Alternative - My New Personal Finance Tool - Thoughts?


Hey guys, I left my job in April to build this tool full-time. After struggling with the inadequacies of Mint, and all the ads, I decided I would try and build my own. Looking for feedback!

  • Mange all your finances in 1 place - pay bills, make investment contributions, update employee benefit info.
  • Get real-time recommendations on what you should do with your money.
  • See future balance projections for every account you link.


Looks like an interesting alternative. We’ll have to check it out. How does this compare to Personal Capital?


I barely trust Mint and Personal Capital to keep my data/usernames and stuff secure. How secure is your website?


The biggest difference is that I’ll have user-specific personal finance advice built into the application. Personal Capital requires me to call my Financial Advisor. For every account a user links (i.e., Student Loan account, 401k, etc.) I tell them exactly what they should be doing with that account.

Another big difference is the ability to see future balance projections. Personal Capital will project my retirement balances - but I can’t see when my auto loan will be paid off, or how much my net worth will grow to if I stick to my budget/plan.


How does that advice work? Are you regularly reviewing each account or are you giving standard advice across account types? Is it based on an algorithm?


Hey Shnugi, I’m on AWS, using SSL, tokens, permissions, HTTPS, encrypting all data including user names and Pws. I’m as secure as Mint and Personal Capital are.


It’s based on an algorithm. It consumes information from a user upfront - age, income, zip code (for tax reasons), marital status, how you file taxes, goals, etc. This information is combined with information I pull from the user’s linked financial accounts through an API (balance information, interest rates, etc.), and information from our tax code (eligibility stuff, max contribution amounts) to generate the user specific advice/recommendations.

I’ve also incorporated basic financial planning best practices into the model - things like, you should have an emergency fund, make sure you contribute enough to get employer 401k match.

I’m trying to get it reviewed (an endorsed) by an institution like the CFP. Haven’t been able to get anyones attention over there yet though.


Absolutely love this. Love your entrepreneurial spirit. Love the fact that you didn’t like something, so you’re spending the time to build an alternative. It’s this kind of motivation, competition, and capitalist mindset that keeps technology evolving.

From the screen shots, your interface is looking nice. Everything is clean and appears to be responsive. Your biggest challenge in the PF community is finding a way to differentiate it from Mint and Personal Capital, but you already know that. As a fellow software guy, I’m interested in seeing this continually progress.

I’d probably use a sans serif font on your website, though - but that’s merely a personal preference.

I’m assuming that you’re properly insured from a business standpoint, yes? Dealing with people’s finances, making contributions and offering recommendations I would imagine contains a ton of potential legal ramifications if something goes wrong. I am no lawyer and don’t claim to be, but this is one of the biggest concerns I’d have in building a PF app.


Thanks, Steve. Appreciate the kind words. It’s been a fun “project” so far. I’ll take your advice and change the font on the site. I wasn’t too keen on it myself.

Yes, I’m required to have insurance and a surety bond. Working through that stuff now.


Cool, I’m curious to see how it turns out! It seems like Mint has been in maintenance mode for like the last 10 years.


I agree. Very surprising. They launched in 2007 and haven’t expanded much in terms of features or capabilities – Bill Pay, and Free Credit Report are the only two that really stand out. If you think about the average user age then and the average user age now you’re talking +10 years. Needs change and evolve… unfortunately the software hasn’t kept up.


Looks very good! Another way to be different from Mint/Capital One is to have global coverage (or at least some outside the US). There isn’t much out here in the Netherlands that comes even close to these kind of products. Of course I haven’t got any personal benefit from this … :wink:


US only?

Do you support manual transactions?

I’m going to give it a good test drive if you’re open for people overseas, and let you know what I think. I’ve been harbouring a dream of putting together something akin to this myself for a couple of years, and originally launched my blog as a way of building an audience for a soft launch, so au might be overly critical :wink:


agreed - we have nothing in NZ!


The financial advice aspect will only be applicable / useful to US citizens… I think. Although all the other aspect of the app (aggregation, projections, etc) still have value to someone outside the U.S. To be honest, I haven’t given much thought to users outside the US!

When you say manual transactions what exactly do you mean? The ability to enter an upcoming expense or income stream? If so, yes.


Looks great, again as some mentioned; I would be super worried about the legal stuff. Get some good insurance and a lawyer on speed dial for when it crashes. :scream:

Also, I won’t put “Mint alternative” in your title unless you want to get shut down by Intuit the day you get on the map. Trust me, they have better lawyers than you can afford.

On the bright side, the app looks amazing and if you could sync Canadian accounts I would love to try it out :slight_smile:


Great product! I see what you have done here…good stuff.
Are you using “robo advisor” concept here? Or just plain algos?


I would also want to know more about security. AWS isn’t hack-proof. What other security protocols do you have set up? What type of encryption? Salt+hash? Who has access to user data? Allowing money movement, I’d want to know if you follow SEC cybersecurity regs and get regular security audits.


I’m going to remove “Mint Alternative” you’re the second person to bring that up. I hadn’t even thought of that being an issue. Thank you. Trying to think of something better…


Thanks, Shivika. I’ve thrown around the idea of calling it a “robo planner” since I’m not touching investment management (yet). For now, it’s really just heuristic / rules-based model. I have some ideas on how to incorporate machine learning into it in the future… probably the next evolution.