Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Future of Personal Finance?

We all wish we were better at our personal finances, but it's just too confusing — and boring! Secretly, we wish someone else would do it for us. This is the key factor behind the success of Mint.com, a website that was started three years ago by then 25-year-old CEO Aaron Patzer in his Silicon Valley apartment. Now it has been sold to Intuit for a stunning $170 million.

Mint, which was launched two years to the day before the announcement of its sale, works like a personal financial manager. You sign up and give it the online passwords to all your bank accounts, credit cards, retirement accounts, mother's maiden name, everything. It requires that you show the Full Monty. In return, Mint shows you, with minimal effort on your part, a complete picture of where the heck all your money is going. Many potential investors in Patzer's idea thought people would simply never be bold enough to hand over all that information — Patzer himself admits to some early doubts. Turns out they underestimated how lazy or desperate we all are. In its first month, Mint signed up 50,000 users. At sale time, it had 1.5 million.

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Posted by Chris O'Sullivan

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