Quicken to Use it Or Not?

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I am trying to decide if it is worthwhile to track my finances more closely with Quicken and want to know what others think.

I use Wells Fargo Bill Pay for 4-5 bills a month and the rest are on autopay including credit cards pay off entire balance always, cellphone, mortgage etc... I know the regular cost of each one in my head, I review credit card statements each month to look for things out of the ordinary before the auto pay occurs and run most everything through a credit card so I have an easy month to month expense comparison.

I have retirement and investment accounts at Schwab and I review them online at least once a week and log into my Wells Checking, Savings and Bill Pay at least once a week.

I have never been a hyper-organized person and probably more on the disorganized side but it has not really ever gotten me in trouble. I have juggled it fine in my head or checked in often enough.

Quicken sounds appealing for viewing everything in one place but given my organizational history I would probably not put a lot of effort into customizing it or enter items every day. My wife and I are quite frugal so I do not feel I need it to try to demonstrate to a free spending spouse that cut backs are needed which I can see being a motivation for using it. I also know a lot on finance forums have rentals or side businesses which it is helpful for. I do not at present just W-2s so that is not a consideration.

Anyone else similarly on the fence and try Quicken and either love or it stop using it after a while because it did not add enough value for the time it took to use it properly?

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So for those of you using this version, be aware of this change

SUB (Feb. 28, 2013 @ 9:59a) |

As OP, I might as well report back since this thread popped back up.

I have now been using Quicken and I do like the ove... (more)

acroBios (Feb. 28, 2013 @ 12:16p) |

I use en 2012, and download and look at my chase bank accounts, and my Edward jones investment accounts daily. I doesn'... (more)

swbteljack (May. 08, 2013 @ 12:48p) |

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I use quicken...but if you want to give it a try, buy an older version and you can manually download bank info into program... I like it for tax season.

I have used quicken for about 10 years (100+ accounts in it at this point). I would be lost without it, but my situation is quite complex. The best part is that there is very little to manually enter. It downloads the transactions from my CCs/bank accounts with a push of a button. It's really quite simple once you get all your accounts set up and get used to how it operates.

I personally use Mint (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mint.com), which has worked well for me as my financial situation is very straightforward. Mint is actually owned by the same company that sells quicken, and is a completely free web-based software. I haven't ever tried Quicken, but I do have some limited experience with QuickBooks, which sounds unnecessarily complex for your needs.

Minimal effort required to use Mint. You provide your login information for bank/credit card accounts (which I understand some people may have an issue with) and the software pulls in and categorizes all the data into easy to view graphic summaries. I do go through and make sure transactions are categorized correctly (sometimes Mint will mistakenly categorize a restaurant as a retail store, etc.), and create "rules" which Mint will use to correctly categorize similar purchases in the future. Been very happy with the functionality, and haven't run into any issues so far.

OP - you sound similar to me, earlier I tried quicken, but found it too much of a hassle to use and gave it up.
I'm too suspicious or concerned about privacy/security to give my banking passwords to something like mint.
In the end, I realized I keep enough "track" of my money without bothering to do things like balance my checkbook each month.

I vote for Mint. It is a free solution and does the job very well. If you are not comfortable with providing your passwords to Mint, then use Quicken. The only thing Mint does not does to my satisfaction is the tracking of investments. I added my investments account in Mint, but I also use SigFig for keeping track of my investments accounts. If Mint somehow merged with SigFig, it would be the perfect solution in my opinion. In the meantime, I use both.

Mint is a great, quick and easy tool to use as a one page summary of your current financials. I usually check Mint every 1-3 days just to make sure nothing unusual is happening.

It's one of the few free websites that I would consider paying for if they changed their business model.

With over twenty years of records in Quicken, we won't be changing, but if I had nothing now, I'd first try out something else. The most recent version of Quicken (2013) is remarkably lower in quality than the previous twenty versions.

By the same token, whatever you do, think about twenty years from now. How are you going to carry the important data forward? Some of the things I've had to think about is how much of my money went toward a stock purchase plan, so I can properly account for it when we eventually sell that stock. Since the advent of Roth accounts, you now need to keep track of precisely how much money you've contributed, so you know how much of it you can withdraw penalty free ("just in case") and if the tax laws change you may need that information to know how much to declare as already-taxed. I have a record of every penny we've spent on improvements to our home, which can be used to increase its cost basis and thereby lower the proceeds which would be considered profit. While the exclusions right now might make that unimportant, those exclusions can be changed. And so on. While you don't necessarily need to keep receipts and such that long, historical records you keep can serve you well many years later.

I use quicken too, its easy to track everything and download all transactions. I have been using it for 20 years too, so I won't be changing. I can easily go back and look for a transaction that is needed. Each person will have a favorite. I agree try out an older version and see what you think and then try mint too, its whatever works for you best.

Quicken will also show you where money is spent, on household, mortgage, etc. I like viewing it soo see what was spent where. I use quicken because I use 4 different bank accounts. I pay credit card bills in full each month, but I check each charge with what the charges I have entered. I have caught fraud quickly this way. At the end of the year its easy to find how much was spent on doctors, pharmacy, etc. for tax purposes. I would have spouse input and keep track of spending , income, etc. Its easier to see where she is wasting and maybe this would help reduce the spending. If she sees for example a savings account grow it just might help her to want to save. Maybe an incentive if she saves for example plan a purchase if a new stove is needed, etc. Make a goal for something so she can reach for it.

For me 30 years ago it was saving enough to get $1000 CD I felt on top of the world. I continued to save so I could purchase more CD's. I eventually learned I didn't want credit card debt, interest was a waste of money, I might as well burn it. Today we own 4 homes, land and they are paid for. Newer cars paid for. Good luck

I've used Quicken and TurboTax for decades. Prior to Quicken I used Managing Your Money, before that ledger paper. I track everything, including cash spending. Easy to do, use credit cards for all your spending, download into Quicken. I like knowing where my money goes. I know exactly how much I spend each year. I managing elderly relatives money x 2 there also.

My kids (20 and 25) were both taught how to use it and are learning to never have credit card debt, how to setup retirement goals, etc.

That said, both programs have gone downhill in recent years, TurboTax especially.

I use both mint and Quicken. I have about 60 different accounts and doing it manually will be bit of problem... I like them both and not looking for change.

As far as privacy concern - my info was stolen few times after I used my card in big stores like Macys, Target, TJ Maxx but never online from sites like mint... I agree that not giving this info is good preventive but man, if somebody want to find it out it pretty easy without knowing you passwords.

BlueSeaLake said:   OP - you sound similar to me, earlier I tried quicken, but found it too much of a hassle to use and gave it up.
I'm too suspicious or concerned about privacy/security to give my banking passwords to something like mint.
In the end, I realized I keep enough "track" of my money without bothering to do things like balance my checkbook each month.


You have hit it exactly BlueSeaLake.

I thank everyone for their response. Bicker1 may have caught me with his example about Roth tracking. While it is not very likely that I will need it, the contributions are from more than 10 years ago and I have stopped since. I could get close but probably not come up with the exact contribution total unless Schwab has saved those records for me.

I have kept enough track so far and I know really only I can answer the question of whether I will find using Quicken a fit by actually trying it.

I also am concerned with privacy/security and so would probably not hand over passwords to use Mint. I know my information is nothing unique or special and downright boring but it seems overall fraud/identity theft risk is fairly high and so I choose to minimize my attack surface if that makes sense.

Since Quicken Premier is only $35 ($70 on Amazon - $35 credit for buying TurboTax ) I am probably going to try it.

I'm still using Microsoft Money, having "upgraded" to the Money Plus Sunset Deluxe version. It still works under Windows 8. Nothing is automated but my stuff is simple enough to manually enter everything (banking, loans, SEP, IRA, stocks). There's no support but plenty of help on the net. Some tax programs could still pull the date to populate tax forms but I haven't tried that for a couple of years. I'm sure part of the reason I still use it is because my records go back to '95 so I'm used to how it works. It's free from Microsoft.

btw, Schwab statements go back ten years online but you could likely pay Schwab to "research" older ones if needed.

EradicateSpam said:   I've used Quicken and TurboTax for decades. Prior to Quicken I used Managing Your Money, before that ledger paper. I track everything, including cash spending. Easy to do, use credit cards for all your spending, download into Quicken. I like knowing where my money goes.
This is exactly what I did too. I even went back and entered all the manual entries from my ledgers into quicken, so now my quicken history goes back over 30 years.

What I like about this is that it also keeps a track of your life. I recently was going through some old photographs, and was able to match up transactions from vacations etc, to find exact dates that photos were taken.

bksavings said:   EradicateSpam said:   I've used Quicken and TurboTax for decades. Prior to Quicken I used Managing Your Money, before that ledger paper. I track everything, including cash spending. Easy to do, use credit cards for all your spending, download into Quicken. I like knowing where my money goes.
This is exactly what I did too. I even went back and entered all the manual entries from my ledgers into quicken, so now my quicken history goes back over 30 years.

What I like about this is that it also keeps a track of your life. I recently was going through some old photographs, and was able to match up transactions from vacations etc, to find exact dates that photos were taken.


I kept Managing Your Money so I can go back and see those transactions, which go back a while, but I didn't enter my ledgers, that's too much work .

Tracking your $$$ can be a worthwhile but time consuming.
I've tracked my $$$ for years. Initially using MS Money, then Quicken and a few other smaller players.
I love seeing where my $$$ goes and being able to have all the info at my fingertips.

Unfortunately I have spent a few sleepless nights reconciling my accounts that are a few dollars and even cents off.
I've been doing it for so long now I can pretty much put off syncing and reconciling my my accounts just once a week now.
At a point I was do it every evening. The key is to find a balance.

I currently use a program called iBank since Quicken for Mac was killed off.
If you are new you would probably want to go with a program that has a lot of support (how-to books and an online community) to answer questions.

Good Luck

I have used quicken sine it was only in DOS 20+ yrs ago. Its indispensable for me. Have stocks, rental property, personal and business checking accounts all in 1 place is a huge advantage for me. Only thing I don't use is the cloud application that give me access on my cell phone. I don't need that. Unlike the some others I think the 2013 edition is fine. There are some deficits in rental property tracking but its sufficiently robust for my needs. Big thumbs up from me.

I do it weekly, on Saturday mornings. Ours, and 2 sets of relatives, and it's all done within 1/2 hr. Doing cash is simple - enter everything, count cash, difference is loss/gain. I don't lose/gain more than $20 a year.

I used Quicken 2011, and all i remember was how far off it was even when I synced it to the bank. To me it wasn't worth it, and was was easier to just use Excel.

intex45 said:   I used Quicken 2011, and all i remember was how far off it was even when I synced it to the bank. To me it wasn't worth it, and was was easier to just use Excel.

Quite simply - then you used it wrong. Since it downloads all your transactions, the only way it can be "off" is if you don't key in your cash transactions. Credit cards, bank accounts, loans - they are what they are.

I've used quicken for at least 15 years and ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT!

I love the "easy answer reports" that you can create with it. If I want to know how much I spent on gasoline from March 1, 2001 to March 1, 2002 I can look it up - Not that I really would care about data 10 years old, but sometimes I do. Like if my wife asks how much we paid for our refrigerator 5 years ago it's really easy to find!

Try Quicken. I'm SURE you will love it - IF you record everything in it. It's only as good as the data you enter.

Use GnuCash. And it is FREE!!!

My experience with quicken is over 20 years. Stopped using quicken 10 years ago because it was difficult to keep accounts in sync.
2009 and 2012 versions were not better. Mint and wikinvest are free . And do not require repeat purchase every few years and it is difficult to use quicken if you switch from pc to apple or the reverse.

ciscovpn said:   Use GnuCash. And it is FREE!!!
The real value of today's Quicken is in the automated online transaction download. If used correctly, it's like doing a reconciliation with each update -- making actual reconciliation against a "real" statement a non-event.

GnuCash only supports automated download for OFX institutions, which are frighteningly few and far between, thanks to prohibitive licensing costs. Quicken avoids this by performing web screen-scraping against most institutions, using aggregating servers that they run and maintain -- hence the three-year "Quicken Tax".

I'd love to see viable alternatives (particularly if they're free), however, given that Quicken has migrated from an "island of productivity" to an integrally connected product, I don't see any reasonable connected alternative that's suitable.

I don't, but I'm primarily with Fidelity, who has Full View, which is basically Yodlee.

ciscovpn said:   Use GnuCash. And it is FREE!!!

I'm GNU everything at home. Quicken is the one thing that makes me run a virtual machine to run Win SW.

When I looked at it ages ago, I found it was not good with downloads from some institutions, and not good at tracking investments, cost basis etc. Stock trackings for lots, cost basis etc. is key for my use.

I'm not happy with being held hostage by Intuit, but given the dearth of alternatives, Quicken is it. Had M$ Money, but transfer from Quicken was no good (it worked, somewhat, but broke transactions, links between accts etc.)


How's GNU Cash today? What about import from Quicken?

Finally, can HRBlock (aka TaxCut) read its format? (I'll take it as a given that this won't work w/ Turbo Tax)

HotSalami said:   ciscovpn said:   Use GnuCash. And it is FREE!!!
The real value of today's Quicken is in the automated online transaction download. If used correctly, it's like doing a reconciliation with each update -- making actual reconciliation against a "real" statement a non-event.

GnuCash only supports automated download for OFX institutions, which are frighteningly few and far between, thanks to prohibitive licensing costs. Quicken avoids this by performing web screen-scraping against most institutions, using aggregating servers that they run and maintain -- hence the three-year "Quicken Tax".

I'd love to see viable alternatives (particularly if they're free), however, given that Quicken has migrated from an "island of productivity" to an integrally connected product, I don't see any reasonable connected alternative that's suitable.


I agree with the GNUcash vs. Quicken points, but I'm not convinced they do screen scraping. I believe they actually force companies to license their QFX format, which is why they killed QIF -- so that companies that want to work with Quicken need to license their formats.

Also, I believe the Quicken Tax (aka the forced 3 year upgrade cycle) is just a way for them to extract money from their user base, because I can't see why many of us would upgrade. Quicken is sufficiently competent as it was back in 2002, and so many of use would probably upgrade every 5-8 years, reducing their income.

Remember, Intuit is in busy not to make you and me happy, but their shareholders.

m2go said:   I agree with the GNUcash vs. Quicken points, but I'm not convinced they do screen scraping. I believe they actually force companies to license their QFX format, which is why they killed QIF -- so that companies that want to work with Quicken need to license their formats.
Here's a link briefly describing Intuit's Express Web Connect and it's "HTML screen parsing":

https://fi.intuit.com/support/ewc/details/

You can also troll the Quicken support forum, where periodic website changes causes all different kinds of grief for (the most likely outsourced) Quicken technical team. In fact, the periodic call for customers to provide login information to their accounts for little used FI's for debugging purposes strongly suggests that the FI's are not terribly complicit in the process.

I agree that Quicken has lacked substantial compelling upgrades in recent years -- however their intermediate infrastructure costs *something* to maintain. Given the number of accounts that I update daily, it's well worth the price (even given its periodic quirks)...

HotSalami said:   ciscovpn said:   Use GnuCash. And it is FREE!!!
The real value of today's Quicken is in the automated online transaction download. If used correctly, it's like doing a reconciliation with each update -- making actual reconciliation against a "real" statement a non-event.

GnuCash only supports automated download for OFX institutions, which are frighteningly few and far between, thanks to prohibitive licensing costs. Quicken avoids this by performing web screen-scraping against most institutions, using aggregating servers that they run and maintain -- hence the three-year "Quicken Tax".

I'd love to see viable alternatives (particularly if they're free), however, given that Quicken has migrated from an "island of productivity" to an integrally connected product, I don't see any reasonable connected alternative that's suitable.


Most banks and credit card companies support OFX. Infact, quicken uses a variant of OFX called QFX.

for cash accounts quicken was great but no matter how hard i try, keeping my retirement accounts accurate at vanguard was a nightmare. Everytime i bought or sold quicken gave me all kinds of weird transactions to reconcile and then created too many placeholder entries. I never got it right.

Plus as others have said, as account number goes up, difficulty goes up exponentially. Lots of duplicate transactions if you transfer funds between accounts alot. I could never get quicken to automate these correctly, and I had to manually clean them up.

I admit this could be my knowledge of the program but I did spend a decent amount of time trying to figure this out.

m2go said:   ciscovpn said:   Use GnuCash. And it is FREE!!!

I'm GNU everything at home. Quicken is the one thing that makes me run a virtual machine to run Win SW.

When I looked at it ages ago, I found it was not good with downloads from some institutions, and not good at tracking investments, cost basis etc. Stock trackings for lots, cost basis etc. is key for my use.

I'm not happy with being held hostage by Intuit, but given the dearth of alternatives, Quicken is it. Had M$ Money, but transfer from Quicken was no good (it worked, somewhat, but broke transactions, links between accts etc.)


How's GNU Cash today? What about import from Quicken?

Finally, can HRBlock (aka TaxCut) read its format? (I'll take it as a given that this won't work w/ Turbo Tax)


GnuCash can import from Quicken.

sjwaste said:   I don't, but I'm primarily with Fidelity, who has Full View, which is basically Yodlee.Is there a way to access Full View directly through Yodlee MoneyCenter? The UI looks like it might be a lot better than the embedded version.

MillionairesNextDoor said:   for cash accounts quicken was great but no matter how hard i try, keeping my retirement accounts accurate at vanguard was a nightmare. Everytime i bought or sold quicken gave me all kinds of weird transactions to reconcile and then created too many placeholder entries. I never got it right. ... I admit this could be my knowledge of the program but I did spend a decent amount of time trying to figure this out.It took me about eight years to get this... though really it took me about 45 minutes, eight years after I started getting frustrated with what you described. It takes getting a real handle on exactly what Quicken does (for investments), what brokerages download to Quicken (and it's not necessarily the same kind of data from different brokerages), and (perhaps most importantly) the criticality of reconciling the placeholder entries as soon as they're created. It is easy to fix them one at a time; it just gets out of hand otherwise.

Some of the contributors to the problem is that the level of precision may vary between paper statements (which you may have used prior to downloading transactions), actual real long division, and what the brokerage reports. For one holding, the number of shares is continually off by 0.000233 because that fraction was the result of the actual division ...
(Total Amount Invested Price per Share)
The brokerage shows that fraction on the paper statements but it doesn't seem to register on the downloaded "current share balance".

There are a number of other scenarios that account for placeholder transactions: Complicated spin-offs and mergers, for example. I cannot tell you how much of a mess was caused by how much internal churn there has been with Liberty Media, Direct TV, and associated companies. TurboTax managed to put in a rather smart wizard to work out the issues when I sold those holdings, but Quicken doesn't have that logic.

But having said that, the utter "sweet"-ness of how Quicken manages investments data once you've got it entered correctly cannot be over-emphasized. And after getting my head around what's really going on, and why these placeholder transactions happen, and how to very easily resolve them, it's a very small price to get to the "sweet"-ness.

MillionairesNextDoor said:   Plus as others have said, as account number goes up, difficulty goes up exponentially. Lots of duplicate transactions if you transfer funds between accounts alot. I could never get quicken to automate these correctly, and I had to manually clean them up. This I never had, and I had loads of such transfers just within the last few months. (We closed three accounts and opened two, and cash was flying all over the place, back and forth, like a shell game.)

HotSalami said:   m2go said:   I agree with the GNUcash vs. Quicken points, but I'm not convinced they do screen scraping. I believe they actually force companies to license their QFX format, which is why they killed QIF -- so that companies that want to work with Quicken need to license their formats.
Here's a link briefly describing Intuit's Express Web Connect and it's "HTML screen parsing":

https://fi.intuit.com/support/ewc/details/

You can also troll the Quicken support forum, where periodic website changes causes all different kinds of grief for (the most likely outsourced) Quicken technical team. In fact, the periodic call for customers to provide login information to their accounts for little used FI's for debugging purposes strongly suggests that the FI's are not terribly complicit in the process.

I agree that Quicken has lacked substantial compelling upgrades in recent years -- however their intermediate infrastructure costs *something* to maintain. Given the number of accounts that I update daily, it's well worth the price (even given its periodic quirks)...


Interesting -- all the downloads that I have offer direct download (such as brokerages), or download as QFX file. So haven't had much experience with Web Connect. (I think Quicken offered it to set up for one of the services, but it was a gigantic fail, so I download QFX instead).

There was a big uproar maybe 5 years ago when Intuit dropped QIF import for all kinds of accounts, under some excuse which really sorted like a corporate excuse for "we're going to make you all use our improved service which comes with an increased revenue stream" which came at about the same time as the switched to the buy-as-susbcription model they have now.

m2go said:   Interesting -- all the downloads that I have offer direct download (such as brokerages), or download as QFX file. So haven't had much experience with Web Connect. (I think Quicken offered it to set up for one of the services, but it was a gigantic fail, so I download QFX instead).

There was a big uproar maybe 5 years ago when Intuit dropped QIF import for all kinds of accounts, under some excuse which really sorted like a corporate excuse for "we're going to make you all use our improved service which comes with an increased revenue stream" which came at about the same time as the switched to the buy-as-susbcription model they have now.

With the number of accounts that I have (across three different Quicken files), manual QFX download simply isn't feasible. I have a daily Quicken update ritual (over a cup of coffee), so visiting each and every website, attempting to recall a date range, etc., just won't happen. With Quicken 2012, their coverage using Express Webconnect is tremendous. There isn't a single transaction or credit account that isn't covered, including store brand cards, like Kohl's, Macy's, Target, etc. Compared with the few OFX enabled FI's I deal with (Chase, E-Trade , Citi), Express Webconnect saves my bacon on a regular basis.

Indeed, the deprecation of QIF is lame. QIF is still supported -- you'll need to import into a Cash account type. From there, you can highlight and move transactions as needed. I did this when I was importing receipt scans from NeatReceipts (playing catch-up a few years ago -- don't ask), and it was worth the effort.

I suggest giving Express Webconnect and One-Step Update another spin (if you're using 2012 or better). You may be impressed...

The fact that I can pull a total net worth report in 10 seconds is enough reason for me to use quicken.

+1 for ms money. not a big fan of auto downloads since some of the names are cryptic. I want to know how much i spent on gas and not how much at snack-pack or fast fred's gas stations etc. better to enter manually with more control. i do use QB for business tho.

dandruff said:   +1 for ms money. not a big fan of auto downloads since some of the names are cryptic. I want to know how much i spent on gas and not how much at snack-pack or fast fred's gas stations etc. better to enter manually with more control. i do use QB for business tho.
While Quicken's renaming rules can be somewhat inconsistent, most of that is fixable. While I'm touting auto downloads, I do not recommend (or use) auto data entry. Each downloaded transaction is reviewed, renamed/recategorized if necessary, and accepted. This gives me the opportunity to compare against an actual receipt (which I've been imaging in recent years), which is what makes the monthly reconciliation a non-event. If you sort your registers by cleared status, you should always be able to compare your running register with the online balance of any given account.

As a die hard Fat-wallet-er, it's great to be able to pull up a net worth report since I was 18, where it was close to $0, to 9 years later and see where it is today. Gives you great insight and motivation.

Skipping 13 Messages...
I use en 2012, and download and look at my chase bank accounts, and my Edward jones investment accounts daily. I doesn't take but a couple of minutes, and I know if someone else has been in my accounts right away. It is easy to reconcile monthly. On the investment side, quicken provides information on you accounts. I like the graphs I can pull up and see how my mutual funds are doing. Just in case you want to make a change. You have the info to tell you if you need to. On the con side, If you don't buy the yearly upgrade, you will receive a fly in you pie. and have to figure out how to get it out. Quicken user since they first started selling the program back in 84 or 85.



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