Mint to give its users long-term goals

Mint.com is adding long-term goals to its personal finance site. The feature won't be live until next month, but it promises to bring planning tools that previously required proper financial software.

Josh Lowensohn Former Senior Writer
Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.
Josh Lowensohn
2 min read

Mint.com's CEO Aaron Patzer on Tuesday is giving attendees of the Finovate spring conference in San Francisco a sneak peek at its next major enhancement. The financial planning and tracking service, which was snapped up by Intuit back in September, is getting long-term goals--a feature its software cousin Quicken has had for years, but that could be overly complicated and disjointed.

Patzer, who spoke with CNET about the upcoming service update on Monday, said the new system has been designed with the same kind of simplicity as the rest of Mint.com, and the goals themselves were decided on by a survey of Mint users.

Mint has organized these ideas into a "top 8" that comes pre-populated with tools to help users figure out what they're saving for, and how much they need to put away, or pay off in order to get there on schedule. Some of these include getting out of debt, buying a home or car, and saving for trips or education. For goals that do not quite fit into these categories, users will be able to create their own. All that's needed is a date of when you want to reach that goal, and how much it's for.

To make room for the new system, Mint is killing off a feature that was launched at last year's Finovate show. The "financial fitness" plan, which was similar to Microsoft's idea of achievement points, will be no more; that includes any points users may have racked up between then and now. Patzer said simply that goals are still financial fitness, but with a purpose.

On top of each goal, Mint is including various steps that users should take care of before completing it. For instance, if you had the goal of buying a house, it lists things like understanding escrow, finding a realtor, getting an inspection, and buying home owners insurance. These are areas where Mint plans to partner with other companies to offer users special deals, or at least a connection to a company that can provide that service.

The new feature won't be live on Mint.com until next month. Once it's up, goals will be integrated into each user's income and spending budgets. Though Patzer said the one place where goals will not appear is on Mint's mobile apps, since most users are firing up the app only to check account balances and see if checks cleared as opposed to making adjustments to their budget.