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Geezeo – Personal finance with a social twist

This post is the second in a series of posts that will highlight various free online personal finance tools (link to 1st post).  As you can tell from the title, this particular post will give a rundown of Geezeo.  I’m going to talk about the positives as well as the negatives from my perspective.  These are purely my opinions and you are more than welcome to disagree.  So let’s get started…

Unlike, which I reviewed first, Geezeo is able to automatically pull transactions directly from most major banks.  No longer do you have to manually keep a record of each transaction as you go.  Geezeo takes care of this for you.  It should be noted that Quicken Online, Buxfer, and Mint all offer this functionality as well.

One of the first things to catch my eye when I signed up for Geezeo was the social aspect of the site.  You are able to join groups with other users and make public goals stating exactly what you want to accomplish.  I think there can be a lot of value in sharing your goals with other people and working together to achieve them.  Geezeo even gives you the ability the chat with other members of groups you join, so you can encourage each other directly to achieve your goals.  Personally, this does not do a whole lot for me, but I’m sure there are many people out there that would really enjoy this functionality.

I may not care about the social aspect too much, but I absolutely love the goals from a completely different standpoint.  I love how I can put my goal in print and explain exactly what it means and when it will be achieved.  For example, I created a goal called “Build a 3 Month Cushion”.  Then I told it that this goal will be accomplished when my savings account exceeds a certain amount.  I also set a date for when I want to accomplish the goal.  Now every time I log in, Geezeo will tell me just how close I am to achieving my goal.  Many people a lot smarter than I am say the best way to accomplish something is to write down exactly what it is that you hope to achieve.  Geezeo gives you this ability and allows you to keep track of your progress– love it.

Now for the things that I do not really like about Geezeo.  The first thing that I’m not a huge fan of is the design.  All of the rounded corners and bright color gradients give the feeling of an early web 2.0 site, which is not necessarily a bad thing. I typically prefer a more “quiet” design, but I can get over differences in design preference.  However, my biggest hitch with how the site looks is the big stinking advertisements.  I did read that Geezeo is a privately funded company, so I can understand the necessity for advertisements, but that doesn’t mean that I have to like it.

Finally, my biggest knock against Geezeo is the lack of solid reporting.  I want to be able to analyze where I’m spending my money and see trends from one season of the year to the next.  I want to be able to predict where my balance will stand 3 months from now.  I feel like analysis is a feature that an online tool can offer that pen and paper just cannot keep up with.  With pen and paper I can add and subtract transactions, and I can write my goals on a napkin.  However, computers are able to do much more complex calculations and I just don’t feel like Geezeo takes advantage of this opportunity.

So there you have it.  There are positive things about Geezeo (things that I really really like), but there are also things that turn me off as a user.  Like many of the personal finance websites out there, this is a very young company and I expect to see some pretty rapid improvement in the near future.  When you are in a field with as many big names as this field has, you have to improve rapidly just to keep from being left in the dust.  As for this point in time, I just don’t feel like Geezeo offers the things that I find most important in an online personal finance tool (*cough*Reports*cough*); therefore I will continue to look for what I consider the best free personal finance website available.

Next time I will take a look at Quicken Online.  There is no doubt that the Quicken name has been around the block, but how well has it made the transition from desktop application to the web?  Guess you’ll just have to come back later to find out.

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