Mint.com is arguably one of the most popular personal finance management tools out there. For all that it has done well, up until this week, it hasn't been the best place to track financial goals. Now, with the introduction of Mint Goals you can link all of your financial goals with the accounts that you have connected to Mint to better track your progress.
Mint Goals improves on the Planning section, which Mint users had until now used for goal-setting. The new Mint Goals section provides users with eight goal areas which can be tailored to the individual so that the goal is realistic and achievable. These eight goals include getting out of debt, saving for an emergency, saving for retirement, buying a home, buying a car, saving for college, taking a trip and improving your home; you can also set a custom goal.
Mint Goals Video from the Wall Street Journal:
When you create a goal Mint will ask you a few questions to find out when you want to achieve it and suggest a monthly contribution to this account. If you have Mint connected to all of your accounts the service can use the data it already has to automate some of the planning process. For example, if you are setting up an emergency fund, Mint knows about how much you spend a month so it is easy to figure out how much you need to cover three months' worth of living expenses. If you are working to pay down debt, and have your credit cards linked, you'll get a look at what you owe and a pay-down plan based on that amount.
After you choose the amount you want to save, Mint allows you to link the goal to a specific account, add a new account or suggests an account to open that fits the goal's purpose. When I was setting up an emergency fund goal, Mint shared several high yield savings accounts.
If your goal is getting out of debt, Mint may suggest that you get a loan through a partner like Lending Club, a peer to peer lender that offers personal loans at rates more than 50% lower than the average credit card APR. The suggested accounts are not all encompassing and you should still take a few steps to find the best bank or account for you.
In addition to budgeting for your day-to-day expenses, setting a goal for purchases and events such as buying a new HDTV, a house or taking a vacation is an important step to getting out of debt and staying out. If you need help after setting up your goals, Mint provides a checklist of to-do items and advice. You can also come back to WalletPop to learn more about all topics personal finance.
What do you think about the new Mint Goals?
Mint Goals: Track your progress on Mint.com