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Track Savings Goals With Mint.com

This article was written by in Banking. 3 comments.


Mint.com added a new feature this week to its online personal finance management software. Like SmartyPig, the new focus is on savings goals. I’ve recently become a fan of SmartyPig’s approach to goal tracking, so I was interested in seeing Mint.com’s new feature.

In addition to tracking your account balances as any other personal finance management software does, Mint.com offers a selection of eight predefined goals to help users track their savings. Don’t worry if you don’t find exactly what you’re looking for. If none of the eight goals apply to your situation, you can write in your own.

Here are the goals suggested by Mint.com:

  • Get out of debt
  • Save for an emergency
  • Save for retirement
  • Buy a home
  • Buy a car
  • Save for college
  • Take a trip
  • Improve my home

You might want to offer a custom goal such as “save for a Phase One P65+ digital back” or “buy Apple.” I selected the predefined “buy a home” goal to take the new feature for a test drive. Mint.com offered a calculator to help me determine, based on my income, the price of an affordable house from both aggressive and conservative approaches. The website calculated my necessary down payment and suggested I open a dedicated savings account at either Sallie Mae Bank or American Express, two banks offering some of the highest interest rates available on a liquid savings account, to track my progress towards that goal.

It might not hurt to note that banks pay Mint.com for most customers who sign up for suggested savings accounts. Consumerism Commentary and many other websites receive similar referral fees in some cases, but on a significantly smaller scale.

As I already maintain an abundance of bank accounts, including an account at Sallie Mae, I chose to signify an existing account already tracked by Mint.com for this purpose: and account aptly named my “Orange House Fund,” currently located at ING Direct. “Orange” refers to the bank’s prominent color scheme, not the exterior paint color of my future abode.

Mint.com GoalsOnce the process was complete, I was presented with a progress meter, which you can see here. You can zoom in by clicking on the image.

The shift towards goal-oriented saving throughout the banking industry is a welcome change. This makes one’s personal finances more meaningful than just a number in a bank’s computer database. Rather than looking for a monetary milestone like $1,000,000 in the bank, a focus on goals gets to the heart of why we bother increasing our net worth. It’s important to think about real goals, not net worth itself. Money only has value when it is used for something.

Updated March 21, 2011 and originally published July 2, 2010. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about Luke Landes and follow him on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar J Richmond

setting savings goals can be a very effective way of self encouagement

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avatar R Smith

Too bad you can only have 1 savings goal per bank account. Major oversight by Mint.com product managment when designing the savings goal feature. I have lots of things I want to save for, but don’t need separate bank accounts for each goal!

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avatar J Carey

I doubt it was an oversight. Mint makes money off of every account that gets opened. Forcing users to open one account per goal makes them more money. Their primary motivation for all of their offerings seems to be generating income and not what’s best for their users.

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