-{ a hewer of maps }-

Virtual bank accounts

or, How to be my own bank.

To date we've been keeping our finances parceled out into a series of accounts, separated according to intended use: monthly expenses, savings for investment, savings for renovations, his, hers, kids, etc. It would make more sense (and cents) if these various accounts were merged into a single account to take advantage of cumulative interest. I did try this for awhile, and kept track of how much was in each category using a spreadsheet. However I wasn't very good at keeping it synchronised or up to date and it fell into disuse. Part of this was due to the constant mental friction of looking at the total balance sheet and trying to keep the partitions active in mind. It *looks* like a lot money when it's all in one pot, but once you start taking out the mortgage, insurance, etc. it really isn't.

I don't have any accounting experience. I have spent a few hours experimenting with kmymoney and categories to implement this kind of setup. I was partially successful, but there were lots of "sticky-outy bits" which didn't fit cleanly (which means too many opportunities for a rank amateur to make mistakes!).  What I'd like to be able to do is keep the appearance and experience of having a half a dozen or so accounts, like we do now with our real bank, but really only have two bank accounts (one chequing and one interest bearing savings).

Surely this is not a new idea, but I have not so far found any mention of this online. Maybe I just don't know the lingo of the people who do travel in these circles. Let's try lazyweb and see what comes up.


Figures, type it up, publish it, and thenin minutes find a prior discussion from 3 years ago, with an almost identical title no-less: http://www.ideashower.com/ideas/wish...bank-accounts/ There are a number of answers which come close, though most respondents seem to skip over the part about collective interest and concentrate solely on the views and management aspect. The discussion does bring up a sticky point I hadn't thought about: each nation has their own banking rules and methods, and within those each bank their own... There are some institutions mentioned which appear to be worth following up on, particularily www.mint.com.

...nope, mint is out, doesn't work in Canada. This in spite of the fact that Intuit of Quicken fame purchased mint.com, then stopped accepting new accounts on quickenonline which does work with canadian banks. They've also shown a marked lack of interest in remedying that, http://satisfaction.mint.com/mint/to...ming_to_canada. At least Glen36, way down near the bottom, took the time to describe why it's likely Mint is not getting Canadianised any time soon: we have more layers of security that make automation very difficult (a good thing IMO). Glen's post also makes clear, to me, why a desktop top app is what is really wanted in any case. (And honestly, this is not something I wanted to do online to begin with.)

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