Save! Save! Feel the burn! Mint.com gets its users into financial fitness

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Let's face it: keeping on top of your finances is never fun. Mint.com wants to change all that. Since September 2007, users of the online personal-finance service could track how they're spending money. Starting today, you can also measure how financially fit you are.

Financial Fitness measures whether you're using debt wisely, how well you're preparing for the unexpected, and several other aspects of saving your money. Once a month, Mint.com gives users a score of up to 100%, showing you everything you did right, such as spotting errors in your credit report -- and wrong, such as racking up bank fees or spending more than 30 percent of your card's credit limit.

Mint.com came up with the Financial Fitness system after many users complained that they didn't know what do after they learned where their money was going.

"They were cutting back but didn't know how to get out of debt, how to set up a proper budget, how to spend less than what they earned," says Mint.com CEO Aaron Patzer. "It's a points system, because we wanted to make it fun." Along with the percentage score, Mint.com offers friendly advice, such as ways (and reasons, if you needed them) to avoid bank fees. If tools aren't coupled with content, says Patzer, people will never get a handle on their finances.

Next up: helping users meet lifetime goals, like saving for retirement and putting kids through college (even kids who don't exist yet). Mint.com will roll out a longterm-goals feature within four months, Patzer says.

Now if only they could help me lose the five pounds I've carried around since my daughter's birth four years ago. Could Mint launch a physical-fitness application too? I suppose I can dream.

Be one of the first 500 WalletPop readers to test drive Financial Fitness. Sign up for a free account, then email walletpop-getfit@mint.com for access. (Once you've registered, allow up to three days for access.)
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