Lately, I have been more aggressive about managing my finances. One tool I think would be useful for doing so is to get historical data from my bank of my account balances, deposits, withdrawals and other similar information in a format easy to paste into Excel. That way I could graph trends in my spending, income and total wealth and calculate other aggregate variables.
Such data could help me make better decisions in a number of ways. For example, if I always had a lot of money in my checking account (which pays lower interest than my savings account), graphing my average checking account balance would be useful because I could save money by making sure to keep more money in my savings account instead of my checking account. It would also be quite useful to be able to easily put fairly precise dollar amounts on my total income and total spending, and the ability to monitor trends in my spending on fuel could help me make decisions about my future car decisions.
I was somewhat surprise and disappointed to learn that my bank does not provide a way to get such data. I doubt creating the feature would be very difficult, and I doubt that I would be the only person who would find such data useful. I am not sure why they don’t offer it.