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  • Writer's pictureRebecca Herbst

Goodbye Mint. Hello Monarch Money!

Updated: Mar 6

Each month, Joe and I meet to discuss our finances and one of the things we do at this time is go through our expenses together. We do this to maintain awareness – the simple act of looking through our spend as a couple helps facilitate conversations about our purchases, ensures we stay on track, and helps us catch any glaring errors like a charge that is incorrect or a return that wasn’t processed. 


But over the past few months, I started getting increasingly frustrated during our meetings. 


We’ve been using Mint to track our expenses. And for those of you that don’t know it already, Intuit who owns Mint, is sunsetting the product this month. For a while now, they’ve let the platform kind of go to sh*t. Back in the day I LOVED Mint. It was free. It was high-functioning. I could track all my investments and expenses in a way that was easy to understand and visually digest. But at some point, Intuit realized Mint wasn’t much of a money maker for them, and understandably so, they stopped investing in it. I started having issues syncing my accounts. Features got buggy. And worst of all, the automatic categorization for my spend never seemed to work. Costco Gas getting categorized under “Restaurants”? What the heck!


What should have been a small check-in task for me and Joe became a lengthy data clean up session every month. That ultimately led to rising tensions between us. I’d get real testy real fast. And although our system was obviously flawed, I kept using Mint because old habits die hard. 

But yesterday I cracked. I finally said “I AM DONE!”.


Mint is actively migrating users to Credit Karma by the end of this month. I checked it out for about 5 minutes. Some features have remained like tracking spending and net worth, but others like customized categories and budgeting have disappeared. While I was going through it, I already knew I wanted to move on. I don’t want to be forced to use another platform that, quite frankly, Intuit doesn’t care about, and that also provides little-to-no flexibility.


So, we’re moving on up! And trying out Monarch Money. I decided on Monarch after listening to this Earn & Invest podcast episode with Monarch’s CEO Val Agostino, who also worked as the Director of Product for Mint before and during the acquisition. In a nutshell, Monarch rebuilt what Mint was meant to be before Intuit acquired them. The platforms are extremely similar, but there are some core differences


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Here’s what I like so far about Monarch Money:


  • Monarch allowed us to import our data from Mint – we just had to map our old data to the new platform which took about an hour for us. We had created unique categories that we needed to establish in Monarch, and we had to tag older expenses to the proper accounts. This probably took us longer than the average user as we have a long history with Mint and a lot of credit card accounts since Joe likes churning for points. I imagine this will look more like a 10-15 minute process for the average user.

  • The account syncing was pretty smooth and maintaining account connections doesn’t seem to be a problem like it was with Mint

  • The automatic categorization of expenses is working quite well (my biggest pain point!)

  • There is a lot of flexibility, much more so than Mint. You can make unique rules to help automate your expense tracking 

  • You can invite another person to be in your household for free. So we only have to pay for one user.

  • On the whole, the price seems right. Monarch is offering Mint users a 30 day trial free and then 50% off for the first year (original price is $8.33 a month as of March 4, 2024)

  • The budgeting and goals tools seem quite useful. I say “seem”, because I personally won’t use these as much because I’m not much of a budgeter so I’m not using these features as intensely.

Source: Monarch Money


Here’s what I don’t like about Monarch Money: 


  • While I can invite another user to my household account, I can’t easily toggle between his accounts and mine. This would be an incredibly useful feature for Monarch to add, and would make it a lot easier for couples to discuss finances.

  • The Reports section is not as good as Mint’s Trends section was, but it’s not too bad. It’s still in Beta so I imagine this will get better, but for now it’s not as interactive as I’d like. My biggest gripe is the inability to drill down to individual expenses when you click on a category. For instance, it would be nice to click on Baby Supplies, and see individual expenses for our baby boy Isaac these past two months. 


Source: Monarch Money


  • The Investments section is straight up trash! There is really no useful information here. It just shows more or less what I’m invested in and how it compares to the S&P 500. That’s it. I also can’t easily see how my net worth is tracking, nor explore allocations across account types (taxable vs. tax-advantaged). This was extremely disappointing!


Source: Monarch Money


I should note that I haven’t used the Monarch or Mint apps on my phone so I can’t comment on the mobile experience, just the desktop. 


Long story short: Monarch seems like a good and reliable expense tracking and budgeting product, but so far it’s crap for investments. To solve this, I still plan to use Empower (formerly Personal Capital) to track my net worth and expenses. I don’t love that I’m using two different platforms, but with that said Empower is free, so I’m ok paying for one and not the other. It’s not ideal, BUT it seems like a big improvement from what we were doing before. 


Some extra feelings: Part of me feels a little annoyed that I have to pay for a product like Monarch since I know I won’t really make good use out of their budgeting features. But I’m aware that expense tracking in and of itself is a very expensive operation to run. Banks often require extensive security measures and compliance checks. Implementing and maintaining these security measures can be costly for aggregator platforms like Monarch Money, which is why they are pushing forth a subscription model. And since Joe and I have lots of credit cards and accounts, we really do benefit from using an aggregator, making me much more willing to pay for this service. And in the end, it’s pretty low cost. 


Hopefully this solution is the right one for us! I’ll keep you posted if things change. Reach out if you are using a platform you really like. I know some students, like Karina, love using Copilot but I have not used it yet!


 

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The information contained in the Yield & Spread website, course materials and all other related content is provided for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to substitute for obtaining accounting, tax, or financial advice, and may not be suitable for every individual. Yield & Spread is not a registered investment, legal or tax advisor or a broker/dealer.


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