LearnVest vs. Mint. These two personal finance apps are fighting for space on your phone, tablet or computer, but is there a place for both? Taken together, do they provide the perfect blend of features, or should you stick with just one?
LearnVest vs. Mint: How Do They Stack Up?
Let’s take a look at the pluses and minuses of Mint first, then those of LearnVest, to get an idea of whether one is a stand-out on its own.
Mint: The Pros and Cons
Since being purchased by Intuit – the maker of the popular tax software, Turbotax – Mint has become even more of a staple in the personal finance space.
When you log in, an alert screen gives you all kinds of (sometimes depressing) information that allows you to see where your money is going.
Of course, as part of those alerts, you’ll find some savvy sales tactics. One alert might say, for example, that “you’re paying 180% more than the average Mint user for auto insurance. Save an estimated $542 by comparing quotes.” (If you’re wondering how Mint can offer such an impressive app at no cost, those alerts are part of its revenue stream. But don’t hold that against the site. It has to pay the bills somehow. See also: How Mint.com Makes Money (INTU).)
You can enter accounts from a huge selection of financial institutions, put together powerful budgets to keep you on track, set spending and savings goals, view an impressive number of charts and graphs that visualize your financial picture and track your investments. (For more on Mint, check out Mint.com: Top Free Money-Tracking Tools.)
The platform also has an iOS and Android app if you’re the mobile viewing type.
Mint does have its weaknesses. First, if you’re looking for powerful investment features, Mint is not the answer. The app reports some basic performance data but not much more than that. Second, although there’s a “Trends” section that reports data, you can’t generate actual reports, which you can do in more robust financial apps.
Also, don’t expect the categorization of transactions to be completely accurate without manual intervention. You'll have to help the app recognize some transactions and place them into categories. The good news is that for recurring transactions, Mint will learn.
Finally, customer support is only in the form of e-mail or Mint’s forums, with e-mail being quite slow. Expecting much more from a free app isn’t overly realistic, but keep that in mind.
LearnVest: The Pros and Cons
Like many successful apps, LearnVest is under new ownership. It was acquired by Northwestern Mutual in 2015. Prior to the acquisition, it was an app aimed at women, but it has since moved away from that to become a financial app for everybody.
You can enter all of your accounts, and as you do, the app places them in categories by account type in a simple interface.
The app makes money by asking you to upgrade from the free service to a service that gives you access to a financial planner. The cost is $19 per month with a $299 one-time setup fee.
One of the major drawbacks with LearnVest is its lack of investment tracking. Although you can enter your investment accounts along with your banking and other accounts, there’s no detailed performance information. Currently, there’s no Android app – only an iOS version. (For more, read How LearnVest Works.)
How They’re Similar
LearnVest and Mint are similar in that they both provide an easy way to keep track of your financial accounts in one easy-to-use dashboard. Seeing where your money is going is the first step in taking control of your financial life, and both of these apps are fantastic tools for that purpose.
Each has powerful ways of setting goals. Whether you’re paying down debt or saving for retirement, LearnVest and Mint will help you get there by guiding you in putting together a playbook.
The Bottom Line
Both of these apps offer strong tools to help you better manage your money, but remember: They’re still trying to sell you something, so the advice isn’t necessarily unbiased. The basics of financial planning are simple – pay down debt, carefully evaluate all spending and save for the future. Use these tools to help you accomplish those goals.
If you’re trying to decide which app to try out based on purely financial factors, you’ll probably find that Mint has a more comprehensive feature set. LearnVest also doesn’t have an Android app, so if you’re an Android user, your choice is clear.