at an average monthly take-home of $4k, it think we can afford a $450k house.

No mint, just no.

jinga nation

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Re: Mint - I love you but I don't agree with you
« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2015, 11:51:28 AM »
Mint used to be very good. Then they started the in-line gently-gently-softly-softly advertising, only to make it overt. Save to blow it on conspicuous consumption. WTF?
So I DELETED my account. It had become another marketing channel for loan and credit card issuers.

Jeremy E.

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Re: Mint - I love you but I don't agree with you
« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2015, 12:05:46 PM »
I honestly don't care what it recommends as I don't get advice from Mint, but rather just use it to track my spending. However one thing that I don't like, and am not sure how to change, is how to properly set goals that are not in the near future. For instance if I want to set a retirement goal, and I think I'll be able to reach it somewhere between 6-10 years depending on how some things go, how do I account for inflation? If I assume 3.5% inflation which isn't guaranteed and currently need $18,000 to live off, then to retire today I would need only $450,000 If I set my goal for that then when I reach it I'm not retired, my 6 year goal would actually be $554,000 after inflation and my 10 year goal would be $635,000. It's not a big deal and I wouldn't expect them to try and fix it, but it annoys me slightly. In my excel spreadsheets for estimating my retirement I offset inflation by not accounting for raises that I get and assuming stocks only return 5% instead of the historical average of 9.5%(I reduce an extra 1% because real returns are often less than average, example, if you lose 50% one year and then gain 50% the next year your average is 0% so you assume that you haven't lost anything, however in reality you only have 75% of what you started with. 100% *.5 = 50%, 50% *1.5 = 75%.)

2Birds1Stone

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Re: Mint - I love you but I don't agree with you
« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2015, 12:12:41 PM »
I got rid of Mint too, and I used to love it.

Now PC seems to be pushing more services and advertising.

Kaspian

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Re: Mint - I love you but I don't agree with you
« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2015, 12:13:41 PM »
I honestly don't care what it recommends as I don't get advice from Mint, but rather just use it to track my spending. However one thing that I don't like, and am not sure how to change, is how to properly set goals that are not in the near future. For instance if I want to set a retirement goal, and I think I'll be able to reach it somewhere between 6-10 years depending on how some things go, how do I account for inflation? If I assume 3.5% inflation which isn't guaranteed and currently need $18,000 to live off, then to retire today I would need only $450,000 If I set my goal for that then when I reach it I'm not retired, my 6 year goal would actually be $554,000 after inflation and my 10 year goal would be $635,000. It's not a big deal and I wouldn't expect them to try and fix it, but it annoys me slightly. In my excel spreadsheets for estimating my retirement I offset inflation by not accounting for raises that I get and assuming stocks only return 5% instead of the historical average of 9.5%(I reduce an extra 1% because real returns are often less than average, example, if you lose 50% one year and then gain 50% the next year your average is 0% so you assume that you haven't lost anything, however in reality you only have 75% of what you started with. 100% *.5 = 50%, 50% *1.5 = 75%.)

I just use the 25-times annual spending rule for that number.  Most us here seem to be in agreement that if you save 25-times your spending and assume a 4% drawdown when FIRE, we'll be close enough. 

russianswinga

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Re: Mint - I love you but I don't agree with you
« Reply #7 on: November 02, 2015, 12:16:15 PM »
What's a good (free?) replacement for Mint? Other than having your own spreadsheets with dozens of variables (I'm not opposed to this, but automatic gathering of all my balances and debts is convenient in Mint)

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Mint - I love you but I don't agree with you
« Reply #8 on: November 02, 2015, 12:21:22 PM »
What's a good (free?) replacement for Mint? Other than having your own spreadsheets with dozens of variables (I'm not opposed to this, but automatic gathering of all my balances and debts is convenient in Mint)

Supposedly Personal Capital is good. But I've had issues- I have literally NEVER gotten all my accounts to sync. And I've had FOUR phone calls with them. They are super nice and helpful on the phone... but then nothing ever starts working. Which really sucks.

I might be the exception though.

rockstache

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Re: Mint - I love you but I don't agree with you
« Reply #9 on: November 02, 2015, 12:30:16 PM »
I agree with the people who hate the advertising and product pushing BUT I like that Mint is free and I want it to stay that way. So I just ignore the ads. They have to make their money somehow.

YoungGranny

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Re: Mint - I love you but I don't agree with you
« Reply #10 on: November 02, 2015, 12:32:55 PM »
I agree that Personal Capital has a lot of potential but I have trouble with my accounts as well. For now, I'm sticking with Mint I just have to snark about them sometimes ;)

Tjat

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Re: Mint - I love you but I don't agree with you
« Reply #11 on: November 02, 2015, 12:48:05 PM »
This an my growing hesitancy of handing over all my passwords to the cloud caused me to switch to Quicken. I'm sure there are ads (mainly for investment services) but nothing obtrusive. Once I figured out some of the finicky pieces, I can never imagine not using it.

Jack

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Re: Mint - I love you but I don't agree with you
« Reply #12 on: November 02, 2015, 12:57:23 PM »
I got rid of Mint too, and I used to love it.

Now PC seems to be pushing more services and advertising.

This is how pretty much any commercial "free" web service works. The only viable alternative would be to use Free Software

What's a good (free?) replacement for Mint? Other than having your own spreadsheets with dozens of variables (I'm not opposed to this, but automatic gathering of all my balances and debts is convenient in Mint)

What we need are a bunch of financial-account-website-scraping plug-ins for GnuCash.

kendallf

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Re: Mint - I love you but I don't agree with you
« Reply #13 on: November 02, 2015, 01:01:28 PM »
I use Mint for the tracking, and I even use the ads occasionally (I switched car insurance after getting one of their alerts: "Attention!  You are paying 457% more for car insurance than the average Mint user!").  It has occasional bugs, but the automatic categorizing of expenditures make it very valuable as I'm too lazy to ever do this manually. 

The most annoying "feature" it has IMO is the bill due reminders.  These almost invariably show after I have already paid them, and often the amounts are wrong as well.  More to ignore.

WildJager

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Re: Mint - I love you but I don't agree with you
« Reply #14 on: November 02, 2015, 07:02:40 PM »
That's the typical flow for free software.  Clean and smooth at first, but eventually it just becomes dirty with advertisements.  Your options for quality products are frankly three fold: 1) Enjoy the free software an ignore the ads, 2) Pay a premium for a slicker, more respectful interface or 3) Swap to the latest new service all the time and start all over before they become ad riddled.  3 becomes tiresome from personal experience, so I usually pay a nominal amount if I like the software enough. (Kindle with no ads, Spotify premium, YNAB over mint, etc). 

I'm rueing the day Personal Capitol goes to the dark side.  They've been so enjoyable so far.  Though I know it's only a matter of time.

vogon poetry

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Re: Mint - I love you but I don't agree with you
« Reply #15 on: November 13, 2015, 10:59:12 AM »
What's a good (free?) replacement for Mint? Other than having your own spreadsheets with dozens of variables (I'm not opposed to this, but automatic gathering of all my balances and debts is convenient in Mint)

Supposedly Personal Capital is good. But I've had issues- I have literally NEVER gotten all my accounts to sync. And I've had FOUR phone calls with them. They are super nice and helpful on the phone... but then nothing ever starts working. Which really sucks.

I might be the exception though.

nope--I am having the same issue with Personal Capital. I thought it might be my new Mint, but it can't seem to get out of its own way unfortunately.

joleran

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Re: Mint - I love you but I don't agree with you
« Reply #16 on: November 16, 2015, 02:29:47 PM »
YNAB over mint

YNAB isn't comparable because (as far as I know) you have to manually enter transactions.  Major pain in the neck.

Spork

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Re: Mint - I love you but I don't agree with you
« Reply #17 on: November 16, 2015, 03:32:57 PM »

What we need are a bunch of financial-account-website-scraping plug-ins for GnuCash.

Not sure if serious or tongue in cheek.

I've written quite a few web-scrapey things.  They really are not a good interface.  The far end is forever changing (and sometimes in really subtle ways).  Little crap will just eat you up over time.

It really needs to be a stable API.  And obviously there is one.  I am sure that's what Mint uses.

Gnucash does support OFX direct connections: http://wiki.gnucash.org/wiki/OFX_Direct_Connect_Bank_Settings

I've never used it and honestly don't intend to.   I'm a bit overly paranoid about tying everything neatly together.  I personally would rather put in my transactions manually.  It both gives me a tiny bit more security and really forces me to look at my finances and make things balance properly.

clarkfan1979

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Re: Mint - I love you but I don't agree with you
« Reply #18 on: November 17, 2015, 09:49:48 AM »
I haven't really noticed the ads. I will look more closely next time.

Jack

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Re: Mint - I love you but I don't agree with you
« Reply #19 on: November 17, 2015, 02:33:48 PM »

What we need are a bunch of financial-account-website-scraping plug-ins for GnuCash.

Not sure if serious or tongue in cheek.

I've written quite a few web-scrapey things.  They really are not a good interface.  The far end is forever changing (and sometimes in really subtle ways).  Little crap will just eat you up over time.

It really needs to be a stable API.  And obviously there is one.  I am sure that's what Mint uses.

Gnucash does support OFX direct connections: http://wiki.gnucash.org/wiki/OFX_Direct_Connect_Bank_Settings

I've never used it and honestly don't intend to.   I'm a bit overly paranoid about tying everything neatly together.  I personally would rather put in my transactions manually.  It both gives me a tiny bit more security and really forces me to look at my finances and make things balance properly.

What's wrong with tying everything together, if it's done in a system you control?

But anyway, thanks for the tip about OFX! I didn't know it existed; I'll have to look into using it.

I wouldn't be surprised if Mint did do screen-scraping, both because I wouldn't necessarily expect all financial institutions to implement OFX (let alone properly) and because some of the bank connections in Mint have a tendency to break occasionally.

Spork

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Re: Mint - I love you but I don't agree with you
« Reply #20 on: November 17, 2015, 03:02:23 PM »

What we need are a bunch of financial-account-website-scraping plug-ins for GnuCash.

Not sure if serious or tongue in cheek.

I've written quite a few web-scrapey things.  They really are not a good interface.  The far end is forever changing (and sometimes in really subtle ways).  Little crap will just eat you up over time.

It really needs to be a stable API.  And obviously there is one.  I am sure that's what Mint uses.

Gnucash does support OFX direct connections: http://wiki.gnucash.org/wiki/OFX_Direct_Connect_Bank_Settings

I've never used it and honestly don't intend to.   I'm a bit overly paranoid about tying everything neatly together.  I personally would rather put in my transactions manually.  It both gives me a tiny bit more security and really forces me to look at my finances and make things balance properly.

What's wrong with tying everything together, if it's done in a system you control?

But anyway, thanks for the tip about OFX! I didn't know it existed; I'll have to look into using it.

I wouldn't be surprised if Mint did do screen-scraping, both because I wouldn't necessarily expect all financial institutions to implement OFX (let alone properly) and because some of the bank connections in Mint have a tendency to break occasionally.

I'm probably overly security paranoid.  It comes from doing security/forensics for 20ish years.  I don't like saved passwords/account information.  If someone stole my gnucash file, they'd only have amounts.

I used to have probably 10 or more scrapey things running... generating reports and mostly graph data.  Over time most have broken to the point they're unfixable.  It gets really cumbersome if the far end expects you to run javascript instead of just pulling data out of html.  I think the only ones I have that still work are firecalc (which seems to be a dead project) and a scraper that runs against my very-out-of-date Tivo box locally.  One character can change and throw the whole context off.

Jack

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Re: Mint - I love you but I don't agree with you
« Reply #21 on: November 17, 2015, 03:54:47 PM »

What we need are a bunch of financial-account-website-scraping plug-ins for GnuCash.

Not sure if serious or tongue in cheek.

I've written quite a few web-scrapey things.  They really are not a good interface.  The far end is forever changing (and sometimes in really subtle ways).  Little crap will just eat you up over time.

It really needs to be a stable API.  And obviously there is one.  I am sure that's what Mint uses.

Gnucash does support OFX direct connections: http://wiki.gnucash.org/wiki/OFX_Direct_Connect_Bank_Settings

I've never used it and honestly don't intend to.   I'm a bit overly paranoid about tying everything neatly together.  I personally would rather put in my transactions manually.  It both gives me a tiny bit more security and really forces me to look at my finances and make things balance properly.

What's wrong with tying everything together, if it's done in a system you control?

But anyway, thanks for the tip about OFX! I didn't know it existed; I'll have to look into using it.

I wouldn't be surprised if Mint did do screen-scraping, both because I wouldn't necessarily expect all financial institutions to implement OFX (let alone properly) and because some of the bank connections in Mint have a tendency to break occasionally.

I'm probably overly security paranoid.  It comes from doing security/forensics for 20ish years.  I don't like saved passwords/account information.  If someone stole my gnucash file, they'd only have amounts.

I used to have probably 10 or more scrapey things running... generating reports and mostly graph data.  Over time most have broken to the point they're unfixable.  It gets really cumbersome if the far end expects you to run javascript instead of just pulling data out of html.  I think the only ones I have that still work are firecalc (which seems to be a dead project) and a scraper that runs against my very-out-of-date Tivo box locally.  One character can change and throw the whole context off.

That's why I'd want it to be a community open-source project: so somebody else could maintain it!

Dicey

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Re: Mint - I love you but I don't agree with you
« Reply #22 on: November 20, 2015, 10:35:53 AM »
No Mint, no budget, no problems. Seriously, a spread sheet and some self-discipline are all it takes and the spread sheet is optional...

Jack

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Re: Mint - I love you but I don't agree with you
« Reply #23 on: November 20, 2015, 11:07:33 AM »
No Mint, no budget, no problems. Seriously, a spread sheet and some self-discipline are all it takes and the spread sheet is optional...

The problem is that the spreadsheet is the easy part!

JordanOfGilead

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Re: Mint - I love you but I don't agree with you
« Reply #24 on: November 20, 2015, 11:26:07 AM »
I use mint because it easily categorizes and graphs my spending, making tracking where my money goes every month a lot more efficient.
I also have significant student loan debt and (due to some job-hopping) more retirement accounts than I should, so the net worth function helps me a lot when it comes to gaging where I stand and the progress I've made.

Also, the free credit score is nice.

It's not perfect, but it does what I need it for. I have my own excel workbook with several sheets tied in together to track my long-term goals, but I use mint for my day-to-day and monthly items.

Beaker

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Re: Mint - I love you but I don't agree with you
« Reply #25 on: November 20, 2015, 12:01:33 PM »
I wouldn't be surprised if Mint did do screen-scraping, both because I wouldn't necessarily expect all financial institutions to implement OFX (let alone properly) and because some of the bank connections in Mint have a tendency to break occasionally.

They absolutely do screen scraping, in at least some cases. I saw an article recently that they were in a spat with the banks over it. The banks were whingeing that Mint (and PC, etc) were causes excessive load on their servers. A few locked Mint out, which I think is why everybody's Barclaycard accounts stopped sync'ing.

I use Mint almost completely to centralize my transactions. I go in there once a month, hit the "download all my tranactions as CSV" link, and paste the data into my own Excel sheet that does the analysis I actually want to see. I also fix some of the stupidities that I couldn't easily manage in Mint, like how it constantly thinks my transfers to Vanguard are the same thing as spending.

Anyway, I would really love some other way to do it, but haven't found one yet. I might end up falling back to manually visiting the sites for all our various banks, credit cards, and accounts each month - which really sucks.

Dicey

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Re: Mint - I love you but I don't agree with you
« Reply #26 on: November 21, 2015, 05:31:16 PM »
No Mint, no budget, no problems. Seriously, a spread sheet and some self-discipline are all it takes and the spread sheet is optional...

The problem is that the spreadsheet is the easy part!
So true. That's how you separate the real mustachians from the wannabe's.

Making Cookies

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Re: Mint - I love you but I don't agree with you
« Reply #27 on: November 24, 2015, 10:57:06 AM »
No Mint, no budget, no problems. Seriously, a spread sheet and some self-discipline are all it takes and the spread sheet is optional...

Mint was integral to helping me understand where we spent our money. I don't need it on a regular basis though. Wish my bank's online banking worked with Gnucash though. I love open-source software. Have used (Mint) Linux KDE for years now! I do 99.5% of everything in Linux. Only use Windows when I need to fix it (at work) or for 3-D CAD (Solidworks).