Moving From Quicken: Moneydance, YNAB, GnuCash or other?

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53timr
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Moving From Quicken: Moneydance, YNAB, GnuCash or other?

Post by 53timr » Tue Oct 04, 2016 10:19 am

Over the past year I have become more and more frustrated with Quicken. With Intuit's sale of Quicken to HIG Capital, it seems more bugs are cropping up in Quicken 2016 and less responsive tech support is available. Who knows, maybe HIG will work these issues out and release Quicken 2017 as a better and more stable product.

In the meanwhile, I have been investigating using another product. Specifically I have taken a cursory look at Moneydance http://moneydance.com, You Need A Budget (YNAB) https://www.youneedabudget.com and GnuCash https://www.gnucash.org. My main use of Quicken is as a register to track my savings, checking, CD, brokerage and IRA accounts. I like to connect to my accounts once a week and download any new transactions and balances and print out a report showing all my account balances. I also track the value of my other assets such as property and print out a net worth report. Pretty simple stuff. I do not plan to import my historic Quicken data into a new program but will start fresh. However, I will keep Quicken installed on my computer so I can go back and look up transactions if needed.

Moneydance costs $50. It connects directly to some of my financial institutions such as Fidelity, Vanguard, Capital One 360 and Atlanta Postal CU, but not to Navy Federal CU, Emigrant Direct or Ally Bank. It looks like I can download a QFX file from the web site of those institutions and import into Moneydance. This program looks like it might allow me to function about the same as I did in Quicken.

YNAB costs $50 per year. Previously YNAB did not have direct bank connections but this has changed with the new version. You do have to specify a budgeting account for each downloaded transaction. However, I have not been able to locate a list of financial institutions that supports direct connection, but it does look like it will import QFX files. This program looks like it would force me to be more budget conscious while allowing me the basic functions I used in Quicken.

GnuCash cost is zero. It looks like direct connection is supported for Capital One 360, Fidelity and Vanguard. I think it will import QFX files. Of the three programs, GnuCash looks to be the least user friendly and to have the steepest learning curve. I can probably track the same things with this program as I did with Quicken, but the program may be more difficult to use.

I would really like to hear from anyone using these programs or any others that might perform well for my situation as a substitute for Quicken.
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targ
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Re: Moving From Quicken: Moneydance, YNAB, GnuCash or other?

Post by targ » Tue Oct 04, 2016 11:14 am

+1 on MoneyDance
I switched to MD from Quicken long long ago and never looked back. I love that it's truly cross-platform (I've used it seamlessly in Windows, Mac OS, and Linux). At one time when I was OS hopping, I even had it set up to run in any OS from a thumb drive.

I switched before the online direct connect thingie was really being used so I never even tried that aspect of it (nor did I do that in Quicken) so that was/is not a factor to me.

I've tried GnuCash a couple times and have found it to be somewhat simplistic - at least with respect to the checkbook style interface. That just doesn't work for me.

O - and back when I made the switch, I tried to transfer my Quicken files over and it only sort-of worked. I'm sure it's improved since then, but for me, a clean break was easier. I ran both Quicken and MD side-by-side for a month or two (duplicating all entries - so it was a chore). But that gave me time to understand MD and make sure I knew it well before completely abandoning Quicken.

FWIW, I also kept my old Quicken files, my Quicken 95 install discs, and a Win XP disc. Now, if I ever need to access those old files, I can create a virtual machine and just load up everything.
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Re: Moving From Quicken: Moneydance, YNAB, GnuCash or other?

Post by jebmke » Tue Oct 04, 2016 11:23 am

I only use Quicken to track the basis for my taxable accounts. When I get around to it, I plan to port the data to Google Docs and handle it there.
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Re: Moving From Quicken: Moneydance, YNAB, GnuCash or other?

Post by PNW1 » Tue Oct 04, 2016 11:46 am

I like and use GNUCash, but it's certainly not the most attractive program at first glance.

I started tracking my finances digitally a couple of years ago. I tried out an older non-web version of YNAB for the free 30 day trial, and I thought it was a pretty fantastic program for budgeting. And it was so easy to use! They'd designed that into the product. It really seemed designed for pulling people out of a paycheck-to-paycheck mentality, though, and thankfully that wasn't a problem I had. In the middle of the free trial, I also installed GNUCash and started using the two programs in parallel.

GNUCash's budgeting systems are not impressive. Some exist, but they are awkward. That said, I really fell in love with the double-entry bookkeeping aspect of the program. It took a few hours to set up all of my accounts; I didn't have any past experience with this kind of tool, and it's absolutely true that there isn't a lot of hand-holding. Some online tutorials exist, though, and they were very helpful.

By the end of the free YNAB trial, I decided to stop using YNAB and stick with GNUCash. A couple of years later, I find GNUCash very easy to use. I keep my receipts and enter them every few days, which takes a couple of minutes and allows me to properly categorize my expenses. Once a month I download QFX files (a bunch of other formats are supported too) from my financial institutions, import them into GNUCash, and reconcile them against what I've already entered. I've caught a couple of credit card issues by doing that. That probably takes between 30 and 60 minutes a month, because I bank with two credit unions, use two credit cards, and match every imported transaction against the transactions I already recorded. There's supposed to be some automated import system where you teach GNUCash how to authenticate into your bank accounts, but I've never wanted to do that.

My 401(k), Roth, and taxable brokerage accounts are all tracked in GNUCash too. I record the securities purchases I make, their per-share price, and the total cost at the time, and GNUCash keeps all of that history. It also downloads the current fund prices from Vanguard so that I can foolishly look at what my investments are worth on any given day, although I'm in the strict accumulation phase of my life.

I have GNUCash on my Windows desktop and my Linux laptop, and it works flawlessly on both. I use a self-hosted dropbox-like system to keep all the files in sync, although GNUCash also supports using a database backend if you'd prefer that.

I really like GNUCash, but I never used Quicken or any other commercial accounting or money management package, so I can't offer a comparison between them. If you have any questions about GNUCash, I'd be happy to try to answer them.

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Re: Moving From Quicken: Moneydance, YNAB, GnuCash or other?

Post by abuss368 » Tue Oct 04, 2016 11:59 am

Many years ago we moved away from Quicken after using it for almost a decade. At first it was an adjustment but we quickly became used to not having a need anymore. We too became very frustrated with Quicken and the constant upgrade. Simply I did not see value in using the software any longer.
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Re: Moving From Quicken: Moneydance, YNAB, GnuCash or other?

Post by triceratop » Tue Oct 04, 2016 12:09 pm

My favorite gnucash feature is the price sync, so you can download mutual fund market price data directly from vanguard (you can choose yahoo, google etc too). They provide a script which does so on a given file, so I have a cron job that runs on my file server, updating every weekday at 5:15pm PDT. I have gone months without touching my vanguard account and the gnucash amount precisely agreed with vanguard (before I owned any bonds).

I highly recommend gnucash.
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Re: Moving From Quicken: Moneydance, YNAB, GnuCash or other?

Post by ikowik » Tue Oct 04, 2016 12:40 pm

My choice is MoneyDance. When I moved from PC to Mac, gave up on Quicken (quickly :happy )
MoneyDance has been very stable, connects to my bank, is well organized and easy to use. Produces reports that are customizable.
And no yearly subscription costs.

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Re: Moving From Quicken: Moneydance, YNAB, GnuCash or other?

Post by azanon » Tue Oct 04, 2016 1:05 pm

I'd recommend looking into your PC configuration. Is it an old PC? Quicken 2016 runs like a dream for me (it fixed a few minor issues I was having with Quicken 2014). And my Quicken data dates to 1996 (so I've used Quicken for 20 years).

Every finance software I've tried have always been varying degrees of inferior to Quicken. The only known issue of Quicken I'm aware of is that the core software is old-school since the trend is to move to online variants of financial management (where your data is stored online too/in the "cloud").

This all being said, I don't need as many of Quicken's features anymore since I invest with Betterment.

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Re: Moving From Quicken: Moneydance, YNAB, GnuCash or other?

Post by abuss368 » Tue Oct 04, 2016 1:12 pm

Bogleheads,

I would like to add that for non-financially sophisticated folks or someone that is challenged by budgeting and finances, Quicken is an excellent resource. I have recommended the software and helped with the setup for a family member and this was a good strategy.

Best.
John C. Bogle: "You simply do not need to put your money into 8 different mutual funds!" | | Disclosure: Three Fund Portfolio + U.S. & International REITs

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Re: Moving From Quicken: Moneydance, YNAB, GnuCash or other?

Post by Desert » Tue Oct 04, 2016 2:23 pm

I used Quicken for over 20 years, and recently switched to YNAB plus my own spreadsheets. YNAB isn't very useful for investments, tax issues, etc. It's mainly a budgeting software. It's a great tool for managing monthly and annual cash flows. I use it to effectively account for all expenses, even those that happen every few years (new car, for example). YNAB is a good tool for smoothing cash flows over time, gradually reducing the monthly budget, while not neglecting periodic large expenses. I track all investments in a spreadsheet.

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Re: Moving From Quicken: Moneydance, YNAB, GnuCash or other?

Post by tuningfork » Tue Oct 04, 2016 5:21 pm

Another Moneydance recommendation here. I used Quicken, then Money, then Moneydance. MD does pretty much everything Quicken and Money does, though not always quite as user friendly. Importing your transaction history from Quicken/Money can be a chore, but if you're not planning to do that then that's not an issue for you. MD directly connects to most of my financial institutions. I still have to manually download QFX or OFX files from a few banks but that's not really a big deal.

The MD purchase gets you free upgrades to the current and next major release. After that you can pay half price to get another two releases. They push new releases about once a year with a few bugfix updates in between. They don't "sunset" old versions so all features in older versions continue to work. You only need to upgrade if you want any of the bug fixes or new features in the new version.

I've used their tech support a few times. They are responsive on the support forum and helped me resolve some issues/questions I had.

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Re: Moving From Quicken: Moneydance, YNAB, GnuCash or other?

Post by mindboggling » Tue Oct 04, 2016 5:47 pm

I've been using the double-entry accounting program Gnucash for a few years now to track my income and expenses. As I approached retirement I figured I might as well know exactly what my expenses were. I don't use it to track my investments and I don't download data to it. I make manual entries. Almost all my investments are with Vanguard, and I go to their site to look at them. It really depends on how comprehensively you want to manage your financial life. I think many people here go overboard on this.

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53timr
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Re: Moving From Quicken: Moneydance, YNAB, GnuCash or other?

Post by 53timr » Wed Oct 05, 2016 3:26 pm

Thanks for all the input everyone. I think I will download each one and install and play around with them for a couple of weeks and see if any one of them strikes me as the one.
“I take my investment advice from my dentist, because he’s just as likely to lose me money as a financial advisor.” | ― Jarod Kintz, This Book Title is Invisible

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Re: Moving From Quicken: Moneydance, YNAB, GnuCash or other?

Post by hardrain » Wed Oct 05, 2016 3:55 pm

On YNAB -- if you're not using it specifically to handle getting finances "in line", make sure you're getting the desktop version that has very well crafted reporting, and not cloud version, which for some reason does not (there are volumes of old v cloud YNAB discussions and I won't go into them, but it's important to note). Old YNAB doesn't have auto-downloads, however, and lacks a lot of flexibility; you're also signing up to use this software forever as they're abandoning it for the cloud version very soon. That said I've used it for a year or so and really like how easy it is to digest where our money goes, and how our net worth is tracking.

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Re: Moving From Quicken: Moneydance, YNAB, GnuCash or other?

Post by furwut » Wed Oct 05, 2016 4:01 pm

You can also take a look at Mint. It was owned by Intuit as well so maybe it was sold too as part of the package? Mint is free but the number one issue some people have is that you have to give them the passwords to your financial accounts.

I've used Mint for many years and it is a great aggregator. I am worried that will be discontinued sometime in the future.

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Re: Moving From Quicken: Moneydance, YNAB, GnuCash or other?

Post by klaykrusher » Wed Oct 05, 2016 7:41 pm

Like others I stopped using Quicken years ago. Software was becoming way too slow and bloated. One feature I did like though was the cash flow forecasting. I tried Mint but too many ads, plus I don't budget down to mirco detail.

I then tried Personal Capital and have been hooked ever since. Connects to most banks without issue and if it doesn't you can always manually add accounts. No issue with Navy Federal, PenFed, VG, Fidelity, CapOne360, etc. And it's free....

Only things I would like to see change are the ability to add my own income/expense categories and maybe a more robust retirement planner. Other than that, no complaints.

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Re: Moving From Quicken: Moneydance, YNAB, GnuCash or other?

Post by blueman457 » Wed Oct 05, 2016 8:22 pm

I have a mac. I tried moneydance but didn't like it. I've been using bankivity for over a year and find it more user friendly.

Good luck!

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Re: Moving From Quicken: Moneydance, YNAB, GnuCash or other?

Post by spammagnet » Wed Oct 05, 2016 11:29 pm

I'm a long-time MS Money, now Quicken, user. I very much like download all transactions as a way of automating data entry. I don't accept anything without review but it does dramatically reduce the effort of documentation.

I recently tried the cloud version of YNAB and gave it an honest effort but found it seriously lacking. Transaction download through Yodlee is good but the program seems very focused on a population of users in the early phases of accumulation. Much emphasis is placed on budgeting each paycheck, as in living paycheck-to-paycheck. I haven't lived that way for decades. Also, reporting of any kind is sadly lacking.

While Quicken is sluggish and has flaws, it's comprehensive. It handles standard cash-flow tasks, downloads transactions from multiple financial institutions, and even automates arcane transactions such as ESPP purchases and sales.

I'm satisfied, for now. I'll continue to explore alternatives (like trying YNAB) but I don't find Quicken bad enough that I really need to dump it.

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Re: Moving From Quicken: Moneydance, YNAB, GnuCash or other?

Post by markettracker » Thu Oct 06, 2016 6:29 am

I love YNAB for budgeting, but I am not comfortable with moving to the cloud version. When the non-cloud version eventually stops working, I'll move to something else.

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Re: Moving From Quicken: Moneydance, YNAB, GnuCash or other?

Post by spammagnet » Thu Oct 06, 2016 7:19 am

markettracker wrote:I love YNAB for budgeting, but I am not comfortable with moving to the cloud version. When the non-cloud version eventually stops working, I'll move to something else.
Is your discomfort related to cloud storage or some other aspect of the program?

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Re: Moving From Quicken: Moneydance, YNAB, GnuCash or other?

Post by markettracker » Thu Oct 06, 2016 7:49 am

spammagnet wrote:
markettracker wrote:I love YNAB for budgeting, but I am not comfortable with moving to the cloud version. When the non-cloud version eventually stops working, I'll move to something else.
Is your discomfort related to cloud storage or some other aspect of the program?
The storage aspect - I don't like the idea of storing a lot of my financial information on the cloud.

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Re: Moving From Quicken: Moneydance, YNAB, GnuCash or other?

Post by Desert » Thu Oct 06, 2016 9:18 am

markettracker wrote:The storage aspect - I don't like the idea of storing a lot of my financial information on the cloud.
I definitely understand this concern. For years now, I've preferred to keep as much of my financial data locally stored and backed up as possible. But I do see the cloud computing/storage as the future. And from a security standpoint, it's becoming difficult for me to convince myself that my local data storage/backup is more secure than the cloud, from either a hacking or physical damage standpoint. So I've evolved into really liking YNAB's model, both the cloud-based aspect and the subscription model. I fully expect the ongoing subscription revenue to result in continued improvements and added features. If it doesn't, I'll look elsewhere. But for now, I'm impressed with the company structure, the budgeting capabilities and the continuous improvement. And no, I don't work for YNAB (though they've been voted a top company to work for).

Some say that the YNAB budgeting method begins to resemble a religion, and I think there's some truth to that.

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Re: Moving From Quicken: Moneydance, YNAB, GnuCash or other?

Post by camillus » Thu Oct 06, 2016 9:25 am

Desert wrote:Some say that the YNAB budgeting method begins to resemble a religion.
I am one such YNAB evangelist. YNAB is for folks for whom their savings rate is the most important metric. For the OP's purposes though, YNAB might not cut it. I would question though the reason to print monthly reports.

One program to add to the OP's list is Personal Capital, especially if you want to keep track of investments, mainly. I use YNAB for my various checking accounts and Personal Capital for investment accounts.

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Re: Moving From Quicken: Moneydance, YNAB, GnuCash or other?

Post by carofe » Thu Oct 06, 2016 9:57 am

If you are looking for more like a tracking software see mint.com, Personal Capital or SigFig.

YNAB is for proactive budgeting, I don't think you would like it unless you want a change.
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Re: Moving From Quicken: Moneydance, YNAB, GnuCash or other?

Post by Dottie57 » Thu Oct 06, 2016 10:12 am

camillus wrote:
Desert wrote:Some say that the YNAB budgeting method begins to resemble a religion.
I am one such YNAB evangelist. YNAB is for folks for whom their savings rate is the most important metric. For the OP's purposes though, YNAB might not cut it. I would question though the reason to print monthly reports.

One program to add to the OP's list is Personal Capital, especially if you want to keep track of investments, mainly. I use YNAB for my various checking accounts and Personal Capital for investment accounts.
The disconcerting thing for me with YNAB is the need for training sessions. I hestitate to use something that may be so non-intuitive.

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Re: Moving From Quicken: Moneydance, YNAB, GnuCash or other?

Post by camillus » Thu Oct 06, 2016 10:59 am

I don't mean to hijack the thread. I don't think YNAB fits the needs described here. I just wanted to respond:
Dottie57 wrote:The disconcerting thing for me with YNAB is the need for training sessions. I hestitate to use something that may be so non-intuitive.
I suppose intuition depends on how your brain works and what sort of goals you have in mind. Before YNAB, I used Quicken which seemed to be buggy and very labor intensive in categorizing transactions and reconciling many accounts. When I switched to YNAB, I also simplified my financial life by using one checking account and one credit card for ease. My wife also came on board and often does "month end" activity in YNAB and sets the budget.

With Quicken, I had a lot of data and fancy reports. YNAB, on the other hand, helped me make sense of a smaller amount of data and translated that into motivation for significant life change. A year and a half later, all student and auto loans are paid off. I had used Quicken for 7 years before this, printing out monthly reports to file.

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Re: Moving From Quicken: Moneydance, YNAB, GnuCash or other?

Post by Desert » Thu Oct 06, 2016 11:22 am

camillus wrote:
Desert wrote:Some say that the YNAB budgeting method begins to resemble a religion.
I am one such YNAB evangelist. YNAB is for folks for whom their savings rate is the most important metric. For the OP's purposes though, YNAB might not cut it. I would question though the reason to print monthly reports.

One program to add to the OP's list is Personal Capital, especially if you want to keep track of investments, mainly. I use YNAB for my various checking accounts and Personal Capital for investment accounts.
I agree, YNAB is primarily useful for cash flow management, with the end result of increasing savings rate. By comparison, tracking investments is quite simple and quick, requiring only a few minutes per month once a tracking spreadsheet is set up. Since budgeting is more time intensive than investment tracking, I think a tool such as YNAB brings more payoff than an investment tracking tool.

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Re: Moving From Quicken: Moneydance, YNAB, GnuCash or other?

Post by TravelGeek » Thu Oct 06, 2016 5:00 pm

Desert wrote: I definitely understand this concern. For years now, I've preferred to keep as much of my financial data locally stored and backed up as possible. But I do see the cloud computing/storage as the future. And from a security standpoint, it's becoming difficult for me to convince myself that my local data storage/backup is more secure than the cloud, from either a hacking or physical damage standpoint. So I've evolved into really liking YNAB's model, both the cloud-based aspect and the subscription model. I fully expect the ongoing subscription revenue to result in continued improvements and added features. If it doesn't, I'll look elsewhere.
For me the concern with cloud-based systems isn't so much security as it is loss of control over upgrade cycles and availability. With a local system I get to control when to upgrade, whether to upgrade at all, and I presumably also can continue to use the software if or when the software provider goes belly up or decides to discontinue the product. With cloud solutions you lose that. That's not to say that I have any specific concerns regarding the viability of the makers of YNAB, or their future plans.

(FWIW, in my professional life I work on cloud software)

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Re: Moving From Quicken: Moneydance, YNAB, GnuCash or other?

Post by carofe » Thu Oct 06, 2016 9:57 pm

TravelGeek wrote:
Desert wrote: I definitely understand this concern. For years now, I've preferred to keep as much of my financial data locally stored and backed up as possible. But I do see the cloud computing/storage as the future. And from a security standpoint, it's becoming difficult for me to convince myself that my local data storage/backup is more secure than the cloud, from either a hacking or physical damage standpoint. So I've evolved into really liking YNAB's model, both the cloud-based aspect and the subscription model. I fully expect the ongoing subscription revenue to result in continued improvements and added features. If it doesn't, I'll look elsewhere.
For me the concern with cloud-based systems isn't so much security as it is loss of control over upgrade cycles and availability. With a local system I get to control when to upgrade, whether to upgrade at all, and I presumably also can continue to use the software if or when the software provider goes belly up or decides to discontinue the product. With cloud solutions you lose that. That's not to say that I have any specific concerns regarding the viability of the makers of YNAB, or their future plans.

(FWIW, in my professional life I work on cloud software)
Aren't you overly concerned? Can't you just import your bank transactions into another service if the first one you had goes south? And really, if a financial aggregator service isn't available for few hours that's not a big deal, if the internet gets interrupted for good for many days then probably your least of your concerns is your budget and reports.
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Re: Moving From Quicken: Moneydance, YNAB, GnuCash or other?

Post by TravelGeek » Thu Oct 06, 2016 11:04 pm

carofe wrote: Aren't you overly concerned? Can't you just import your bank transactions into another service if the first one you had goes south?
Maybe. If the service you are using has an export format that others understand. Is there any service that imports YNAB data? On the "on premises" side of software, how well do imports of Quicken files into competitor products work? Judging by the comments here it's not necessarily straightforward. My own experience with Money -> Quicken many years ago wasn't all that great. But it was a move that I chose to make, on my own schedule. Money kept working fine even after I was finally moved.
And really, if a financial aggregator service isn't available for few hours that's not a big deal, if the internet gets interrupted for good for many days then probably your least of your concerns is your budget and reports.
That's not a concern for me at all. I am not talking about temporary loss of access.

I *am* using several cloud services. I have chosen to stick with "on premises" software for some where the risks outweigh the benefits for me. E.g., there is no benefit for me to prepare my Turbotax return in the cloud. There is a big benefit (and little risk) for me to maintain my to-do list in the cloud (Todoist), accessible from any device I use no matter where I am. My password manager is a local app (1Password) on all my devices, but the data is stored in the cloud (my Dropbox account, encrypted of course), but I could move it back on premises at any point and continue to access my data even if Dropbox or 1Password go out of business or change their business model or ...

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Re: Moving From Quicken: Moneydance, YNAB, GnuCash or other?

Post by EXH » Fri Oct 07, 2016 4:39 am

What about personal capital? It's great for tracking net worth and investment allocation. It should connect with all of those things. The only downside is they occasionally try to sell you there services but they have pretty much stopped even doing that for me at this point.

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Re: Moving From Quicken: Moneydance, YNAB, GnuCash or other?

Post by spammagnet » Sat Oct 08, 2016 4:34 pm

I'm trying YNAB4 and imported all of this year's spending transactions. The reporting is far better than the new version. I haven't finished categorizing all of the transactions nor have I played with the budget aspects of YNAB sufficiently to form a fair opinion, but I feel like I'll be drawn back to the integration of Quicken. In addition to online banking and an effective budget tool, Quicken gets me decent tax forecasting* and investment transaction management all in the same package. (I'm a WIndows user. Linux or Mac OS users may have very different opinions, for good reason.)

(*No, I wouldn't use it to file taxes but the information is accurate enough to guide financial decisions. My tax/financial situation probably differs from yours.)

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Re: Moving From Quicken: Moneydance, YNAB, GnuCash or other?

Post by pierremonfrere » Sat Oct 08, 2016 4:59 pm

EXH wrote:What about personal capital? It's great for tracking net worth and investment allocation. It should connect with all of those things. The only downside is they occasionally try to sell you there services but they have pretty much stopped even doing that for me at this point.
I'm most interested in net worth and investment tracking. I've been using personal capital for about a year, but lately it's been frustrating because it has issues connecting to all my accounts. I contacted customer service over a month ago on one such issue and they still haven't responded to me.

Two of my accounts haven't updated for weeks. Although I have liked personal capital, i am starting to look for an alternative that hopefully has less syncing issues.

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Re: Moving From Quicken: Moneydance, YNAB, GnuCash or other?

Post by MarkBC » Mon Mar 19, 2018 2:36 pm

PNW1 wrote:
Tue Oct 04, 2016 11:46 am
I really like GNUCash, but I never used Quicken or any other commercial accounting or money management package, so I can't offer a comparison between them. If you have any questions about GNUCash, I'd be happy to try to answer them.
Hi PNW1,

Thanks very much for offering to answer a GnuCash question.

I have used Quicken for a very long time (15+ years, most recently Quicken Cash Manager) but have finally gotten tired of the arbitrary forced upgrades and so am moving to GnuCash. My 99% use case is very minimal - just uploading all my transactions from credit cards and bank accounts once per year to categorize them for tax reporting.

GnuCash is structured differently from Quicken, and I just need a hint about how to do categorization.

In Quicken, I upload my transactions into "accounts", then assign a category to every transaction (most are automatically assigned) then print out a report sorted by categorization and I'm done for the year.

How do I do the same thing in GnuCash? I have imported two years of transactions from Quicken Cash Manager into a brand new instance of GnuCash. This created "accounts" for both my Quicken "accounts" and my Quicken categories.

I know I can upload my transactions into GnuCash, so that's no problem. But once I have a bunch of credit card transactions in the credit card account, how do I "categorize" them. It seems every transaction will ultimately have to be in both the credit card account, AND in another account, denoting its purpose. Is that the definition of double entry accounting? :-)

I think I just need a couple of sentences explaining how to use accounts for categorization.

Thanks for any help you can give me.
MarkBC

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Re: Moving From Quicken: Moneydance, YNAB, GnuCash or other?

Post by john465 » Sat Apr 07, 2018 1:45 pm

53timr wrote:
Tue Oct 04, 2016 10:19 am
I would really like to hear from anyone using these programs or any others that might perform well for my situation as a substitute for Quicken.
I would recommend Geltbox (https://geltbox.com). It doesn't fully replace Quicken but is a great tool I think. It has some features not seen in other software. It can import directly from financial websites, files or add data manually. For me it automates downloads of 5 out of 8 sites including Paypal. I also like it because by default it saves your data locally and encrypted, thought you can opt for encrypted cloud sync.
I had an issue importing an excel file but they released a fix within a few days. Their support has been great.

Good luck :happy

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Mursili
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Re: Moving From Quicken: Moneydance, YNAB, GnuCash or other?

Post by Mursili » Thu May 31, 2018 11:48 pm

MarkBC wrote:
Mon Mar 19, 2018 2:36 pm
I know I can upload my transactions into GnuCash, so that's no problem. But once I have a bunch of credit card transactions in the credit card account, how do I "categorize" them. It seems every transaction will ultimately have to be in both the credit card account, AND in another account, denoting its purpose. Is that the definition of double entry accounting? :-)

I think I just need a couple of sentences explaining how to use accounts for categorization.

Thanks for any help you can give me.
MarkBC
I think that you summarized my understanding of gnucash just right. I do not know if that is the definition of double entry accounting, but it certainly may be. I just know it works. Every transaction takes something from one account and puts it into another account. For credit cards, the second set of account is usually my various expense "categories". Once learned, gnucash makes a whole lot more sense.
When it comes to havoc, no one wreaks like me! - Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz

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Tyler Aspect
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Re: Moving From Quicken: Moneydance, YNAB, GnuCash or other?

Post by Tyler Aspect » Fri Jun 01, 2018 12:19 am

I am a writer of personal finance software. I personally advocate separating investment tracking from monthly cash flow tracking. Investment tracking requires long term archival of data, but monthly cash flow tracking only need to keep current year data. If you mix these two cases together, then you will end up having your data set grow unbounded, eventually subject to potential upgrade or data corruption issues.

As a Boglehead, I keep my investments simple so that I can track of it all within Vanguard. For monthly cash flow tracking I have my own software called "cash flow". But my point is that you have the freedom to switch to any software on an yearly basis provided you separate these two purposes.

I have heard some investment tracking recommendations for Personal Capital, but for maximum safety I prefer to keep my investment tracking to my brokerage provider to minimize data transfer across security boundaries. Similar for monthly cash flow tracking I do not do any automatic downloads. I will never type my logon credentials to a third party application.

https://sourceforge.net/projects/cash-flow
Past result does not predict future performance. Mentioned investments may lose money. Contents are presented "AS IS" and any implied suitability for a particular purpose are disclaimed.

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Tyler Aspect
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Re: Moving From Quicken: Moneydance, YNAB, GnuCash or other?

Post by Tyler Aspect » Fri Jun 01, 2018 2:01 am

One innovation of Cash Flow is the idea that what you type on the screen is exactly the same thing that gets saved to the file. (what you see is what you get) This is no different than what happens in a text editor. In fact my current year transaction data is stored in a file called "spending2018.txt" which is just a regular text file.

Your data is always saved as is. No complicated opaque database needed. Personal finance application in a text editor.

Example

Code: Select all

# next payment in June
Loan my Visa card
{
  05/04/18.2 phone, Republic Wireless, 15
  05/04/18.1 PayFrom our bank, 200.50
}
{ 0 => 200.50 (from 2018-04-01 to 2018-04-30)
  04/25/18.2 food, Safeway, 6.00
  04/25/18.1 shop, Target, 9.80
  04/19/18.1 dining, Panda Express, 80.20
  04/15/18.2 car, Shell (gas) 46.00
  04/15/18.1 food, Safeway, 58.5
}
Past result does not predict future performance. Mentioned investments may lose money. Contents are presented "AS IS" and any implied suitability for a particular purpose are disclaimed.

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LazyNihilist
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Re: Moving From Quicken: Moneydance, YNAB, GnuCash or other?

Post by LazyNihilist » Fri Jun 01, 2018 12:36 pm

GnuCash takes some getting used to, but once you are familiar with it, it is great.
I've been using it for nearly a decade.

DoubleEntry bookkeeping is what makes it special.
The strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must -Thucydides

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