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Money software
Old 02-07-2005, 09:13 AM   #1
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Money software

Just wondering what everyone uses to track their portfolio, expenses, etc.?

I have created a lot of sheets on Microsoft Excel and have never used Quicken or Microsoft Money...am I missing out on something?
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Re: Money software
Old 02-07-2005, 09:28 AM   #2
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Re: Money software

I found Quicken's data entry tedium exceeded the program's tracking beneifts once my financial situation had exceeded a certain level of complexity. That level was defined by:

-A large percentage of assets in real estate
-Two 401Ks, two IRAs, four "post-tax" accounts, and a college fund.
-A half-dozen checking and savings accounts (each attached to a separate entity)
-Two credit cards
-The need for a bunch of one-off "what-if" tools

I wound up doing tons of data entry and I realized one day that I was just creating a data pool that was redundant to on-line sources (brokerages, banks, etc.), so I created a "capstone" spreadsheet system that takes less than five minutes to update.

I still use Quicken for my checkbooks. I love the reconciliation system.

Ed
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Re: Money software
Old 02-07-2005, 10:19 AM   #3
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Re: Money software

I had the same experience with money and quicken. I found that some financial institutions, notably ameritrade, reported inaccurate and in some cases completely false information. Some banks and credit cards require a manual download which was a PITA to remember to keep doing.

The autoimport into turbotax also caused me problems. It improperly formatted information that went onto my schedule D. I got a nice letter from the IRS about that. Fortunately the numbers were all correct. A truly entertaining week however.
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Re: Money software
Old 02-07-2005, 12:14 PM   #4
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Re: Money software

I expected more Quicken fans. I'm sure they'll show up.

They're only good if you keep feeding them data, and I don't keep up with that. I budget very loosely and make big plans on the spreadsheet.
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Re: Money software
Old 02-08-2005, 04:57 AM   #5
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Re: Money software

I started off with MS money and tried to get it to keep track of all my accounts...with all the transfers, payments, dividends, etc...that just didn't work. It doesn't seem like it was designed to handle anything more than the simpliest setups (as someone else pointed out).

So, I revised my expectations downward and now I only use it for tracking expenses versus my budget. I find it works really well for this. The vast majority of my expenses are on CCs and it will automatically download all the transactions - from there I can easily categorize them into cost accounts. I log in twice a month to keep up with the expenses. The few cash and check items I have are entered manually.

The reporting feature is handy - I can easily see where my money went over any given period of time, and drilldown to the details if something looks odd. It shows me variances to plan so I can I can export to excel and create the tables for posting to my blog. I could probably acheive similar functionality with pivot tables in Excel but it would take more maintenance and manual transaction entry.

I highly recommend MS Money for expense tracking...not much else. Yes, you have to keep up with it but 30 minutes twice a month doesn't bother me.
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Re: Money software
Old 02-08-2005, 08:00 AM   #6
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Re: Money software

I use quicken for investment tracking, but not for everyday expenses. Fidelity updates to quicken are usually good, but some entries need tweaking at times. Overall, I find it easy to use, but the ad bar and quicken's alerts are annoying. I have quicken 2002, and with their recent sunset policy where they will block connections with financial institutions after April 16th, I have been looking for an alternative. It's a good product, but I tire of Intuit. I moved away from their tax program 2 years ago, and if I can find an alternative I like, quicken is gone.

I am using a trial copy of Money, but so far am not comfortable with the investment part of it. I have come to fear that there are no real good alternatives. I used to use a spreadsheet....but quicken is much better.

Hoping I find something....

Wayne
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Re: Money software
Old 02-08-2005, 08:03 AM   #7
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Re: Money software

BTW: For the free trial for Money, see http://www.microsoft.com/money/freetrial_info.mspx

I'm not thrilled with it yet, but am giving it some time. I find the navagation more of a pain than with quicken. Quicken let me keep "tabs" open for easy access to certain pages, and after using a browser with tabs, I really really like them.

Wayne
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