I am a long-time user of Quicken software to track my accounts. As a former employee of Intuit, I have always been a fan of their mission to simplify people’s financial lives. But this mission hasn’t always translated into good product experiences.
So a couple of years ago I gave Mint a try and was very happy with their service. It was (and still is) free and it offers a good view into the state of your accounts.
At least, it used to.
For some reason, investments have always been difficult to track. To my knowledge, there are no good tools that are reasonably priced that allow you to track the performance of your investments. The biggest problem seems to be separating out initial investments from dividend or other returns. Inevitably these get counted as additional purchases instead of reinvestments. Mint suffered from the same algorithmic problems but I was willing to live with them.
But now it’s gotten so much worse. I’m not sure if Mint is not being well tended to by it’s new parent company or if this is just some strange anomaly with my account .. Here’s a snapshot of my latest investment report from Mint
To me, the initially alarming aspect was the RED chart. This is indicating by how much my investments are underperforming against the S&P 500. This chart showing that I’ve had essentially zero growth in the last 6 months. That’s disappointing (especially since I have a rather large portion of my accounts in an S&P 500 index fund. It’s also not accurate. A manual calculation shows that I’m doing relatively well against said index.
But perhaps worse than not reporting on the returns of my investments correctly, there’s something else horribly wrong with this report. Horribly wrong. (Unfortunately, for me). And that would be, the value of my investments. When I look at my account balances (as reported in Mint), my actual investment balance is somewhere oh .. let’s just say, WELL South of the number that is reported in this snapshot. Where the hell did this number come from? If only Mint operated as a bank and I could make a hasty withdraw..