Automated Personal Finance

Today I am finally switching from Capital One because of the broken integration with Plaid. For people who don’t understand, Plaid is a service which makes it effortless for programs to connect to a bank accounts. So, if you would like to do anything interesting your bank does not offer (spending analytics, smart transfers, etc) and you would like to use a cool program to help you with this, you will need Plaid to do it. Capital One has been notoriously poor with its Plaid integration, and individuals (like me) are frustrated.

I initially joined for low prices and better than average rates of interest. However, I ended up staying because of how simple Capital One makes it to start and manage multiple accounts.

It’s been a long journey for me to handle personal finances. For the last ten years I have handled that down, and a crucial tool for doing this was breaking my financial life into different buckets, for various rescue and saving objectives, and automating as much as possible.

The way I set up it is roughly this:

Paycheck comes in, has divided 3 ways (that is handled in the Justworks coating ): 1/ main spending account, 2/ overflow spending account, 3/ recurring invoices & savings accounts. Each of these 3 accounts are in different institutions.

And further, that account (until recently in Capital One) divides into a whole lot of smaller savings account for dedicated functions (vacations, home improvements, certain children activities, overall savings, etc — I have about 8 of those I use frequently, and the transports also occur automatically. I also auto-stash in my Stash accounts on a weekly basis.

The overflow spending account is for non-recurring big items (as an instance, some kids action or a medical bill).

The normal spending is for things like groceries, eating out, arbitrary purchases. Essentially, what’s left over after large things are handled.

It’s been a whole lot of work to place all this up in a way which makes sense. But it’s been worth it, because today we’ve got a system that keeps everything organized — not only concerning budget categories and investigation, but in terms of real accounts that we can spend from and save towards.

And even so, using extra tools to help (such as Personal Capital for overall evaluation, or Zeta for couples-based monitoring, or Astra for smart transfers) hasn’t worked due to the broken Plaid integration with Capital One. So enough of this; goodbye Capital One.

The wider point is that financial analysis is not enough. Moving money is a core component of managing it. I heard recently that the average consumer has balances in 4financial institutions — I do not feel that this is a luxury phenomenon.

Doing so in a holistic manner is hard, particularly with accounts across associations. But it appears to me that it’s the key to having a really organized and manageable financial life.

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