So, top-dog personal finance website, Mint.com, just announced a further step into financial planning with some goals-based tools to help users plan financially for the future. From the release:
Mint's new Goals feature seeks to take the difficulty out of both setting goals and regularly tracking your progress towards those goals. With a few clicks of the mouse, you can set up a savings goal, and then use Mint.com to help you achieve that goal.
Using Goals for Saving for the FutureSo, if a Mint user wanted to save for something like home improvements, they'd use Goals to:
- Set funding source
- Set goal dollar amount
- Blend in financing options
- Establish target date
- Specify monthly savings target
Makes perfect sense, right?So, the move from helping people track to helping them plan is an obvious one and a good move for Mint. And Mint's revenue model/value proposition work well for this foray into planning. I assume Mint will begin to gain referral fees as they recommend loans, travel services -- anything that helps assist in the savings and planning process. According to the NY Times:
The new feature comes as Mint.com is facing increasing competition in the online financial software space. New entrants like HelloWallet have started attacking Mint.com’s business model and have emphasized how they offer more financial planning advice services.
The trendWe've seen investment platforms begin to automate professional grade services to their client in an effort to round out their offering and attract full-service clients (see my review of E*Trade's Online Adviser). Now, we're seeing personal finance sites begin to creep into the financial planning/investing/future-oriented space. What get's me juiced is that sites like Mint have a TON of information about their users -- the type of information the investment portals and online brokers drool over. This positions them better for a move into investing -- much like the much ballyhooed-TechCrunch Disrupt-winner Betterment is focused on.
- Mint.com Expands Into Financial Planning Tools (NY Times)
- How To Set and Track Financial Goals With Mint (Mint blog)
- Goal Keeping Gets Easier at Mint.com (All Things Digital)