1. Online Personal Finance Tools

    The answer to Jim’s question is “No, I don’t.”

    Great. That’s out of the way.

    So what was the question?

    Bargaineering: Do You Use Online Personal Finance Tools?

    Call me crazy. Call me “stuck in the 1990s.” Call me whatever you like. But I’m very much a guy who feels better when my personal-finance software, and the vast amounts of sensitive data therein, reside right on my hard drive.

    Now, when I say “personal finance software,” what I’m talking about is stuff like Quicken. Spending, saving, and account-balance tracking software. And I know there are lots of super-cool online-based tools out there these days — heck, Quicken and Quickbooks offer online-access versions, but even here, Intuit is way late to the game. I, however, am not yet sold on the concept.

    I like knowing that my household’s financial data is stored locally. “Locally,” as in, in my laptop. On my kitchen table. (And in a backup hard drive that’s also “locally” stored.)

    Actually, Jim’s (the Bargaineering author) feelings on the subject very much mirror mine:

    I trust all the services to do the right thing and to protect my information and privacy, but I know that sometimes mistakes are made and things can happen. Maybe I’m a little too old school; I’m about the age where I am comfortable telling people where I am via Twitter but not comfortable telling a third party my banking credentials. Mint and the like will treat it with the sensitivity it deserves but … you never know.

    Precisely. It could be, though, that I’ll rethink this stance in the coming years. Since I don’t ever use Quicken’s “transaction download” features, and thus would never store any account-access credentials with Quicken/Mint or whomever, the only info I’d be leaving on their servers would be account-balance and spending data. And who’d give a crap about that, aside from some data-mining, consumer-research enterprise?

    (Note to any data-mining, consumer-research entities who read this post: My life is boring. My spending patterns are boring. Steal my data, and you will be underwhelmed. I promise.)

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  2. 5 Responses to "Online Personal Finance Tools" ...

    1. On August 1, 2010 @ 9:03 am,
      RetirementInvestingToday wrote:

      I’m with you. I am running my complete retirement investing portfolio which includes both strategic and tactical asset allocations from nothing more than a couple of Excel files.

      I just can’t justify the cost of these types of packages when you can do it for free. While I’m on costs I also take issue with paying for data access on the internet also. My complete strategy is also built around data that is freely available on the internet through various government, other agencies or reputable comentators.

      If you put your mind to it running your financial affairs could cost you nothing more than your time.



    2. On August 2, 2010 @ 10:54 pm,
      crashdamage1957 wrote:

      But.. and i might be wrong about this..but isn’t all your stuff already ” online” even if you personally don’t set up online account access for your accounts? besides, the real risk of data security breaches is not as much on line hacking of secure banking sites as it is lost back up files on media during courier transit. I have had several of those letters over the years from banks and credit cards that involved not on line access, but loss of a back up tape or media that was sent via sneakernet but never got to its destination. Those security breaches occurred to online and non online users alike.



    3. On August 2, 2010 @ 11:06 pm,
      Michael wrote:

      Yeah, data snatched or stolen while on media of some sort is always a risk. Not much way to get around that.

      I just don’t want ALL of my accounts and access codes stored in one place on a server somewhere. With my luck, that would be the ONE server that’d get hacked.



    4. On August 11, 2010 @ 1:08 pm,
      Don wrote:

      Know I’m a little late to the conversation, but your thinking is correct. Intuit (Quicken) has purchased MINT. They have shutdown Quicken ONLINE.
      This is another problem with on-line services. If the website goes down (out of business) your out-of-luck. Also, who protects your data then. If you look at Intuit’s business webpage (not the Quicken store front) you will see positions for data analysts. These folks are searching/scrubbing your data for resale to others. e.g. how much are people spending on x. Very generic information, but very valuable for marketeers.
      Yes, your bank data is on-line, but there are limits on what they can do with the data. CRASHDAMAGE is correct. The off-line data is a problem. Back-ups must be encrypted. Some shops don’t do due diligence.



    5. On December 17, 2010 @ 2:53 am,
      Daniel wrote:

      great post, thanks for sharing



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