Tuesday, March 10, 2009

One-stop Money Management Using Online Tools

Technology has improved by leaps and bounds. I used to log into different banks or credit card companies to check my balances and settle outstanding bills.

Today, web services like Green Sherpa, Rudder, Finicity, Mint, Wesabe, Yodlee and Thrive offer one-stop account tracking where transactions are categorized (sometimes automatically) so that you know where the money is going.

One-stop Money Management Using Online ToolsThe tools help you achieve your financial goals based on downloaded history and projections for expenses and income (say, a major vacation or a fat bonus check). Advice is also provided to implement a budget and tackle money problems.

Some of these services charge a monthly fee (while others are supported by referrals and ads), so you have to assess if it is worth paying to keep track of your financial situation.

I noticed a lot of tech-savy teens catching on to this trend and shunning established software like Intuit's Quicken and Microsoft's Money. They are usually new to money management and love the convenience from account aggregation, meaning information from multiple online accounts are combined to create a full picture of their finances.

More importantly, these teens are comfortable giving a third-party service access to their online account information.

I am wary about revealing my personal information and financial status online. Even sharing it with my spouse or a trusted financial planner through that third-party service gives me the creeps.

What do you think of using online services for money management?