Right now all I have is a checking account, 401K, and an IRA. The reason it’s so risk-averse is because I can’t find time to trade the markets.
Worst Financial Move:
Trading options. It’s not because I picked the wrong equities to trade options on. One of the key differences between stock and options is time value – the value of options deteriorate over time. Stock might lose it’s value in the near-term, but it can also go higher in the long run. With simple options trading you bet whether the equity will go up or down before an expiration date. Getting the timing right can be tricky.
Use balance transfers as an alternative method to finance big purchases. When you purchase big-ticket items, you have several payment options: pay cash, bill me later, applying for a store credit card with 0% purchase APR, or you can use your rewards credit card. My credit card earns me miles. If I use the store card, I would get the 0% APR but not the miles. So I’d put the charge on the rewards card, and then transfer the balance to a card with 0% APR for 12 months. There could be a small balance transfer fee. Don’t use the balance transfer card for new purchases, and make minimum payments to pay it off over time.
How Do You Keep Spending in Check?
With Mint, I receive alerts when my balances are low and when I am exceeding my budget limits, and that helps. I made a commitment to deposit some amount each month into an IRA account. Discipline is important.
Who Taught You About Finance?
Well, I got my MBA, but that’s more about corporate finance. I taught myself about personal finance and investing.
How Many Credit Cards Do You Have?
I have only one. It’s a credit card that earns me miles. I pay it off in full every month.
Where Did You Work Before Mint?
Prior to Mint, I started a travel community site, which didn’t take-off. Prior to that, I worked at Discover Financial Services in their rotation program. The program runs for about a year so I worked in several divisions and learned how the credit card industry operates.
What Difference Do You See Going From A Large Company to a Start-up?
Less red-tape and lots of ping pong.
What Drew You to Mint?
I found out about Mint from TechCrunch 40. I was looking for opportunities so when I saw the ad on LinkedIn, I contacted Anton. During the initial interviews there were three things that drew me to Mint:
The business model — it made money
It was in the personal finance realm
I had the potential to contribute significantly to it’s success
How Will You Help Mint Grow?
Business development strategy, revenue, product, and what ever else that’s put on my plate. At the end of the day, Mint is all about data. It’s possible to get insight into spending patterns and find the best money saving opportunities for Mint users.
What are Your Typical Hours?
I am usually in the office after 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. When I go home I do work too, so from 8 p.m. on.
What’s your Favorite Things About Mint?
Definitely the people. There’s such a wide spectrum here. Every person is different and everyone contributes something unique. They’re all brilliant and really good at what they do.
What Has Been the Weirdest or Funniest Moment at Mint:
I find it weird that we don’t stock beer in the pantry. Like the other valley startups, Mint offers a lot of perks for employees-flexible hours, well-stocked kitchen, free lunch on Fridays, etc.
What Do You Do At Mint that You Never Thought You’d Be Doing
I never thought I’d do spot checks. It’s a lot of fun. Once in a while, I go around to each Mint employee’s desk and ask them to show me their Ways To Save Page and check their offers.
What Do You Look Forward to Every Day
I look forward to free-lunch Fridays! But on a serious note-working with partners to create value and generate revenue and growth for Mint.