Tag Archives: Mint.com

Balance Financial to shut down January 31, 2017

In an email to current users, Balance Financial, a personal financial management app acquired by TaxAct in 2013, announced it will shut down operations on January 31, 2017.

See the email announcement below:

Balance Financial shutdown email announcement sent to users

Balance Financial was an alternative to well-known personal financial management apps, or PFM, such as Mint.com and Personal Capital that performed account aggregation to deliver a consolidated dashboard of a user’s financial accounts.

In the wake of Intuit’s decision to discontinue its Financial Data APIs, any PFM apps using Intuit’s aggregation had to migrate to other account aggregation options (See How Intuit’s account aggregation shutdown may impact the fintech solutions you use)

One provider, Guide Financial, shut down as a result of the change combined with other changes in its business model (See Guide Financial to shut down operations on October 11.)

I listed Balance Financial as a potential alternative for Guide Financial users, but quickly removed it since I had no success in connecting with the company for a statement regarding support for the application in the near future.

Alas, it seems that TaxACT is not interested in supporting Balance Financial beyond January 31, 2017.

I suspect that the number of advisors using the Balance Financial app is very low, likely below a dozen, so few are likely to be affected by the shutdown. What’s less clear is how many retail customers Balance has and what alternatives they find offer similar functionality and pricing to that of Balance.

Have any tips? Feel free to contact me.

FPPad Bits and Bytes for July 19


Another day, another rain storm in the Atlanta metro. Need some water? We have plenty!

While most of the country has baked under oppressive heat and humidity, Atlanta’s temperatures didn’t get above 90 degrees in all of 2013 until Wednesday this week! “Hotlanta?”

Summer is half over, so you have roughly six more weeks before the activity in your office picks up again as clients return from vacation. What have you accomplished so far for your technology goals of the year?

Here are this week’s top stories:

Banks that offer money management tools may have advantage over startups and software companies from PRNewswire.com

[I must admit, I am shocked by this research! Banks have an edge over companies like Mint and Personal Capital when it comes to likelihood to take action and trust? Ok, trust I can believe, since a “big” bank with brick and mortar assets has a tangible component to it, while online finance websites have nothing but a virtual storefront. But likelihood to take action? I would have guessed that Mint, Personal Capital, HelloWallet and others would certainly convert many more visitors to use their tools compared with the spartan tools of a big bank. I’m flat out wrong, according to this Change Sciences Group study.] Today leading web researchers Change Sciences Group (www.changesciences.com) released new research showing that banks may have an advantage over startups and software companies like Mint when it comes to providing financial tools which help consumers take control of their finances online.

YCharts: Bloomberg for the rest of us? from InvestmentNews.com

[If you are copying and pasting charts from Yahoo! Finance into your client reports, I think you are making a mistake. Here’s an affordable alternative from YCharts that let’s you scan over 17,000 equities and sort by over 3,000 individual metrics to create the charts of your dreams. At $199/month (plus 20% off if you buy a full year), it’s significantly cheaper than the competition from Bloomberg.] When it comes to getting real-time or near-real-time stock or other equity data there are two ends of the spectrum.

Hear That? It’s Your Financial Adviser Tweeting from the New York Times

[Financial institutions just don’t get it. Canned tweets don’t work. If you’re an adviser, I don’t think your audience really cares that much about random facts on Federal holidays. What I think they (your audience) DO care about is information that helps solve their problems or helps them learn something new they can actually use. And guess what? You can’t provide that level of value with prescreened, canned tweets from Hearsay Social, Socialware, Actiance, or anyone else providing scripted content.] Judging by his Facebook page, it would seem that Jeffrey E. Blum experienced a surge of patriotic inspiration around July 4. Mr. Blum, a financial adviser, posted no fewer than 12 updates with good wishes and trivia about the holiday.

Arbor Point Fills Gap for Independent Advisors from Businesswire.com

[First there was Pinnacle Advisory Solutions, an outsourced investment management program and back office solution provider designed to lighten the management load of the average RIA firm. Now Securities America has partnered with Orion Advisor Services to launch Arbor Point Advisors, an SEC-registered corporate RIA with no allegiance to any one custodian. Much of the software available today allows RIAs to be custodian agnostic, but now advisors can also benefit from regulatory registration and compliance support that I assume will be provided in some fashion by Arbor Point Advisors.] Arbor Point Advisors LLC, a new SEC registered investment advisory firm, intends to fill the gap for advisors seeking the freedom of the independent advisory model and a choice of custodians without the need to form their own registered investment advisory firm.

And if you want to read the best material in financial planning knowledge and information over the weekend, click or tap the button below to head over to Michael Kitces’ Nerd’s Eye View blog and see the latest in Weekend Reading.

Click to view Weekend Reading at Kitces.com

The adviser’s answer to Mint.com, Personal Capital, LearnVest, and other PFM apps

Mint.com is part of the explosion of personal financial management applications, or PFM, that are so popular among consumers. What is the financial adviser's answer to PFM apps?

Mint.com is part of the explosion of personal financial management applications, or PFM, that are so popular among consumers. What is the financial adviser’s answer to PFM apps?

Consumers are connected to their finances in ways never before possible.

New and innovative apps like Mint.com, Personal Capital, LearnVest and others can loosely be organized into a group of personal finance management, or PFM, tools.

Why Consumers Love PFM Apps

Mint.com alone has over 10 million registered users of its online and mobile app tools. Users can easily aggregate their checking, savings, credit, and loan accounts from a variety of providers and financial institutions, generating one dashboard to consolidate money management.

So when a user of these PFM apps decides it may be time to seek out services from a professional financial adviser, how will the adviser’s technology stack up to the expectations established by the PFM tools?

The Adviser’s Answer to PFM Apps

Fortunately, financial advisers do have tools at their disposal to give clients the convenience of consolidated account reporting. Clients can use them to view their account details at any time and on any device, be it a desktop, laptop, smartphone, or tablet.

Advisers use the same tools to capture information on all of their clients’ holdings, and can then use the data to drive up-to-date financial plans, net worth statements, cash flow illustrations, and much more.

I covered one solution in this month’s column for Morningstar Advisor.

Read The Advisor’s Answer to Popular Personal Finance Management Tools at Morningstar.com to find out more information.

Journal of Financial Planning: Efficiently Monitor Client Cash Flow

The November issue of the Journal of Financial Planning is now available online.

The theme of this month’s issue is tax planning for uncertain times as well as year-end strategies. The issue also features my second column for the Journal discussing strategies advisers are employing to monitor cash flow, not only at year-end, but throughout the year.

Check out my Practices column, Efficiently Monitor Client Cash Flow.

As always, I welcome your comments and feedback. Your thoughts inspire new topics and discussion points that can be covered in more detail in future columns.

No Time For Lengthy Descriptions? See the Crisis Flowchart

crisisFrom the great folks over at FiLife:

The speed and severity at which the current economic crisis spread caught many advisers off-guard.  In addition to managing and advising clients today, advisers want to look back at the significant factors that precipitated the event.

Unfortunately, most of the descriptions of the events leading up to the crisis are complicated and verbose.  Have you seen Michael Kitces’ extensive research he published on credit crisis?  It’s fantastic work, arguably award-winning work!  But what if you want the information in an easy to swallow pill?

Read More…

Mint.com Adds Investment Tracking

Mint!Lifehacker.com recently announced Mint.com has added investment tracking to its list of features.  A highly requested and attractive feature, investment tracking should dramatically increase this service provider’s already rapid adoption in the market.

Mint.com is a free online personal finance management application that users can configure to track expenses by aggregating transactions from checking, savings, and credit card accounts.  Now that investment accounts have been added, Mint.com is getting closer to a complete personal finance product to compete with the likes of computer-based (as opposed to web-based) Quicken and Microsoft Money.  Note that Quicken does have an ASP-based product of Quicken Online, free for 30 days, then $2.99/month thereafter.

Read More…