Budgeting Software – Mint vs. Personal Capital

Two popular online personal finance apps are Mint and Personal Capital. They are not the same…

The two apps are both free, so they are good choices for the diaconate to recommend to congregation members for monitoring their budgets. Members may be more likely to monitor their budgets if they can do it through an app on their phones rather than a program installed on their Mac or PC.

The critical difference is this: the two apps truly serve two different functions.

Mint is by Intuit. Intuit purchased the service in 2009. Since Intuit sold off Quicken, they have been focusing more intently on developing Mint.

The most attractive feature of Mint is its excellent budgeting capability. It comes default with a standard list of categories, but you can customize your own.

I think diaconates should develop a standard list of budget categories that it will use when providing assistance to congregation members. Standardizing the categories reduces confusion over time. It allows people to talk apples and apples, instead of apples and oranges. Even if the category list isn’t perfect, that’s fine. It just needs to be consistent over time.

Personal Capital, on the other hand, is designed to serve a different function: investment and retirement planning. It syncs with your bank accounts, just like Mint does, but it has very limited budgeting capability. For families in financial distress, budgeting is the primary focus. Mint will usually be the better fit.

That doesn’t mean you can’t install both. But it’s probably best to recommend installing and learning Personal Finance only after a family’s budget has been developed, and after they’ve demonstrated discipline in sticking to it. Budgeting will probably be an overwhelming experience in the beginning. There’s no need to introduce superfluous apps and software. Keep it simple.

For a comprehensive comparison of the two apps, click here to read “Personal Capital vs. Mint – Which Is Best for You?” at InvestorJunkie.