Social Networking and Personal Finance Mixed Together

June 14, 2007

Today’s WSJ had part two($) of their Young Money series. The WSJ has not made this series freely available to the public, which is unfortunate since most “young moneyers” aren’t subscribers. Anyhow, today’s article was about websites that allow people to manage their money in full public view, much like a lot of personal finance bloggers have been doing for years.

The article didn’t focus on bloggers, but rather on websites that operate sort of like forums. Users can upload their personal financial information and other users can offer up suggestions on how to do better. It’s a pretty cool idea but not one I will ever do since everyone knows me. I’m also a little leery of giving these sites access to my personal finance information as well as links and passwords to financial websites. From the article:

The type of information you need to enter into these sites — and how public that information becomes — depends on the site and what you want to get out of it. At Geezeo, for example, users provide their passwords for their bank and credit-card accounts, which the site uses to automatically pull users’ data into its systems. At Wesabe, users download a software program onto their computer and then enter their passwords. The program then pulls their data from the banks to users’ computers, and then uploads it to Wesabe’s computers.

At both sites, users’ data is kept private, although members can voluntarily share more information about themselves with other people. The sites will also aggregate user information to reveal spending patterns in the community — such as the average amount users spend on gas — but will not disclose individual data.

If you’re still interested, I have listed the sites below. I am only familiar with NetworthIQ. The rest of them I have never heard of. Here’s the sites listed in the article:

Organizing Your Finances

Tracking Expenses

Helping You Invest

Have any of you had any experience with any of these sites? If so, leave a comment and let the rest of us know what you think.

7 responses to Social Networking and Personal Finance Mixed Together

  1. Hi JLP. Boy, that makes me happy to hear that we’re the only one you’re familiar with! Especially since we have fewer resources than any of the other guys. I’m hearing good things about Wesabe. It’s aimed at tracking spending while we take a higher level (and simpler, IMO) view by just looking at net worth every month to keep you on track. I’ve never heard of Geezeo until now and the Expense tracking sites are really aimed at college students/younger people who have shared expenses (like the electric bill). Covestor is new to me too and does look interesting.

    Thanks for the link.

  2. We use NetWorthIQ, but I keep our profile private. The only thing I would remind people about when they use it is that they shouldn’t use it as a comparison tool. You can run all kinds of reports on it to compare your net worth to others on the site by Age, Income, Occupation, etc., but obviously many profiles on the site are going to be fake / inaccurate / inflated. However, if you’re just looking to track your Assets & Liabilities, it’s an easy tool.

  3. I just recently (after seeing an article about it) signed up for Wasabe. It is quite interesting, but I found that they currently can’t incorporate my information from Capital One Bank. Until they can do this, the utility it provides is somewhat limited.
    One thing Wasabe does have is an interesting user community that is full of great ideas (“tips” as they are called). It is easy to post a questions/need and have community members quickly respond with ideas and personal anecdotes. I was also impressed to see that those running the site are actively involved in the user community as well.
    Wasabe seems to be making regular updates and enhancements. The upload tool they provide was very simple (I was able to upload my credit card data), and made me more comfortable than handing over my bank passwords.
    One neat feature that Wasabe hangs its hat on is a tool that deciphers all of the transaction codes, numbers and letters that appear on your bank/credit card statements. Some of these codes are deciphered by members of the community, so the community as a whole is enhanced by individual contributions.

    Anyway, Wasabe is the only one I have ever tried, so I have no points of comparison. I think once they get Capital One Bank download ability, I will be able to better leverage their services.

  4. I was featured in a different WSJ article today (Thursday), but they failed to mention my website name, so I’m not writing about it. I’m upset with the editor, so I don’t want to send them any traffic. Like the article you mentioned, mine is also for subscribers only (it’s about customizable laptops), so there’s no point in linking to it anyway 🙁

  5. I can’t believe no one has mentioned Yodlee Money center. They even have the ability to pull bills/ and reward accoutns. Not everything is there, but I’ve only run into one problem and it is currently listed as a beta which means it will be working soon. The link is monecenter.yodlee.com.

  6. Some great coverage about the entire space in the last few days. Jordan, If you are looking for a place that can automate your capital one account – you should check out Geezeo.

    best of luck… A bunch of great companies mentioned…

  7. @Amanda Thanks for using NetworthIQ. Great to see members out here in the blogosphere. I appreciate your caution with regards to the comparisons, and would note that we recently started filtering out stale profiles from the listings and statistics which has cleaned a large portion of the seemingly obvious fake profiles. We will continue to tweak this and add more ways to clean these up.

    I do believe comparisons are a good data point, not as important as keeping track of your own money consistently, but one way to see if you’re on track to meet your goals. If somebody is of similar age, occupation and location and is way ahead of me, perhaps I can learn something from them. While I agree you shouldn’t get too caught up in them, I wouldn’t discount them altogether.