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Yodlee MoneyCenter

I’ve only been using it a few days, and I’m already in love with Yodlee MoneyCenter, an account aggregation service that I first found out about on My Money Blog.

Yodlee basically organizes all of your financial accounts in one place. You give them all the logins and passwords of your individual financial accounts (banks, brokerage accounts, credit cards, utilities, etc), and it logs into all the sites for you. In the end you have a real-time view of all your balances and transactions, all neatly on one page. Best of all, it’s online, accessible anywhere, and FREE.

Now, some people might worry about Yodlee getting hacked into and then having all of your account information available in one shot. But, if you access Yodlee everyday, then you’ll be well aware of anything out of the ordinary in any of your accounts and be able to fix it before any major damage is done. Yodlee has been likened to a huge vault containing many safes. If any of the safes get cracked into, you will know and be able to fix it. If the vault gets tampered with, you will also know if you check it regularly, and then you can sound an alarm. Personally, I find it no more of a security risk than signing in and out of multiple accounts everyday or using a spreadsheet to keep track of all your passwords (which I actually had to resort to doing!). And if you use the same password for all of your accounts (shame, shame!), then there isn’t any risk in using Yodlee at all.

I find the convenience of Yodlee, on the other hand, to be HUGE. Having everything in one spot saves me so much time. And not having to remember a million different passwords and log-in names makes me very happy J Plus, now I can keep track of all those random credit cards or banking accounts that I haven’t used in ages, to make sure everything is a-okay.

I’m still learning about all the cool features of Yodlee, but there are a couple that really stand out so far. First, there is a net woth calculator which lists all your assets and liabilities from all your accounts and calculates your net worth at that exact moment. You can even enter accounts that are offline to keep track of your net worth. There is also a portfolio manager if you want to track your investments from different accounts.

It can also track your online bills (utilities, phone,etc) for you. Right now I have my Verizon Wireless account set up, so it not only tracks the amount that I owe each month, but it also will notify me when I have come close to maxing out my minutes.

There is this awesome expense analysis feature, where you can get a breakdown of all your expenses by category. You can even have Yodlee send budget status reports, or alert you when you’ve gone over your budget threshold. I love this feature. I had to go through and fix some of the categorizations, and set up a few rules of my own (for example, they didn’t recognize Trader Joes, Sprouts, or Fry’s as grocery expenses), but after very little time on my part I had a fairly accurate representation of all my expenses. This past month has been a bit skewed, due to all my “other expenses” = purchases for my bike, but I consider that a long-term investment. Here is the pie chart from my expenses this past month:

Expense Analysis: 09/17/06 – 10/17/06

A rough breakdown: 20.4% other expenses (blue), 17% checks (red — this actually needs to be further broken down, since it lumps together all of my checks that I have written, including utilities, gym membership, hair/aesthetician, etc), 17.3% groceries (green), 8% restaurants/dining (yellowish orange), 7.5% gas (dark green). It will be interesting to see how my expenses change as I keep better track of them.

Apparently, various versions of Yodlee are licensed by many financial institutions, including Bank of America, HSBC, and Wachovia. Bank of America has My Portfolio, which is supposed to be less clunky than the newest versions of Yodlee. For now, I’m using the regular Yodlee interface, and while it does take a bit of time to update all my accounts at once, I am one happy customer!

7 Responses to “Yodlee MoneyCenter”

  1. stardo says:

    looks good. i’ve seen the money blog before and it is interesting. i would rather manually keep track of my info rather than use something like yodlee though. i am extremely suspicious of giving all my usernames/passwords to a single authority, i don’t care who that authority is. maybe i am just old fashioned. a safe of safes isn’t quite a correct analogy, it is more like a safe of opened safes. it’s a single point of failure for all of your accounts. i’d prefer my accounts to be spread out, with various mixed usernames and passwords, and as an additional layer of precaution i would prefer if very few if any people knew about any individual account.

    personal information theft runs rampant these days and i’d prefer to be a bit paranoid than have to go through the mess of getting things back in order (it can take months to years).

    i also find that making up my own method of keeping track of my finances and expenses keeps me motivated to keep on checking up on it, especially if i have to manually add new entries in every now and then.

    ::shrugs:: to each his/her own.

  2. stardo says:

    also, to keep track of usernames/passwords (though i know most of them by now) i have a giant text file stored on an encrypted volume disguised as a regular file among other files on a usb pen drive. it also has other useful things on it (maps, important numbers, etc) and serves as a device my parents can use in the event of my untimely death or in the event of a catastrophic disaster (assuming we have electricity after such, though i have 2 laptops, so those should hold until i can get the info off the drive).

    the program used to decrypt the volume stores it in RAM and clears it after, so short of a physical attack on your pc while the drive is in your computer and the volume is decrypted, it is virtually secure. it is a mild inconvenience to decrypt the drive, and would be similar to logging into a website.

  3. stardo says:

    i also like the way the money blog and other similar money blogs organize their month to month expenses and change in net worth. again i like it but i consider more of a private approach to a public approach to such things, both from a security perspective and from a personal standpoint. i don’t want the whole world knowing how much money/debt i have. the only people who really need to know are those who such money/debt is impacted by, especially in the event of my death.

    reasons for this are simple: in this modern world we live in, if people know you have money, then people naturally are inclined to try to take that money away from you somehow (suing, theft, divorce, etc). i don’t need to brag about money if i have money. i’d rather live in a modest house with modest possessions and drive a modest car. were i to have much money someday, i would hope i would not squander or flaunt such wealth. my personal goal to be worth x million dollars net worth is nice and all, but i’ll keep it to myself.

    nothing wrong with other people reporting what they make though, mostly because i don’t care, lol.

  4. admin says:

    Yup, to each his own. Like I said, I’m saving valuable time this way. And time is money in my book ;) And I have ALOT of accounts. If you have only one or two accounts, then your way is fine and Yodlee is unneccessary. But this way I can keep track of 20+ accounts without going through multiple browsers, clearing caches or cookies, etc (not that I do any of that, I’m really not that paranoid). Plus I’m less apt to check those accounts very often unless I have a bill or something, so if something were to go wrong, I probably wouldn’t catch it until it were too late. Under federal banking regulations, you have quite a few rights when it comes to electronic fraud. Catch it within two days, and you’re only liable for $50. Within sixty days and the cap rises to $500. Anytime over that and you’re SOL. So, the difference between two and three days could cost you $450. Yodlee could very well save you that extra day. In this case, speed = money.

    And you’re right, it’s more like having the contents of all those safes stored in the vault. But the fact of the matter is, having all your finances aggregated is flippin’ convenient. And for me and many others out there, it’s worth the small risk.

    Also, many large banks utilize Yodlee for their online services. So if you’re banking at BofA, Citibank or HSBC, you’re already using Yodlee services. If these huge financial institutions are using it, then I think it’s okay for me to use.

    Peace out.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I admire people for sharing their personal goals. By sharing a goal publicly, you are more likely to stick to their resolution. Same goes for any resolution, i.e. losing weight, getting better grades, sobriety, etc. If you keep it hidden, then you can go have a major spending spree or eating binge and no one except for you is any wiser. It’s called accountability.

    But also, these people aren’t bragging about their wealth. They’re usually average joes, just trying to make a decent/somewhat frugal living. In the case of My Money Blog, he’s just trying to save enough money for the down payment of his first house. Modest goal, and I think everyone learns from his financial successes/failures.

    Others (like yourself) openly share their inner thoughts and feelings on blogs, which to some is MORE personal than financial information.

  6. Anonymous says:

    AAAAAAAAAHHHHH

    I MY HEAD ASPLODER WHEN I’S READING’s THIS POST
    SEVEN OF ELEVEN START WITH ‘I’ OMGWTFBBQ

  7. stardo says:

    yeah i realize it’s not bragging and i realize that people are more inspired to keep at something if they publish their current status. why? because most people lack the self-discipline to do it otherwise. with a goal-based web blog, be it about weight, grades, money, etc, publishing gives you a sense of accountability. if nobody knows then it is easy to fall off the bandwagon. if people see when you slip up, though, you are less likely to *keep* slipping up and more likely to try to compensate for the slip up in some other way.

    i like my spreadsheets, and i like to review them every now and then with friends/family. i would just prefer the whole world not know about my money, due to the nature of money.

    as to openly sharing inner thoughts and feelings on blogs, meh, i could care less about that. the nature of such is such that i can select virtually anything to write about at a whim, with varying degrees of personal details, anything of which i could leave out if i wanted. moreover, sifting through those details for something important would take anyone who would want to know about them a sufficiently long amount of time, increasing with the amount of my writing.

    the difference, i think, in my mind between a money blog and a personal blog is this:

    a money blog is more like if i were to write exactly about my daily schedule, or all the places i have gone or plan to go in a day. i would consider a blog like that to be more personally dangerous because you leave yourself open to potential harassment or stalking if people can easily see the places you frequent and historical patterns. it would also be a very boring blog for people to read because it doesn’t contain much substance. a money blog is nice for personal reference, but serves little purpose in being published other than a sense of accountability (but just a sense, because few people are going to read your money blog day in and day out unless it presents something useful for them as well).

    again, though, to each his/her own. i prefer it this way, doesn’t mean it’s necessarily good/right for others.

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