Best Personal Finance Management Software?



From: Anonymous

Hi All,

Just wondering if I could hear some recommendations on what is the best personal finance tracking software.

I have started to play with Microsoft Money 2000 standard, but I've heard that Quicken might be better.

Does anyone have any opinions? Is Quicken better? Is MS Money 2002 significantly better than 2000? Is Quicken Personal Plus much better than Personal?

Thanks in advance.
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Reply: 1
From: Sim' Hampel

On 6/6/02 6:57:00 PM, Anonymous wrote:
>Hi All,
>Just wondering if I could hear
>some recommendations on what
>is the best personal finance
>tracking software.

They're all (all ? umm... both !) pretty much on a par these days.

>I have started to play with
>Microsoft Money 2000 standard,
>but I've heard that Quicken
>might be better.

My opinion as a 10 year Quicken user, is that Quicken is still more powerful, but not by much any more - Microsoft have had plenty of time to add features to catch up.

Money seems to be much easier for people to start out with, due to it's familiar interface (as with most things Microsoft) and it's good wizards which really help you get started.

>Does anyone have any opinions?
>Is Quicken better?

Quicken does almost everything I need. The major things I would like changed in Quicken are not actually in Money anyway, so I stick with what I know.

I don't think you will go much wrong either way.

>Is MS Money
>2002 significantly better than

Don't know enough of the details of each to comment.

>Is Quicken Personal Plus
>much better than Personal?

Mmm... I wouldn't say "much better", but there are features in Personal Plus which I like, so that's what I use. Look on the Quicken website for a comparison of the versions. If you don't understand the features they mention, post and I'll explain them to you.

Like I said, both products are very mature now and work really well for what they are... personal finance management tools.

The one bit of advice I give to everyone who asks about this stuff (and many who don't ask !!), is that a tool like this is only as good as the data you enter into it. If you are lazy and will lose interest and not keep it up to date, I'd save your dollars... you really won't get much from these products that internet banking can't give you.

If you are the anally retentive record keeping type (like me !) then you will find an impressive tool (either product) which can really help you with your financial planning, tax reporting and day to day expense management.

I know plenty of people who manage their finances by the balance printed on the ATM transaction record. Being a control freak, I could not imagine not knowing exactly what money is coming in, and exactly what money will be going out on a day to day basis.

Just my opinions ;-)

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Reply: 1.1
From: Duncan M

>I know plenty of people who manage their
>finances by the balance printed on the
>ATM transaction record. Being a control
>freak, I could not imagine not knowing
>exactly what money is coming in, and
>exactly what money will be going out on
>a day to day basis.

It seems to me that the single most important skill in managing personal finances is having the maturity to recognise that certain expenses are GOING to happen, the car WILL break down, it WILL need new tyres in 12 months, the Health Insurance bill WILL arrive in December.. the Rates bill WILL arrive in Feburary etc then making allowance for those expenses either by holding funds in a seperate bank account and maintaining a ledger of what the money in the account has been earmarked for or going even further and maintaining seperate bank accounts for each major class of expenses (which is what I do)..

Internet Banking and BPay now gives a fantastic ability to manage money.. when my salary hits my account each week automatic transfers to various accounts occur and small payments are sent to all of our suppliers who are on BPay (Gas, Electricity, Telephone, Rates, etc).

I know this method works as I've come from managing my financial life via ATM slips in the past, and dreading opening the letterbox on a daily base lest more bills arrive.

Software is a good start, a mindset about expenses and money needs to underpin it however.

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Reply: 1.1.1
From: Sim' Hampel

On 6/7/02 9:18:00 AM, Duncan M wrote:
>Software is a good start, a
>mindset about expenses and
>money needs to underpin it

Totally agree Dunc, well said !

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From: Nigel W

Agree with all the comments here.

In fact I'd go further and note that, whatever method you use, whether it be Sim's super Quicken setup or the back of an envelope you CANNOT succeed in investment or get ahead financially without managing your finances and controlling your expenditure.

If you're in bad debt to begin with it becomes even more critical. You just can't bail out the leaky boat of your financial future with a bucket that's full of holes!!!
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From: Thorpey !

Just another point to add to the already sound suggestions.
Quicken allows YOU to construct YOUR bank statement, which you can then reconcile with what the Bank sends you in the mail. I know I have exposed plenty of mistakes made by the bank (mostly in their favour)and corrected them by having a hold on financial records via software.


"Better to have it and not want it, than to want it and not have it"
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From: Sim' Hampel

Maybe I'm just lucky, but in the 10 years I've been reconciling accounts using Quicken, I've never found a mistake that the bank had not already fixed.

There are plenty of credit card transaction which have never shown up though ! (shhhhh !)


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From: Steven Parker

On 6/7/02 10:34:00 PM, Sim' Hampel wrote:
>There are plenty of credit
>card transaction which have
>never shown up though !
>(shhhhh !)


I have also used Quicken for quite a while (10 years soon) and like you, have found that quite a few of the credit card purchases never actually made it to the statement. This obviously causes me endless worry and concern and stops me sleeping at night....NOT! ;-)

Steve Parker
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From: DB Bear

Personally I like to use pen and paper plus keeping track of where everything goes. I'm a bit anal, too (Sim' ;-) and in the past I've tracked where every single one of my dollars has gone. I've also had a savings plan. For any that are interested, Freestylers has its Forward Living Seminar coming soon which is a system for managing your money. So far it doesn't have a software version but you really have to get it working on paper and in your head before you go plugging into some software -> Garbage In Garbage Out! :) Like Robert Kyosaki says about his sheets in the Cashflow Game - you need to know where it goes and why it goes where it does before you automate it.

Just my five cents worth....

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