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Alternatives to Quicken
Old 07-13-2005, 08:33 AM   #1
 
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Alternatives to Quicken

I really hate Quicken. Every time I run it there's some new headache (today it wouldn't let me enter 2005 as the tax year for a SEP-IRA contribution). It's by far the worst application on my system -- it degrades with every upgrade.

Looks like Money is pretty bad too. Any alternatives that you guys use?

I'm also considering using Vanguard to track all my investments, and not entering that data in Quicken at all.
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Re: Alternatives to Quicken
Old 07-13-2005, 09:02 AM   #2
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Re: Alternatives to Quicken

I'm very surprised. I've been using Quicken for many years with very good results - other than a few desired enhancements. What version do you have?
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Re: Alternatives to Quicken
Old 07-13-2005, 09:14 AM   #3
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Re: Alternatives to Quicken

I don't use SEP-IRAs and am not very familiar with them but I just managed to set one up in Quicken and make a 2005 contribution as a test. I think it's important that the date the account is setup in Quicken for a 2005 contribution is April 15 2000.

Edit: To make a 2005 contribution, it appears that the account must be established by April 15, 2005.
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Re: Alternatives to Quicken
Old 07-13-2005, 12:20 PM   #4
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Re: Alternatives to Quicken

Quote:
Originally Posted by oldbykur
I think it's important that the date the account is setup in Quicken for a 2005 contribution is April 15 2000.
How ironic that, in Al's post, this date appears to be a typo...

And why the &$+*! should Quicken care about the 15 Apr date? Perhaps there's some SEP-IRA requirement I'm not familiar with, but when we enter data in Quicken it's usually after the fact and that's the wrong time for the software to declare "You can't do this"...

When an ETF split last month (S&P600/Barra Small-cap Value, IJS, not that it should matter) Quicken let me bring up the stock-splits screen but the ETF wasn't on the pull-down menu. Funds that I haven't owned for years were on the menu and a bunch of other crap was on the menu, but not the fund that I actually owned and wanted to manipulate. After a couple weeks of fiddling, Quicken's website finally upated the historical data to include the split and I was able to "solve" the problem that way.

Quicken needs some design philosophy upgrades (retrogrades?). The new "investment transactions" window spends so much time error-checking and restricting your input that the program is beginning to resemble a little old nanny. Thank goodness I entered most of those 100K transactions using older versions.

Maybe we veterans need a version that doesn't treat us like spastic five-year-olds. Where's "Classic Quicken"?

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Re: Alternatives to Quicken
Old 07-13-2005, 03:00 PM   #5
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Re: Alternatives to Quicken

I'm using version 2005, if I could I would roll it back to 2003
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Re: Alternatives to Quicken
Old 07-13-2005, 03:13 PM   #6
 
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Re: Alternatives to Quicken

Quote:
Originally Posted by saluki9
I'm using version 2005, if I could I would roll it back to 2003
You don't like 2005? - Please elaborate. I may not go there real soon. Problems?
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Re: Alternatives to Quicken
Old 07-13-2005, 03:31 PM   #7
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Re: Alternatives to Quicken

T Al,

I'm not a fan of Quicken either. Most canned programs are geared for the masses not your specific situation. I prefer a balance sheet view. Ask your friendly commercial banker for a copy of their personal financial statement form. Pick the sections that apply to you and copy to a spreadsheet and update 1/4'ly or semiannually, or more often if you feel the need. I did this a few years ago and it works for me
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Re: Alternatives to Quicken
Old 07-13-2005, 03:39 PM   #8
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Re: Alternatives to Quicken

Quote:
Originally Posted by BUM
I'm not a fan of Quicken either. Most canned programs are geared for the masses not your specific situation.* I prefer a balance sheet view.* Ask your friendly commercial banker for a* copy of their personal financial statement form. Pick the sections that apply to you and copy to a spreadsheet and update 1/4'ly or semiannually, or more often if you feel the need. I did this a few years ago and it works for me*
Bum, how do you do your expense tracking? Linked spreadsheets?

ha
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Re: Alternatives to Quicken
Old 07-13-2005, 03:50 PM   #9
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Re: Alternatives to Quicken

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords

And why the &$+*! should Quicken care about the 15 Apr date?* Perhaps there's some SEP-IRA requirement I'm not familiar with, but when we enter data in Quicken it's usually after the fact and that's the wrong time for the software to declare "You can't do this"...
Nords
You are correct! I just setup a SEP IRA account in Quicken using yesterday's date and made a $1,000 deposit using today's date as a test. Everything worked as advertised.

Personally, I have found Quicken to be an excellent product and have managed all my income, expenses and investments in Quicken for many years. I do not care for Quicken's planning and what-if features and use spreadsheets for this.
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Re: Alternatives to Quicken
Old 07-13-2005, 04:13 PM   #10
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Re: Alternatives to Quicken

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cut-Throat
You don't like 2005? - Please elaborate. I may not go there real soon.* Problems?
I upgraded from 2003 to 2005 when my 2003 software corrupted earlier this year on a power hit. (Hey, I was going to reload a program anyway. Seemed like a good idea at the time.) Some of the more infamous 2005 problems:
1.) Changing the downloading software's data format. Many new banks/brokerages don't use it (haven't paid Intuit for it) and your financial institutions might have a compatibility problem. The only downloading I do is the portfolio update, which works fine with Fidelity, so it's not an issue with me.
2.) Investment data has to be entered into a form now instead of directly into the register. It's so idiot-proof that it's user-hostile.
3.) Maybe it's a glitch with my install, but when Quicken notifies me that it's time for a backup and asks me to start it, the program delivers that dialog box every fraction of a second for as long as it takes me to hit the "Cancel" buttons. There's not a fix out for it yet.
4.) When you enter split categories in a transaction, closing the split window with an OK does not automatically save the transaction. If you don't notice that then Quicken will let it hang open until you try to close the program, at which point you get the ambiguous "You have changed a transaction, would you like to save your change?" without giving you a !@#$ hint which particular one of your week's worth of transactions it's referring to. I think that problem's left over from 2003.
5.) It takes quite a while to hunt down & kill all the helpful ads & popups. If you thought 2003 was cluttered with that crap, wait until you see 2005.

Watch out if you buy it with a rebate. I thought I was bundling it with TurboTax but Intuit refused the rebate since I downloaded Q05 instead of buying it in the box. Even Intuit had a tough time finding that little factoid on their rebate website, but they were pretty motivated to prove me wrong...

Still a hostage, but this time I'm hoping to hold off the next upgrade to 2008-9.
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Re: Alternatives to Quicken
Old 07-13-2005, 05:17 PM   #11
 
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Re: Alternatives to Quicken

I'll see if I can come up with some examples of Quicken problems (I have 2005):

1. Every month or two I get the error message "The fixed payment to CICA was not recorded in the register because Quicken could not locate a checkfree account with a matching SSN."

Those fixed payments stopped in about 1993 - 12 years ago. I have repeatedly tried to get rid of those error message through tech support. No go.

2. Sometimes I do a Find for text in the register and it doesn't find it. I repair the database, and then it can find it.

3. In the past, you could be writing checks, press Ctl-T to list the memorized transactions, and select one to be entered into the checks. This no longer works.

4. I get delays of 20 seconds or so when moving to some sections of the program -- no hourglass cursor, just a delay.

5. 80% of the time it tells me there's no Internet connection. I click Ignore and then it works.

6. When I simply want to transfer money from one fund to another: This requires 4 transactions (sell to cash, cash fund 1 to cash fund 2, buy in fund 2).

7. Here's an example of what happens when you try to get tech support (Live Chat):

10:28:43 AM System Welcome Al ...
10:28:45 AM System Connecting to server. Please wait...
10:28:45 AM System Connected to quicken.ehosts.net
10:28:45 AM System Session ID: 274246
10:28:45 AM System Initial Question/Comment: Instructions for
eliminating a linked checking account do not work
10:29:17 AM System Brian has joined this session!
10:29:21 AM Brian: Welcome to Quicken chat. I've reviewed the brief
issue summary you provided. Could you provide specific details to
help me better understand your situation?
10:30:43 AM You: I want to eliminate my linked checking accounts. The
instructions for this say:
10:30:45 AM You: In the Account Bar on the left side of the Quicken
window, click the account name for an investment account for which
there is an existing linked checking account. If the account Summary
page is not displayed, click the Summary tab.
Quicken opens the account Summary page for this account.
In the account Summary page, under Account Attributes, click Edit
Account Details.
Quicken opens the Account Details dialog.
If necessary, click the General Information tab.
For the Show cash in a linked checking account option, click No.
Quicken transfers all cash transactions into the investment account's
transaction list and deletes the existing linked checking account.


10:31:04 AM You: However, there is no options for "Show cash in a
linked checking account"
10:31:14 AM You: How can I make that option appear?
10:31:16 AM You: Thanks
10:33:48 AM Brian: I apologize for the inconvenience however, we at
chat Support are not trained on the Investment part of Quicken as this
support is provided over live Phone Support. I suggest you to please
contact our Investment Support Number for the same. Would you like me
to provide you the number where you can call for the same?
10:34:41 AM You: Brian, you are joking, right?
10:35:00 AM You: OK, here'
10:35:22 AM You: here's a question for you that is not related to the
investing part of Quicken.
10:35:37 AM You: I want to export transactions from one account to
another.
10:35:52 AM You: The only file format available for exporting is QIF.
10:36:25 AM You: But when I try to import from the QIF file, I am told
that Quicken no longer allows QIF file import.
10:36:28 AM You: So how do I do it?
10:40:28 AM Brian: I am sorry, from Quicken 2005 onwards, we cannot
import a QIF file format in Quicken as it is not supported from
Quicken 2005 onwards
10:41:47 AM Brian: I suggest you to please contact our Investment
Support over the Phones so that they may provide you any work around,
if possible.
10:42:17 AM You: But surely you must know how to export from one
account and import to another?
10:44:01 AM Brian: Well, if you are asking about Exporting
transactions and importing amongst Checking Account, it is not
possible, however, I am not sure, if there is any work around possible
for the Investments accounts or not

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Re: Alternatives to Quicken
Old 07-13-2005, 05:48 PM   #12
 
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Re: Alternatives to Quicken

Al,

This is one of the benefits of the "free market" and competition. In order to bring you the lowest possible price most companies cut customer service costs. Certainly you've seen this with Airlines?

If you think Quicken's Customer Service is bad, try E-Bay. You only get to talk to a Computer.

What I would wish that they would do, is just tell me "We don't have any customer service, so don't waste your time trying".
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Re: Alternatives to Quicken
Old 07-13-2005, 07:37 PM   #13
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Re: Alternatives to Quicken

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cut-Throat
Al,

This is one of the benefits of the "free market" and competition. In order to bring you the lowest possible price most companies cut customer service costs. Certainly you've seen this with Airlines?

If you think Quicken's Customer Service is bad, try E-Bay. You only get to talk to a Computer.

What I would wish that they would do, is just tell me "We don't have any customer service, so don't waste your time trying".
Disclaimer: I am not picking on T-Mobile, just supporting C-T's point.
I had a one year contract for a T-Mobile cell phone. After one year I cancelled it (last fall) as I was not really using it that much. Things went okay for a few
months. Then I started to get billed again. The bills just started up. I called
and although I got a real person, I got no satisfaction. Now, I am getting letters asking where is their money. I am just throwing them away because
the tel. numbers provided are all to computers. Why bother? From now
on I will just discard anything from T-Mobile. I will not be renewing in the
future either. Their customer service is non-existent.

JG
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Re: Alternatives to Quicken
Old 07-13-2005, 08:16 PM   #14
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Re: Alternatives to Quicken

I had problems installing quicken 2005 & discovered their forum

http://www.quickenforums.com/index.jspa?categoryID=1
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Re: Alternatives to Quicken
Old 07-14-2005, 02:03 PM   #15
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Re: Alternatives to Quicken

Here's a good article on the strategy that Intuit is using to force upgrades:

http://www.pcworld.com/resource/arti...RSS,RSS,00.asp


I love Quicken but am disappointed that I have to upgrade every few years and that the upgrades generally cause problems for a few months. Ultimately, all software will move to a subscription model - I figure this will happen within the next 5 years. Then the enhancements and upgrades will slow (or stop)....
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Re: Alternatives to Quicken
Old 07-15-2005, 09:15 AM   #16
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Re: Alternatives to Quicken

Quote:
Originally Posted by HaHa
Bum, how do you do your expense tracking? Linked spreadsheets?

ha
Good morning Ha,

Since DW is was a bookkeeper, she pays what few bills we now have, the old fashioned way...handwritten checks. I then enter the data maybe 6 or 8 times/yr. into an ancient version of Peachtree Accounting. Setting up accounts and understanding debits and credits is the basis for accounting programs. All Quicken type programs are basically general ledger programs with overlays for the masses. I hate that. I want something I can set up thats as simple as the data I want from it. I dont want graphs, interactive crap, etc. I just want to know for example, how much have I spent on gas or healthcare premiums over the last few years. Any GL program will do.


So the process is:
FOR OUR MAIN CHECKING ACCT. only

DW pays the bill and balances the monthly statement (dammit she's always right!).
I take her balanced statement enter the amounts to the predefined catagories. Make any journal entries for bank fees, etc., record deposits if any. Thats it. When my balance equals DW's i'm done.

Then quarterly or semi-annually I update a separate spread sheet (cloned from the Bank of New York's personal financial statement) with ALL other accounts like brokerage, CD's, real estate values, loan balances, etc. This sheet is an accurate snapshot of net worth. It tracks everything short of the change in your pocket. But its very easy once all the buckets are defined. If interested, I'll send you a blank copy. I might have both excel and works versions.

Whats key is that I let Vanguard, and other web portfolio sites do the heavylifting with the graphs gain/loss math, etc. I just take the balances of a half dozen or so accounts and plug in the numbers.

Thats it. Another cool thing is that because the program is so old, I never had to migrate or change anything. So as a result I have uniform data back ten years. I like that.


Crunching numbers can almost be fun.

BUM

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Re: Alternatives to Quicken
Old 07-15-2005, 09:44 AM   #17
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Re: Alternatives to Quicken

Anybody have any experience with Microsoft Money? I notice it is installed on the computer I bought last Nov, but I haven't tried it. Does it really suck, or is it more or less the functional equivalent to Quicken?



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Re: Alternatives to Quicken
Old 07-15-2005, 10:22 AM   #18
 
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Re: Alternatives to Quicken

I downloaded the test version of Money, but it looked like it was going to be as much trouble as Quicken.

My research found that just about as people were saying "I'm fed up with Money, I'm going to try to switch to Quicken" as the reverse.
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