5 ways my finances are on autopilot

There’s nothing more comforting than knowing that most of your financial decisions are taken care of.

I know the feeling, because my finances are on autopilot. (But they won’t deflate, like the autopilot from Airplane!)

Every month, my major financial transactions are set to go themselves. I don’t have to worry about paying most of my bills, saving for short-term needs or investing for retirement.

It’s automatically set up to happen.

Here are 5 ways my finances are on autopilot.

  1. Direct Deposit
    Every two weeks when my paycheck arrives, that money goes straight into my checking account. I don’t have to worry about finding time to go to the ATM — my money is there and ready to be used.
  2. Housing Fund Savings
    Each month, money is automatically transferred from my checking account into a high-yield online savings account holding our housing fund. We treat it like any other bill, knowing that we can’t spend that money. Since it’s on autopilot, I don’t have to worry about remembering to save.
  3. Roth IRA Investments
    On the first of the month, Vanguard automatically transfers money from our checking account and purchases index funds for our Roth IRAs. Since the investment occurs the same day every month, we don’t have to worry about trying to time the market based on its ups and downs. Again, we treat this like a bill.
  4. Automatic Bill Pay
    Our cell phones, cable, Internet and telephone bills are automatically paid each month. We don’t have to worry about late fees or bills getting stuck in the mail — the services are paid for and that’s that.
  5. 401(k) Contributions
    10% of my salary gets chopped off the top of my paycheck and automatically deposited into my 401(k) — plus an additional 2% from my employer. Not only is the savings automatic, but because the contributions come first, my taxable income is lower — giving me more cash in hand.

Are you finances on autopilot? Let us know what you’re doing in a comment below.…

Mint Officially Launches, Wins Top Company at TechCrunch40

Mint, an online personal finance tracker and tip application, officially launched yesterday at the TechCrunch40 Web startup conference, also taking home the top company prize and $50,000.

I’ve come across Mint in the past, but it’s never been open for public access. It is now, and I’ve opened an account and will be reviewing it soon.

Here’s the low-down on the services they provide:

– Account aggregation
– Expense tracking
– Account alerts
– Deal and account finders

Beyond the account and deal suggestions, it doesn’t sound much different than Yodlee. The interface, however, is 10x more Web 2.0 (if that’s a good thing …).

Suggesting new ways to save on credit cards, savings accounts and more is great.

I’ll have more on it soon, but for a quick review, Adena DeMonte at GigaOm calls it a “treat.”

I’ve been using the beta version for a few weeks now, and I am impressed with what the site has to offer. While competitors Geezeo and Wesabe are reasonably adequate for money management, Mint gets online personal finance right.

In order to add accounts to Mint, you must give them your user name and password for your various banks (similar to Yodlee). Although this may not seem totally safe, it’s a much easier way to aggregate account information than with Wesabe’s uploader (which I have since un-installed).…