MONEY MATTERS

I picked up my tax preparation software while I was on my lunch break today. By the way, I would not have been able to do that if I was still working out in Burnaby. Yay for downtown! Anyways, I usually don’t buy my tax prep application until March. I bought it early this year because I believe I am in a tax situation that I’ve never been in before. Specifically, I received several months worth of severance pay in November which skews my earnings for tax year 2010. Unfortunately, my T4 is not ready yet so I only have a rough estimate of what my earnings were for 2010. What I do know is that I artificially made more money this year than in previous years due to being laid off. I personally think severance payments should be tax exempt. Anyways, I have all my other receipts now which mostly came from RRSPs. I bought a significant amount of RRSPs in hopes that I would be able to somewhat offset the lump sum severance payment. Because I still have another month to buy more RRSPs should I need it, doing my taxes now is a good thing. I haven’t had time to enter in all the data so we’ll see if I owe money to the government still.

In other money news, popular personal finance web site Mint.com now caters to Canadian users. I’ve heard for years how great Mint is for US users and Canadians finally have the chance to try it out. I signed up for an account this evening. I was surprised (perhaps in a naive way) that Mint asks for your online banking info. They do this so they can automatically sync your bank account info to your Mint account. In this way, they can gather all your financial info in one place and it’s always up to date. I understand this makes it easier for Mint to do its thing but I was immediately hesitant to enter in my online bank credentials. Mint swears that it’s tech is secure and that everything is “read only” so that money can’t be moved. That’s nice and all but still not a 100% guarantee. In fact, in their terms of service, which you need to agree to join Mint, they absolve themselves of any responsibility should something go wrong hacker-wise.

On the other hand, in the two years or so that Mint has been running in the US, I have yet to hear about any online breaches of security. This does gives me some confidence that Mint is somewhat secure because I cannot imagine that someone has not tried to hack their system. It would seem like a really logical and sensible place to go looking for financial data. I would really like to try out all Mint’s functionality but for now, I will do a bit more research before taking the plunge. For anyone who is using Mint in its full capacity, how do you like it?

2 thoughts on “MONEY MATTERS”

  1. Hey Erwin,
    I’ve used Mint for a couple of months. I was also hesitant at first about entering my banking login credentials, but knowing that it’s run by Intuit and has been hack-free in the US for a couple of years was helpful. It was also recommended by a Globe and Mail financial columnist that I follow and seems to be the first one recommended by experts in the US when I’ve searched for this info. It is a little glitchy (I occasionally find missing transactions and Tim’s bank account hasn’t been downloading for month). They have “help” but are slow, likely because they have lots of issues to sort out with the Canadian launch. But I used to manually export data from all of our credit cards and bank accounts and categorize each transaction which took ages. Mint saves me a ton of time, even if it’s glitchy. Happy to answer more questions if you have any!

  2. Kristen, based on your feedback, I took the plunge and entered in all my accounts into Mint tonight. It’s quite convenient to have all your accounts and transactions in one place. It can literally track every single dollar that you have. I also like how it can show you data in different ways like a particular category (eg. clothing) or a particular store (Ed’s Adult Emporium).

    I hope this results in me saving money but in any case, I’m quite impressed with Mint!

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