Giving up on Quicken? (and expense tracking software altogether)

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SpaethCo
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Giving up on Quicken? (and expense tracking software altogether)

Post by SpaethCo » Wed Nov 01, 2017 2:38 pm

Any Quicken users out there who have given up on it after years (decades?) of faithful use? If you have, do you regret giving up maintaining that data?

I recently setup an account at a new financial institution, and once the account was active I went to download the QFX files to get it all setup in Quicken like all my other accounts... and it didn't work (invalid financial institution ID reported). This institution is listed for Express Web Connect, and that does work for pulling transactions, but then my account credentials would remain stored on Quicken's servers which is a security tradeoff I'd rather not make. Given the problems I've had importing transactions, my first thought was "maybe I don't need to import this account into Quicken?"

This spawned the bigger question: maybe I can stop importing anything into Quicken?

I'm soliciting feedback here because despite looking at this logically I'm still feeling the drag of inertia - I've been a Quicken user since 1995, so I have over 2 decades of financial history that I've carried forward all the way through to Quicken for Mac 2017. I've been so diligent in collecting that data for so long that it feels a bit wrong to walk away. All that said, the more I examine why I started using Quicken a couple decades ago, the more I realize the way I manage finances today is very different.

Here are primary use cases I've had for Quicken, and why I feel they may no longer be valid:

Account Reconciliation
My initial draw into Quicken was balancing my checkbook. Of all the things I'll miss from the past, writing checks that could be cashed by the recipient whenever the spirit moved them won't be one of them. At the time, having software where I could quickly match check numbers against a statement to keep track of which payments had cleared was amazing. It was also at a time where my cash flow was lower so it was important to have more precision in tracking to ensure I wouldn't end up overdrawn.

Over the years this has transitioned from 100% manual entry to 99% automated import of transaction data. On a similar timeline, the focus of this data also became less about "make sure enough money is in the right accounts" and more about "make sure all these transactions are accurate."

What has changed in the era of the smartphone is that instead of reconciling transactions in batches on a monthly basis, I'm doing it in realtime on a per transaction basis. For every credit card charge, checking account transfer, deposit, or withdrawal I am notified through a combination of emails, text messages, and phone app push notifications.

So my workflow with Quicken is:

1) Get instant notification of transaction from financial institution
2) Within 1-2 weeks, import that transaction into Quicken via FI download
3) Get monthly notice of FI statement, download statement, skim for errors
4) Reconcile against Quicken

By dropping Quicken I can cut that back to just step 1 & 3.

Payment Scheduling
This was maybe the biggest factor that made me invest the effort of transitioning over to Quicken for Mac when I moved away from Windows. For a long time I followed the pragmatic advice to stay in control of payments and to always push payments using my bank's bill pay service. As part of my account reconciliation, I would schedule payments to my credit cards and line them up with the pay day closest to the due date. This allowed me to plan my cash flow of the account and keep more money in savings at a slightly higher interest rate.

My change in recent years is to transition everything possible to autopay in full. Every service that can gets billed to a credit card -- I get electronic notifications of service statements, and I get electronic notifications of the credit card transactions. For the credit cards, I get an electronic notice that they're processing my payment, and my bank sends me notices of the withdrawals. While it's all automated, nothing happens without notice. I ended up going this route because I accepted I was still injecting human error into my payment processing. Over the years I've set the wrong payment dates, I've transposed payment amounts to different cards, and I've had the bank's bill pay system itself fail me a couple times. While it's true turning over payment processing to the credit card companies has the potential to have problems, I've been finding the risk of that is far lower than the combined risk of my bank's bill pay system and my own injected errors.

So now it's just a matter of maintaining enough slush in the account to ease back on precision tracking. With interest rates being what they are right now, the cost of Quicken itself is more than the interest lost due to funds being in checking instead of savings.

Category tracking
I feel like this is one of those areas that in order for the data to have value, it needs to be actionable. For years I've been trying to track category spending and hoping that I would be able to do something with the information. In fairness, I have used this information in the credit card rewards game to see if I'd earn enough in a special reward category to make applying for a card worthwhile. Since I'm primarily spending through credit cards these days, I can gather all of this data in Excel spreadsheet form from each of my credit card companies, so it's not like I would lose the ability to provide this analysis.

Has anyone found a particularly useful reason to go back and look at long-term historical category spending? That's the big thing I would miss, as the card companies will generally only give you data for 6-12 months. Quicken has the advantage of 20+ years of data, but much like my life, my spending has changed considerably over 20 years.

Cost basis tracking
I've relied on Quicken back when brokerages only offered average cost basis tracking. In the last few years with actual cost basis tracking, I'm not finding any difference between my brokerage data and Quicken.

Is there a compelling reason to continue to track this on my own?

What else am I missing?

If you've made it this far, thanks for reading. I appreciate any feedback you'd like to give.

bampf
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Re: Giving up on Quicken? (and expense tracking software altogether)

Post by bampf » Wed Nov 01, 2017 2:42 pm

After 20 years of Quicken I pitched it a year ago. No regrets. I never write check's anymore. My transactions are all on line. I need not pay some company every year to give me a product that has planned ways to extract more money out of my wallet. Its actually pretty liberating. I literally could care less about my data from 2006. Gone! Dont miss it at all.

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Tyler Aspect
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Re: Giving up on Quicken? (and expense tracking software altogether)

Post by Tyler Aspect » Wed Nov 01, 2017 2:51 pm

I wrote my own application last year to replace my usage of Quicken. My application "Cash Flow" doesn't keep track of investments, but it can track income, expense, and budgets. It handles cash expenses well.

It runs on Windows with Java runtime environment. Data entry is though a color highlighting text editor, while analysis screens are tabular.

https://sourceforge.net/projects/cash-flow

text editor
Image

one category view
Image

one account view
Image
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.

Jeep512
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Re: Giving up on Quicken? (and expense tracking software altogether)

Post by Jeep512 » Thu Nov 02, 2017 12:41 pm

bampf wrote:
Wed Nov 01, 2017 2:42 pm
After 20 years of Quicken I pitched it a year ago. No regrets. I never write check's anymore. My transactions are all on line. I need not pay some company every year to give me a product that has planned ways to extract more money out of my wallet. Its actually pretty liberating. I literally could care less about my data from 2006. Gone! Dont miss it at all.
+1

After using Quicken for 10 years, I gave it up about 10 years ago.

Don't miss it at all. Many times, I felt like I was working for the program instead of the program doing work for me :sharebeer

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TimeRunner
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Re: Giving up on Quicken? (and expense tracking software altogether)

Post by TimeRunner » Thu Nov 02, 2017 2:18 pm

I'm using Moneydance (which doesn't use servers as intermediary between your PC/Mac/Linux software and your financial institution) to track checking, savings, and CC accounts. While it does download from VG and Fido, I don't worry about those accounts because those websites do a far better job of tracking and reporting, and I can access that info anytime on laptop or mobile device. Ditto really for banks, etc, except old habits are hard to break and I do like to enter scheduled and projected transactions to ensure balances stay positive. I have been a Quicken user for decades, but am leaving that behind at the end of this year.

I think your post makes good sense and you've thought it through well.
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Nearly A Moose
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Re: Giving up on Quicken? (and expense tracking software altogether)

Post by Nearly A Moose » Thu Nov 02, 2017 2:54 pm

Not a longtime user (I've tried on and off but can never really make it stick), but I'll chime in anyway. I think you've laid out the considerations well, and it sounds like that analysis is pushing you away from Quicken. You don't really need it to reconcile accounts, it sounds like your cash flow is such that you can keep a cushion without material problems, and you don't have anything you really do with the category analysis. So, using Quicken now is sort of like playing with your money. If you like looking at charts and spreadsheets, then maybe that's still a draw, but it doesn't sound like that's quite what you're saying. If you've gotten to the point where you don't really need to budget and category track, then you can let it go!

If you're concerned about having no line of sight into monthly expenses, and since you run things through credit cards, consider creating a spreadsheet where once a month (same time each month) you sum up all your credit card balances and track that. That way, if you notice a weird spike or an upward trend, you can analyze things retroactively. You could even go into your Quicken file and pull that historical data if you want.

If you wanted to drill down further, identify all your fixed and scheduled recurring expenses (eg mortgage, phone bill, car insurance, magazine subscription, etc., But not grocery, dining out, etc.), sum them up, and either average them over the year or pinpoint them month by month. Then substract that from the monthly spend and you get a look at your variable expenses, if you want to see more closely. But it really sounds like you don't need this.
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DaftInvestor
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Re: Giving up on Quicken? (and expense tracking software altogether)

Post by DaftInvestor » Thu Nov 02, 2017 3:01 pm

I used it for 20 years and finally stopped a year or so ago.
I switched to Mint for a short period to track cash flow (with investments tracked in a spreadsheet) but now gave mint up as well.
I miss the database search aspect I used to use it for and being able to run yearly charitable donation reports the most (now I just track charities by spreadsheet and also dump credit card and bank transitions in a spreadsheet in case I want to do a search).
Not tracking cash flow to the detail I used to is a freeing feeling (if I spend and extra $10 on coffee in a month I no longer care - I focus on the bigger rocks like college tuition payments).
Last edited by DaftInvestor on Thu Nov 02, 2017 3:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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DaftInvestor
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Re: Giving up on Quicken? (and expense tracking software altogether)

Post by DaftInvestor » Thu Nov 02, 2017 3:07 pm

To add further: I no longer reconcile any accounts (believe this a waste of time) and schedule transactions through my banks eBill PAY system (keep enough slush in the account and generally schedule with a payday).
Agree on cost basis tracking no longer being a need (Vanguard tracks it for me) and the non-actionable nature of tracking categorization of cash flow (since I meet all my savings goals without having to track it).

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baconavocado
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Re: Giving up on Quicken? (and expense tracking software altogether)

Post by baconavocado » Thu Nov 02, 2017 3:20 pm

I've used it for decades as well and plan to continue to use it, although I've never downloaded transactions from financial institutions and I don't understand why anyone would do this. The whole point of reconciling your accounts is to see whether you and the bank agree, and if you download their data, your point of comparison is gone. I input my transactions manually and then reconcile against monthly or quarterly statements.

I download stock/fund quotes and that's it. Actually I didn't even download quotes for a long time because I didn't upgrade for 10 years and that feature quit working. I was able to work around that by importing quotes from Excel.

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DaftInvestor
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Re: Giving up on Quicken? (and expense tracking software altogether)

Post by DaftInvestor » Thu Nov 02, 2017 3:36 pm

baconavocado wrote:
Thu Nov 02, 2017 3:20 pm
I've used it for decades as well and plan to continue to use it, although I've never downloaded transactions from financial institutions and I don't understand why anyone would do this. The whole point of reconciling your accounts is to see whether you and the bank agree, and if you download their data, your point of comparison is gone. I input my transactions manually and then reconcile against monthly or quarterly statements.
When was the last time you found a bank error through your reconcilliation?

Shallowpockets
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Re: Giving up on Quicken? (and expense tracking software altogether)

Post by Shallowpockets » Thu Nov 02, 2017 4:00 pm

Quicken works for me. I only use the checkbook for the last 10 years.
Initially I trid all the investments, paychecks, etc. that was way too much.
I started using the checkbook feature and all spending transactions are recorded. I do not use it as an actual checkbook at all excepting that it allows tracking of expenses. We have a separate paper checkbook for use.
I don't care about any income. I only want to know my spending. After all, isn't that the crux of the matter?
I do put in any rebates I may get. That keeps it on the up and up since that is money back from what I spent. Costco, REI yearly rebates. Some others.
Of course I have categories and can run reports.

I track asset money I have in other ways. Since retired, only money coming in is SS. I do not put that in Q.
So I have overall assets and overall spending. Don't really need much else.
I am using the Quicken 2007 version. I don't care about updates, links to accounts or any of that stuff. Just the check book.

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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Giving up on Quicken? (and expense tracking software altogether)

Post by TomatoTomahto » Thu Nov 02, 2017 4:09 pm

Basis tracking is somewhat useful, in that I have some assets that are from pre-2012 (I think that’s when Vanguard started keeping track of specific ID).

OP asked what benefit the categorization provides. We don’t have a budget for our daily lives, but I find the categorization useful for estimating retirement spend. I have a spreadsheet that I update annually, with one year’s spend. Three columns to the right of the past year’s spend are, for lack of better names, “Getting by,” “ Living well,” and “Living LARGE.” Those 3 columns have adjustments to current spending, in either dollar terms or percentages, and it lets me see what annual amounts correspond to different levels of living. I update and categorize credit card accounts and bank accounts at least weekly, so the annual amounts are relatively accurate.

I like being able to reconcile the capital gains and dividend information at year end, and print a report for my accountant. Capital gains is not always what Vanguard says it is, because of the age of some of the assets. Total amounts have to agree, of course, and I tick and tie those.

When my wife travels, I find it useful to see what’s going on her credit card. Most of it is reimbursed by her employer, but I can make sure that we have enough in checking to cover the autopay. Having sufficient funds for estimated tax, property tax, college tuition, etc., is a walk in the park with Quicken.

So, it is not a desperately necessary piece of software, but I like having a financial snapshot available to me. I don’t find the process onerous, but easier to do with Quicken than without, and the $75 annual fee (or whatever it is) is not a problem.

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baconavocado
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Re: Giving up on Quicken? (and expense tracking software altogether)

Post by baconavocado » Thu Nov 02, 2017 5:04 pm

DaftInvestor wrote:
Thu Nov 02, 2017 3:36 pm
baconavocado wrote:
Thu Nov 02, 2017 3:20 pm
I've used it for decades as well and plan to continue to use it, although I've never downloaded transactions from financial institutions and I don't understand why anyone would do this. The whole point of reconciling your accounts is to see whether you and the bank agree, and if you download their data, your point of comparison is gone. I input my transactions manually and then reconcile against monthly or quarterly statements.
When was the last time you found a bank error through your reconcilliation?
That's a fair question. I'd say the bank rarely makes errors, but there are differences in the way I want to record things and the way the bank records them, so even if corrections need to be made (usually due to my error, not the bank's), I want each register to reflect transactions the way I record them, not the way the bank records them. That's another reason I don't download directly into Quicken.

grandmacassie
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Re: Giving up on Quicken? (and expense tracking software altogether)

Post by grandmacassie » Thu Nov 02, 2017 6:29 pm

I've used Quicken for 20 years and also have never downloaded anything. I will no longer upgrade and probably use the 2013 version as long as I can. I also reconcile my accounts every month. Found a bank error in May 2017.

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Re: Giving up on Quicken? (and expense tracking software altogether)

Post by gbronc » Thu Nov 02, 2017 7:06 pm

I agree that many of those reasons for maintaining Quicken have diminished over the years and I sometimes wonder what I can do with my 24 years of Quicken data. But one huge advantage, at least for me, is being able to see exactly what I spend by category. This helps immensely with the "can I retire" questions and entering data into various retirement calculators. I have kids getting out of college soon and without categorized spending it would be more challenging to easily see what we would actually spend in retirement with no kids. It also helps with the discretionary aspect of spending that most calculators use.

I can tell you it has made me feel much more confident about the retirement planning process.

But ultimately if you don't love data and the entry of it, Quicken and retirement calculators are just going to be tedious. I actually enjoy the process and analyzing the data it produces, but I completely understand why most people don't.

JBTX
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Re: Giving up on Quicken? (and expense tracking software altogether)

Post by JBTX » Thu Nov 02, 2017 10:12 pm

I've used it 20 years and will continue to do so as long as I can. I have a lot of different accounts - well over 50, in terms of bank, credit card, investment, etc. With quicken tracking them all is pretty easy. Without it I would have to consider seriously simplifying some things.

ElwoodBlues
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Re: Giving up on Quicken? (and expense tracking software altogether)

Post by ElwoodBlues » Fri Nov 03, 2017 1:17 am

A couple of years ago, I switched from a very old version of Quicken to Gnucash. It's not for everyone, as it's not the best in the ease of use department, but once you get used to it, it's not too bad, especially for the price ($0).

After importing data from my old Quicken file, I did a fair amount of cleanup to get everything corrected to fit Gnucash's double-entry bookkeeping standard. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double-en ... ing_system Once you understand that, you start to appreciate how it helps keep you honest with how you enter income, expenses, assets, and liabilities. It is essentially a small business accounting tool that also work for personal finance, if you're enough of a money nerd.

https://www.gnucash.org/

I have keep more data in one file than is really practical (load and save are kinda slow), but it nice to be able to report on spending or savings habits over a 20 year period. It's not very intuitive or efficient when setting up and tracking investment accounts, but it does do it. Lately, it's been very helpful in keeping up with college expenses and 529 funds.

As far as whether you need to reconcile all you statements, I've been wrestling with that question a lot lately. I find maybe one error a year across all my accounts, and it's typically a restaurant tip entered wrong at the restaurant, or a mistake on my part. Currently, I still enter almost all my receipts manually, and then reconcile when the statements come in. However, I'm warming up to the idea of just importing the files from my bank and CC bills, and forgoing reconciling altogether.

FYI, additional opinions here as well
viewtopic.php?t=200751

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Re: Giving up on Quicken? (and expense tracking software altogether)

Post by ElwoodBlues » Fri Nov 03, 2017 1:24 am

Forgot to mention, it also makes it really easy to see which cashback rewards cards fit your spending patterns the best when you have nicely categorized data. (Gnucash, Quicken, or whatever tool I suppose.)

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RooseveltG
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Re: Giving up on Quicken? (and expense tracking software altogether)

Post by RooseveltG » Fri Nov 03, 2017 6:20 am

I use Quicken for Windows on a Mac (Parallels) and have 20 years of financial data.

During a health scare 7 years ago, I decided that it was pointless to spend time categorizing every expense as long as we were under budget. Most transactions are paid by credit card and I just allocate the entire batch as "miscellaneous."

I have looked at Banktivity and Moneydance and find them more difficult to use than Quicken and much less powerful. I still use Quicken for asset allocation decisions and security price updating.

I would love to switch to Quicken for Mac 2018 but the reviews suggest it is still not up to the Quicken for Windows standard nor will it auto-reconcile accounts.

To answer the main question, I have partially abandoned Quicken by no longer categorizing expenses.

Roosevelt.

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DaftInvestor
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Re: Giving up on Quicken? (and expense tracking software altogether)

Post by DaftInvestor » Fri Nov 03, 2017 8:03 am

grandmacassie wrote:
Thu Nov 02, 2017 6:29 pm
Found a bank error in May 2017.
What type of bank error? Can you explain?
In 20 years of reconciling I never found a bank error and in this day and age - if I did find one - I would switch banks.

WhyNotUs
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Re: Giving up on Quicken? (and expense tracking software altogether)

Post by WhyNotUs » Fri Nov 03, 2017 9:02 am

SpaethCo wrote:
Wed Nov 01, 2017 2:38 pm
Any Quicken users out there who have given up on it after years (decades?) of faithful use? If you have, do you regret giving up maintaining that data?

Category tracking
I feel like this is one of those areas that in order for the data to have value, it needs to be actionable. For years I've been trying to track category spending and hoping that I would be able to do something with the information.

Has anyone found a particularly useful reason to go back and look at long-term historical category spending? That's the big thing I would miss, as the card companies will generally only give you data for 6-12 months. Quicken has the advantage of 20+ years of data, but much like my life, my spending has changed considerably over 20 years.

What else am I missing?
Category uses:
Easy tax prep, haven't used it in a while but helped with setting up depreciation in past
Document basis for home improvements if I sell
Visuals- pie charts over the years tracking expense categories, more interesting than actionable but tells a story

I could do without it but will not do so until they try to force me on to subscription
I own the next hot stock- VTSAX

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Toons
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Re: Giving up on Quicken? (and expense tracking software altogether)

Post by Toons » Fri Nov 03, 2017 9:22 am

Never consider giving Quicken up ,
Basis tracking for multiple funds and stocks(decades of data)
If anything
hope it is around for years to come.
:happy
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retire57
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Re: Giving up on Quicken? (and expense tracking software altogether)

Post by retire57 » Fri Nov 03, 2017 9:49 am

If we used Quicken for reconciling only, I would give it up. But we use it to track so many things - our savings rate, charitable contributions, travel expenses, and unexpected expenses, just to name a few. All this info is extremely valuable year-to-year.
Last edited by retire57 on Fri Nov 03, 2017 9:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

michaeljc70
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Re: Giving up on Quicken? (and expense tracking software altogether)

Post by michaeljc70 » Fri Nov 03, 2017 9:50 am

I use it and just bought a newer version. I use downloading of transactions to find fraud and categorize expenses. Yes, I could look at each statement carefully each month and try to remember what I bought 8 times with PayPal or Amazon and potentially find fraud 30 days later. I like getting the transactions on a daily (well, I download probably 5x a week) basis. It takes a mere minute or 2 a day rather than trying to comb over multiple statements with tons of transactions at month end.

I also would miss being able to track expenses. Though I am way closer to retirement than starting out and don't need to watch every penny, I am a fact and figures kind of guy and like to be able to run those reports.

It is also more convenient to pay my bills in Quicken than on my bank's website.

I use it for investment tracking too, but since just about all brokerages track basis now and have decent websites, that is a more minor point to me.

I have some frustration as the product seemed to falter over the years. It was recently sold so maybe that will get better. I bought a new version good for 2 years for $28, so it is not a lot of money.

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Re: Giving up on Quicken? (and expense tracking software altogether)

Post by dumbbunny » Fri Nov 03, 2017 9:58 am

I exported all of my cash, credit and debit transactions into Office Libre spreadsheet. I have the capability to run expense reports that show my spending habits. Just trying to simplify my life so I can play more.
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DaftInvestor
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Re: Giving up on Quicken? (and expense tracking software altogether)

Post by DaftInvestor » Fri Nov 03, 2017 10:34 am

michaeljc70 wrote:
Fri Nov 03, 2017 9:50 am
I use it and just bought a newer version. I use downloading of transactions to find fraud and categorize expenses. Yes, I could look at each statement carefully each month and try to remember what I bought 8 times with PayPal or Amazon and potentially find fraud 30 days later. I like getting the transactions on a daily (well, I download probably 5x a week) basis. It takes a mere minute or 2 a day rather than trying to comb over multiple statements with tons of transactions at month end.

I also would miss being able to track expenses. Though I am way closer to retirement than starting out and don't need to watch every penny, I am a fact and figures kind of guy and like to be able to run those reports.

It is also more convenient to pay my bills in Quicken than on my bank's website.

I use it for investment tracking too, but since just about all brokerages track basis now and have decent websites, that is a more minor point to me.

I have some frustration as the product seemed to falter over the years. It was recently sold so maybe that will get better. I bought a new version good for 2 years for $28, so it is not a lot of money.
I don't think very many people wait for monthly paper statements anymore. I log into bank and credit card accounts far more often than monthly. Because I have one primary credit card account and one primary bank account I can quickly see what's happening without the need to download into quicken. If you like tracking expenses - surely - not much can beat Quicken but for fraud detection you are probably better off checking the source.

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Re: Giving up on Quicken? (and expense tracking software altogether)

Post by michaeljc70 » Fri Nov 03, 2017 10:40 am

DaftInvestor wrote:
Fri Nov 03, 2017 10:34 am
michaeljc70 wrote:
Fri Nov 03, 2017 9:50 am
I use it and just bought a newer version. I use downloading of transactions to find fraud and categorize expenses. Yes, I could look at each statement carefully each month and try to remember what I bought 8 times with PayPal or Amazon and potentially find fraud 30 days later. I like getting the transactions on a daily (well, I download probably 5x a week) basis. It takes a mere minute or 2 a day rather than trying to comb over multiple statements with tons of transactions at month end.

I also would miss being able to track expenses. Though I am way closer to retirement than starting out and don't need to watch every penny, I am a fact and figures kind of guy and like to be able to run those reports.

It is also more convenient to pay my bills in Quicken than on my bank's website.

I use it for investment tracking too, but since just about all brokerages track basis now and have decent websites, that is a more minor point to me.

I have some frustration as the product seemed to falter over the years. It was recently sold so maybe that will get better. I bought a new version good for 2 years for $28, so it is not a lot of money.
I don't think very many people wait for monthly paper statements anymore. I log into bank and credit card accounts far more often than monthly. Because I have one primary credit card account and one primary bank account I can quickly see what's happening without the need to download into quicken. If you like tracking expenses - surely - not much can beat Quicken but for fraud detection you are probably better off checking the source.
Though I try to use one credit card, in practice I use more. For example, Discover has 5% off at Amazon for a few months so I use that on Amazon. Costco only takes Visa. Other cards have other promotions I take advantage of from time to time. Logging into Quicken is much easier for me.

If I wasn't using Quicken, I would probably have an email or text sent for each transaction so I wouldn't have to log into each account separately.

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Re: Giving up on Quicken? (and expense tracking software altogether)

Post by TimeRunner » Fri Nov 03, 2017 10:55 am

michaeljc70 wrote:
Fri Nov 03, 2017 10:40 am
If I wasn't using Quicken, I would probably have an email or text sent for each transaction so I wouldn't have to log into each account separately.
A well-written phone app makes it fast and easy to browse accounts and quickly drill down to transaction details or even a check image if necessary. The phone app will oftentimes be faster than grabbing a laptop and logging into a website or playing with Quicken.
One cannot enlighten the unconscious. | Endurance athletes are the Bogleheads of sports. | "I like people - I just don't want to be around 'em." - Russell Gordy

SpaethCo
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Re: Giving up on Quicken? (and expense tracking software altogether)

Post by SpaethCo » Fri Nov 03, 2017 10:55 am

Thanks for all the feedback, particularly the callout for tracking chartable donations. That's something I definitely want to export into a spreadsheet for tracking going forward.
TomatoTomahto wrote:
Thu Nov 02, 2017 4:09 pm
OP asked what benefit the categorization provides. We don’t have a budget for our daily lives, but I find the categorization useful for estimating retirement spend. I have a spreadsheet that I update annually, with one year’s spend. Three columns to the right of the past year’s spend are, for lack of better names, “Getting by,” “ Living well,” and “Living LARGE.” Those 3 columns have adjustments to current spending, in either dollar terms or percentages, and it lets me see what annual amounts correspond to different levels of living. I update and categorize credit card accounts and bank accounts at least weekly, so the annual amounts are relatively accurate.
gbronc wrote:
Thu Nov 02, 2017 7:06 pm
But one huge advantage, at least for me, is being able to see exactly what I spend by category. This helps immensely with the "can I retire" questions and entering data into various retirement calculators.
For planning I've put together monthly expense budgets in spreadsheets, and I've found it really easy to get numbers for the standard expenses like mortgage, utilities, cell phone, restaurants, and subscriptions. What I found incredibly difficult to do with data in Quicken is working around purchases at retailers like Target, Amazon, or Costco.

For instance, the bulk of the items we purchase at Costco are groceries, so I've been coding it as grocery on the transaction. This year I've also purchased a new refrigerator and a new TV from Costco, so now if I run an expense report my spending on groceries looks heavily skewed.

To make category tracking useful, are you manually splitting up receipt items to match appropriate categories?
JBTX wrote:
Thu Nov 02, 2017 10:12 pm
I've used it 20 years and will continue to do so as long as I can. I have a lot of different accounts - well over 50, in terms of bank, credit card, investment, etc. With quicken tracking them all is pretty easy.
To track that many accounts easily, are you doing one click / express web updating? No concerns about having all your account credentials consolidated on a server run by Quicken that you have no ability to audit?

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Re: Giving up on Quicken? (and expense tracking software altogether)

Post by SpaethCo » Fri Nov 03, 2017 11:10 am

michaeljc70 wrote:
Fri Nov 03, 2017 10:40 am
If I wasn't using Quicken, I would probably have an email or text sent for each transaction so I wouldn't have to log into each account separately.
I think one important callout here is that for credit cards, the transaction alerts for almost every credit card* is when the charge is authorized, but the downloads into Quicken are only available after the transaction posts. Considering it can take a day or two for a charge to actually post, that’s a day or two of additional exposure before you’ll find that fradulent transaction.

The last time one of my cards was used fradulently a few months back I was able to call the bank within 15 minutes of getting the authorization notification. I didn’t even have to fill out any of the affidavit paperwork this last time because they were able to shutdown the card before a single fradulent charge was able to post.

* I’ve had cards with a handful of different banks, so far the only bank that didn’t generate alerts on auth was Barclays.

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Re: Giving up on Quicken? (and expense tracking software altogether)

Post by michaeljc70 » Fri Nov 03, 2017 11:10 am

TimeRunner wrote:
Fri Nov 03, 2017 10:55 am
michaeljc70 wrote:
Fri Nov 03, 2017 10:40 am
If I wasn't using Quicken, I would probably have an email or text sent for each transaction so I wouldn't have to log into each account separately.
A well-written phone app makes it fast and easy to browse accounts and quickly drill down to transaction details or even a check image if necessary. The phone app will oftentimes be faster than grabbing a laptop and logging into a website or playing with Quicken.
I haven't found one. If you are talking about Mint, I have problems with it all the time with authentication. I never have these problems with Quicken and it is essentially doing the same thing. I waste more time with Mint and accounts needing my "attention". I also believe Mint sells way more of your info than Quicken.

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Re: Giving up on Quicken? (and expense tracking software altogether)

Post by michaeljc70 » Fri Nov 03, 2017 11:16 am

SpaethCo wrote:
Fri Nov 03, 2017 11:10 am
michaeljc70 wrote:
Fri Nov 03, 2017 10:40 am
If I wasn't using Quicken, I would probably have an email or text sent for each transaction so I wouldn't have to log into each account separately.
I think one important callout here is that for credit cards, the transaction alerts for almost every credit card* is when the charge is authorized, but the downloads into Quicken are only available after the transaction posts. Considering it can take a day or two for a charge to actually post, that’s a day or two of additional exposure before you’ll find that fradulent transaction.

The last time one of my cards was used fradulently a few months back I was able to call the bank within 15 minutes of getting the authorization notification. I didn’t even have to fill out any of the affidavit paperwork this last time because they were able to shutdown the card before a single fradulent charge was able to post.

* I’ve had cards with a handful of different banks, so far the only bank that didn’t generate alerts on auth was Barclays.
I hear what you are saying, but you are not really exposed. You don't have any exposure as long as you report it according to their rules which are quite generous. By Federal law, you can only be held responsible for $50. I've never been charged the $50 in the couple of times I've had fraudulent charges. The day or two delay just is not a factor for me.

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Re: Giving up on Quicken? (and expense tracking software altogether)

Post by Ron » Fri Nov 03, 2017 11:17 am

While I don't begrudge my wife the money she spends on travel (really :mrgreen: ) she was quite amazed when I ran a Q report showing that over the last 19 years, she had spent just over the delivered cost of our current home, built in 1994. That doesn't even include the $70k I threw into the pot to support her "habit".

As the old Master Card ads ended with the term "priceless", it was funny to see the look on her face when she was presented with the facts. Hey, she's the one who entered/categorized the data on Q.

I just signed up for a two year subscription (via Office Max). Q has really helped in tracking our expenses (and planning for retirement) for so long, I doubt that I would consider giving up the product. The only argument is that they don't have a way of changing the colors on the graphs (each new year show different colors). Other than that, our investments along with automatically posting results of posting entries to our bank, has been a great service.

And yes, I've used alternatives such as spreadsheets and Personal Capital for basically recording data. Q is easier than spreadsheets IMHO and I won't show my/wife's bank accounts on PC. While I don't have a problem with them seeing our joint retirement investments, I don't want them to see the our total financial "picture".

I'll stay with Q; they fulfill my/our tracking requirements for what I feel is a reasonable cost when broken down by month/year.

- Ron

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Re: Giving up on Quicken? (and expense tracking software altogether)

Post by Gryphon » Fri Nov 03, 2017 11:26 am

SpaethCo wrote:
Fri Nov 03, 2017 10:55 am
To make category tracking useful, are you manually splitting up receipt items to match appropriate categories?
That's what I do. I'm not a fanatic about it, though. If I grab a bag of M&Ms in the checkout line at the hardware store, or pick up a magazine at the grocery store, I'm not likely to bother breaking out those small expenses into separate categories. But I usually do wind up doing that with Costco receipts.

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Re: Giving up on Quicken? (and expense tracking software altogether)

Post by TomatoTomahto » Fri Nov 03, 2017 11:44 am

Gryphon wrote:
Fri Nov 03, 2017 11:26 am
SpaethCo wrote:
Fri Nov 03, 2017 10:55 am
To make category tracking useful, are you manually splitting up receipt items to match appropriate categories?
That's what I do. I'm not a fanatic about it, though. If I grab a bag of M&Ms in the checkout line at the hardware store, or pick up a magazine at the grocery store, I'm not likely to bother breaking out those small expenses into separate categories. But I usually do wind up doing that with Costco receipts.
I manually categorize Amazon purchases. I leave Costco as groceries, except once when I bought eyeglasses there. If I were to buy a TV, I’d manually adjust also.

Close enough for my intended purpose.
Last edited by TomatoTomahto on Fri Nov 03, 2017 12:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Giving up on Quicken? (and expense tracking software altogether)

Post by michaeljc70 » Fri Nov 03, 2017 12:04 pm

TomatoTomahto wrote:
Fri Nov 03, 2017 11:44 am
Gryphon wrote:
Fri Nov 03, 2017 11:26 am
SpaethCo wrote:
Fri Nov 03, 2017 10:55 am
To make category tracking useful, are you manually splitting up receipt items to match appropriate categories?
That's what I do. I'm not a fanatic about it, though. If I grab a bag of M&Ms in the checkout line at the hardware store, or pick up a magazine at the grocery store, I'm not likely to bother breaking out those small expenses into separate categories. But I usually do wind up doing that with Costco receipts.
I manually categorize Amazon purchases. I leave Costco as groceries, except once when I bought eyeglasses there. If 8 were to buy a TV, I’d manually adjust also.

Close enough for my intended purpose.
That's kind of what I do. If I buy something big that is non-food at Costco, I try to split it out. I am not going to spend a ton of time to get everything down to the penny though.

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Re: Giving up on Quicken? (and expense tracking software altogether)

Post by baconavocado » Fri Nov 03, 2017 12:30 pm

michaeljc70 wrote:
Fri Nov 03, 2017 12:04 pm
TomatoTomahto wrote:
Fri Nov 03, 2017 11:44 am
Gryphon wrote:
Fri Nov 03, 2017 11:26 am
SpaethCo wrote:
Fri Nov 03, 2017 10:55 am
To make category tracking useful, are you manually splitting up receipt items to match appropriate categories?
That's what I do. I'm not a fanatic about it, though. If I grab a bag of M&Ms in the checkout line at the hardware store, or pick up a magazine at the grocery store, I'm not likely to bother breaking out those small expenses into separate categories. But I usually do wind up doing that with Costco receipts.
I manually categorize Amazon purchases. I leave Costco as groceries, except once when I bought eyeglasses there. If 8 were to buy a TV, I’d manually adjust also.

Close enough for my intended purpose.
That's kind of what I do. If I buy something big that is non-food at Costco, I try to split it out. I am not going to spend a ton of time to get everything down to the penny though.
This is what we do too. When I go grocery shopping I split out the receipt into e.g., food, pet supplies, personal care items, etc. Same when I order something from Amazon or buy things at Costco, they all get split out into different expense categories. I usually enter expenses on the day of purchase or within a couple days. My wife saves her receipts in an envelope and enters them once or twice/month.

Having a long-term record of your spending is really a very useful tool, and not just for budgeting and financial planning. If you think about it, almost everything you do involves some kind of expense. Sometimes we'll wonder, well, when was it that visited this place or that place, or when did we make this home repair or home improvement, or when did that person visit. Quicken has all the answers.

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Re: Giving up on Quicken? (and expense tracking software altogether)

Post by inbox788 » Fri Nov 03, 2017 12:33 pm

I gave up long ago. Just wasn't worth the time and effort.

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Re: Giving up on Quicken? (and expense tracking software altogether)

Post by TimeRunner » Fri Nov 03, 2017 12:52 pm

michaeljc70 wrote:
Fri Nov 03, 2017 11:10 am
TimeRunner wrote:
Fri Nov 03, 2017 10:55 am
michaeljc70 wrote:
Fri Nov 03, 2017 10:40 am
If I wasn't using Quicken, I would probably have an email or text sent for each transaction so I wouldn't have to log into each account separately.
A well-written phone app makes it fast and easy to browse accounts and quickly drill down to transaction details or even a check image if necessary. The phone app will oftentimes be faster than grabbing a laptop and logging into a website or playing with Quicken.
I haven't found one. If you are talking about Mint, I have problems with it all the time with authentication. I never have these problems with Quicken and it is essentially doing the same thing. I waste more time with Mint and accounts needing my "attention". I also believe Mint sells way more of your info than Quicken.
Sorry I wasn't clear. I meant a bank app (e.g. USAA) and/or brokerage app (e.g. Fido, Schwab). Many of these apps are capable of alerting you within the app as well as the usual back-end systems of sending texts or email alerts.
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Re: Giving up on Quicken? (and expense tracking software altogether)

Post by JBTX » Fri Nov 03, 2017 2:56 pm

SpaethCo wrote:
Fri Nov 03, 2017 10:55 am

JBTX wrote:
Thu Nov 02, 2017 10:12 pm
I've used it 20 years and will continue to do so as long as I can. I have a lot of different accounts - well over 50, in terms of bank, credit card, investment, etc. With quicken tracking them all is pretty easy.
To track that many accounts easily, are you doing one click / express web updating? No concerns about having all your account credentials consolidated on a server run by Quicken that you have no ability to audit?
Yes, one click Express update. Concerns about creditials on their servers? Until I started posting here it never crossed my mind. From what I understand, they are encrypted servers, and I don't think it is as if a quicken and employee or a hacker could go find your ID and password in an open database and go to town. I'm sure there is always a theoretical danger, but in mind it is not near enough for me to give up the real benefits of that set up. If I had specific information that my ID/PWs are seriously at risk, I may re-think it.

I now have 2 factor authentication on almost all of my investment and bank accounts. Set up all applicable alerts. As to credit card, I set up alerts, but bottom line, if a rogue quicken employee takes my credit card information (which I don't think they have) and runs up a $5000 tab at a strip bar I'm not responsible for that.

I'm not sure there is any more danger having the ID's and PW's on their encrypted servers than there is a danger of my home PC being hacked and certain information getting out, or hackers taking over a cell phone, etc.

I've got lots of things in my life I HAVE to worry about. Beyond taking reasonable precautions, I am not going to spend an excessive amount of time worrying about things that are not likely to happen.

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Re: Giving up on Quicken? (and expense tracking software altogether)

Post by michaeljc70 » Fri Nov 03, 2017 3:13 pm

JBTX wrote:
Fri Nov 03, 2017 2:56 pm
SpaethCo wrote:
Fri Nov 03, 2017 10:55 am

JBTX wrote:
Thu Nov 02, 2017 10:12 pm
I've used it 20 years and will continue to do so as long as I can. I have a lot of different accounts - well over 50, in terms of bank, credit card, investment, etc. With quicken tracking them all is pretty easy.
To track that many accounts easily, are you doing one click / express web updating? No concerns about having all your account credentials consolidated on a server run by Quicken that you have no ability to audit?
Yes, one click Express update. Concerns about creditials on their servers? Until I started posting here it never crossed my mind. From what I understand, they are encrypted servers, and I don't think it is as if a quicken and employee or a hacker could go find your ID and password in an open database and go to town. I'm sure there is always a theoretical danger, but in mind it is not near enough for me to give up the real benefits of that set up. If I had specific information that my ID/PWs are seriously at risk, I may re-think it.

I now have 2 factor authentication on almost all of my investment and bank accounts. Set up all applicable alerts. As to credit card, I set up alerts, but bottom line, if a rogue quicken employee takes my credit card information (which I don't think they have) and runs up a $5000 tab at a strip bar I'm not responsible for that.

I'm not sure there is any more danger having the ID's and PW's on their encrypted servers than there is a danger of my home PC being hacked and certain information getting out, or hackers taking over a cell phone, etc.

I've got lots of things in my life I HAVE to worry about. Beyond taking reasonable precautions, I am not going to spend an excessive amount of time worrying about things that are not likely to happen.
I agree. With all the breaches of credit card companies, banks, credit reporting agencies, etc. I am not going to lose sleep over Quicken.

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Re: Giving up on Quicken? (and expense tracking software altogether)

Post by michaeljc70 » Fri Nov 03, 2017 3:14 pm

DaftInvestor wrote:
Fri Nov 03, 2017 10:34 am
michaeljc70 wrote:
Fri Nov 03, 2017 9:50 am
I use it and just bought a newer version. I use downloading of transactions to find fraud and categorize expenses. Yes, I could look at each statement carefully each month and try to remember what I bought 8 times with PayPal or Amazon and potentially find fraud 30 days later. I like getting the transactions on a daily (well, I download probably 5x a week) basis. It takes a mere minute or 2 a day rather than trying to comb over multiple statements with tons of transactions at month end.

I also would miss being able to track expenses. Though I am way closer to retirement than starting out and don't need to watch every penny, I am a fact and figures kind of guy and like to be able to run those reports.

It is also more convenient to pay my bills in Quicken than on my bank's website.

I use it for investment tracking too, but since just about all brokerages track basis now and have decent websites, that is a more minor point to me.

I have some frustration as the product seemed to falter over the years. It was recently sold so maybe that will get better. I bought a new version good for 2 years for $28, so it is not a lot of money.
I don't think very many people wait for monthly paper statements anymore. I log into bank and credit card accounts far more often than monthly. Because I have one primary credit card account and one primary bank account I can quickly see what's happening without the need to download into quicken. If you like tracking expenses - surely - not much can beat Quicken but for fraud detection you are probably better off checking the source.
What if one of your non-primary is fraudulently used? Do you check those all the time?

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Re: Giving up on Quicken? (and expense tracking software altogether)

Post by DaftInvestor » Fri Nov 03, 2017 3:19 pm

michaeljc70 wrote:
Fri Nov 03, 2017 3:14 pm
DaftInvestor wrote:
Fri Nov 03, 2017 10:34 am
michaeljc70 wrote:
Fri Nov 03, 2017 9:50 am
I use it and just bought a newer version. I use downloading of transactions to find fraud and categorize expenses. Yes, I could look at each statement carefully each month and try to remember what I bought 8 times with PayPal or Amazon and potentially find fraud 30 days later. I like getting the transactions on a daily (well, I download probably 5x a week) basis. It takes a mere minute or 2 a day rather than trying to comb over multiple statements with tons of transactions at month end.

I also would miss being able to track expenses. Though I am way closer to retirement than starting out and don't need to watch every penny, I am a fact and figures kind of guy and like to be able to run those reports.

It is also more convenient to pay my bills in Quicken than on my bank's website.

I use it for investment tracking too, but since just about all brokerages track basis now and have decent websites, that is a more minor point to me.

I have some frustration as the product seemed to falter over the years. It was recently sold so maybe that will get better. I bought a new version good for 2 years for $28, so it is not a lot of money.
I don't think very many people wait for monthly paper statements anymore. I log into bank and credit card accounts far more often than monthly. Because I have one primary credit card account and one primary bank account I can quickly see what's happening without the need to download into quicken. If you like tracking expenses - surely - not much can beat Quicken but for fraud detection you are probably better off checking the source.
What if one of your non-primary is fraudulently used? Do you check those all the time?
On the backup credits cards I have sitting in a drawer that I don't use - I have set up email alerts so I'll know right away if they get used (faster than I would have in Quicken).

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Re: Giving up on Quicken? (and expense tracking software altogether)

Post by jebmke » Fri Nov 03, 2017 3:22 pm

I only use Quicken to track the basis of my taxable assets. One of these days I will port this data out of Quicken. Not my highest priority right now. I quit recording everything else a few years ago.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.

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Re: Giving up on Quicken? (and expense tracking software altogether)

Post by SpaethCo » Fri Nov 03, 2017 4:22 pm

JBTX wrote:
Fri Nov 03, 2017 2:56 pm
I'm not sure there is any more danger having the ID's and PW's on their encrypted servers than there is a danger of my home PC being hacked and certain information getting out, or hackers taking over a cell phone, etc.
Even if the passwords are encrypted at rest, Quicken's automated systems have the key to decrypt and use the passwords without your involvement. Take an account that will send you an email / notification when an invalid login attempt is made and change the password without updating Quicken. You'll get an email between midnight and 6am that an invalid login attempt has happened -- that's Quicken's system logging in on your behalf to gather new financial transactions. When Quicken can login successfully, transactions are stored (complete with account numbers) on Quicken's servers until the software on your computer logs in to grab it during a 1 click update.

The risks as I see them:
  1. Quicken is a prime target, because they have credentials for thousands of accounts on their servers.
  2. If those credentials are divulged, besides those specific accounts, you risk leaking any algorithm that you use to generate your account passwords (ie, if you use patterns like SpaethCo@Vanguard2 SpaethCo@ETrade2 SpaethCo@Schwab2 you're going to have a really bad time)
  3. Quicken was recently divested from Intuit, which means they had to setup their own servers. This is a situation where things in IT get missed -- someone forgets about an old server, doesn't keep it patched, and it's not monitored because Intuit no longer cares about Quicken update server health. That server becomes compromised, the old keys were left on the server, now the new server(s) can be exploited. This scenario that shouldn't happen sadly happens over and over again.
You're not thinking big enough when you're imagining people using your credit card for a few illicit purchases. Imagine the damage that could be done if a nefarious organization had control of a couple thousand brokerage accounts. Most bank billpay systems have nicknames for different payment accounts -- how long would it take you to notice if someone changed the payment details behind one of those accounts to siphon money to a different destination?

Trying to regain control of one or two hacked accounts is bad enough, as you've noted in the people who have had their cell phone service swapped. Imagine the stress of trying to regain control of every account you own, because they've all been compromised, all at the same time. That's the opportunity you're creating by aggregating your account IDs together on a high value target like Quicken's update servers.

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Re: Giving up on Quicken? (and expense tracking software altogether)

Post by baconavocado » Fri Nov 03, 2017 5:44 pm

SpaethCo wrote:
Fri Nov 03, 2017 4:22 pm
JBTX wrote:
Fri Nov 03, 2017 2:56 pm
I'm not sure there is any more danger having the ID's and PW's on their encrypted servers than there is a danger of my home PC being hacked and certain information getting out, or hackers taking over a cell phone, etc.
Even if the passwords are encrypted at rest, Quicken's automated systems have the key to decrypt and use the passwords without your involvement. Take an account that will send you an email / notification when an invalid login attempt is made and change the password without updating Quicken. You'll get an email between midnight and 6am that an invalid login attempt has happened -- that's Quicken's system logging in on your behalf to gather new financial transactions. When Quicken can login successfully, transactions are stored (complete with account numbers) on Quicken's servers until the software on your computer logs in to grab it during a 1 click update.

The risks as I see them:
  1. Quicken is a prime target, because they have credentials for thousands of accounts on their servers.
  2. If those credentials are divulged, besides those specific accounts, you risk leaking any algorithm that you use to generate your account passwords (ie, if you use patterns like SpaethCo@Vanguard2 SpaethCo@ETrade2 SpaethCo@Schwab2 you're going to have a really bad time)
  3. Quicken was recently divested from Intuit, which means they had to setup their own servers. This is a situation where things in IT get missed -- someone forgets about an old server, doesn't keep it patched, and it's not monitored because Intuit no longer cares about Quicken update server health. That server becomes compromised, the old keys were left on the server, now the new server(s) can be exploited. This scenario that shouldn't happen sadly happens over and over again.
You're not thinking big enough when you're imagining people using your credit card for a few illicit purchases. Imagine the damage that could be done if a nefarious organization had control of a couple thousand brokerage accounts. Most bank billpay systems have nicknames for different payment accounts -- how long would it take you to notice if someone changed the payment details behind one of those accounts to siphon money to a different destination?

Trying to regain control of one or two hacked accounts is bad enough, as you've noted in the people who have had their cell phone service swapped. Imagine the stress of trying to regain control of every account you own, because they've all been compromised, all at the same time. That's the opportunity you're creating by aggregating your account IDs together on a high value target like Quicken's update servers.
I should be OK in this scenario since I've never used Quicken to log in to any financial institution. I have (very infrequently) downloaded transactions or other data from banks in Quicken format (*.qfx ?) but only so I can import it into Excel.

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Re: Giving up on Quicken? (and expense tracking software altogether)

Post by JBTX » Fri Nov 03, 2017 6:09 pm

SpaethCo wrote:
Fri Nov 03, 2017 4:22 pm
JBTX wrote:
Fri Nov 03, 2017 2:56 pm
I'm not sure there is any more danger having the ID's and PW's on their encrypted servers than there is a danger of my home PC being hacked and certain information getting out, or hackers taking over a cell phone, etc.
Even if the passwords are encrypted at rest, Quicken's automated systems have the key to decrypt and use the passwords without your involvement. Take an account that will send you an email / notification when an invalid login attempt is made and change the password without updating Quicken. You'll get an email between midnight and 6am that an invalid login attempt has happened -- that's Quicken's system logging in on your behalf to gather new financial transactions. When Quicken can login successfully, transactions are stored (complete with account numbers) on Quicken's servers until the software on your computer logs in to grab it during a 1 click update.

The risks as I see them:
  1. Quicken is a prime target, because they have credentials for thousands of accounts on their servers.
But they are encrypted. correct? How can a hacker get encrypted data and make use of it? Sure, anything is possible, but there are probably a lot easier ways to get to people's data more directly. Your bank routing and account numbers are floating around there on paper checks. Social security numbers, bank account numbers and other information are sitting out there unencrypted on some company servers, or maybe your employer, just in a database. All it takes is finding the one outstanding company employee whose personal password is "password" or "123456".
[*] If those credentials are divulged, besides those specific accounts, you risk leaking any algorithm that you use to generate your account passwords (ie, if you use patterns like SpaethCo@Vanguard2 SpaethCo@ETrade2 SpaethCo@Schwab2 you're going to have a really bad time)
1. Again, exactly how are they "divulged"
2. If you use an easily deciperable pattern in passwords, you probably run just as much risk of somebody more easily finding one, or maybe 2, unencrypted password elsewhere and guessing the password pattern
3. Don't use easily decipherable patterns, especially on your banking and investment accounts
4. If you have multi-factor authentification, they still can't do anything, unless they somehow can intercept your 2FA code.
[*] Quicken was recently divested from Intuit, which means they had to setup their own servers. This is a situation where things in IT get missed -- someone forgets about an old server, doesn't keep it patched, and it's not monitored because Intuit no longer cares about Quicken update server health. That server becomes compromised, the old keys were left on the server, now the new server(s) can be exploited. This scenario that shouldn't happen sadly happens over and over again.[/list]
Not going to disagree with this - there may be more risk with a small standalone Quicken than a more established Intuit...or maybe not. Impossible to know for sure.
You're not thinking big enough when you're imagining people using your credit card for a few illicit purchases. Imagine the damage that could be done if a nefarious organization had control of a couple thousand brokerage accounts. Most bank billpay systems have nicknames for different payment accounts -- how long would it take you to notice if someone changed the payment details behind one of those accounts to siphon money to a different destination?
The point is I am mostly concerned with bank and investment accounts. Credit card accounts, not as much.

In terms of billpay, you should have 2FA set up for any bill pay set up or change, as well as an alert for any bill pay set up or change.

I rarely use billpay anyway. Maybe once every month or two, generally for fairly small amounts. I have most everything set up on auto pay, and almost all of that credit card.

Trying to regain control of one or two hacked accounts is bad enough, as you've noted in the people who have had their cell phone service swapped. Imagine the stress of trying to regain control of every account you own, because they've all been compromised, all at the same time. That's the opportunity you're creating by aggregating your account IDs together on a high value target like Quicken's update servers.
I'm not saying the danger is zero. I'm saying it is extremely improbable, and I have enough safeguards (2fa, alerts, etc) in place such that somebody hacking ALL or MOST of my accounts before I find out ANY of it is next to impossible. And again, the banks and investment accounts are most concerning. it would take me five minutes to change my passwords on those and maybe a little bit more time in some cases to change ID.

Working online with computers and servers is not totally risk free. I don't see this as being appreciably different.

SpaethCo
Posts: 46
Joined: Thu Jan 14, 2016 12:58 am

Re: Giving up on Quicken? (and expense tracking software altogether)

Post by SpaethCo » Fri Nov 03, 2017 6:28 pm

JBTX wrote:
Fri Nov 03, 2017 6:09 pm
But they are encrypted. correct?
We have no way to verify, but I'm willing to take their word that the credentials are encrypted at rest.

The important factor is they also have the decryption key -- Quicken servers actively use your cleartext username and password on a nightly basis to gain access to your accounts to process the update. Any program that can dump the memory contents of the update fetch server would yield the master decryption key for all of the data at rest. (that's assuming they didn't embed the decryption key in an even easier to access location) The update fetch server is Internet connected, because it's connecting out to all of your financial institutions to get the updates.

Do you think Equifax didn't have their data encrypted? Encryption only helps if your attacker can't get at the decryption keys as well.

JBTX
Posts: 1664
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Re: Giving up on Quicken? (and expense tracking software altogether)

Post by JBTX » Fri Nov 03, 2017 6:37 pm

SpaethCo wrote:
Fri Nov 03, 2017 6:28 pm
JBTX wrote:
Fri Nov 03, 2017 6:09 pm
But they are encrypted. correct?
We have no way to verify, but I'm willing to take their word that the credentials are encrypted at rest.

The important factor is they also have the decryption key -- Quicken servers actively use your cleartext username and password on a nightly basis to gain access to your accounts to process the update. Any program that can dump the memory contents of the update fetch server would yield the master decryption key for all of the data at rest. (that's assuming they didn't embed the decryption key in an even easier to access location) The update fetch server is Internet connected, because it's connecting out to all of your financial institutions to get the updates.

Do you think Equifax didn't have their data encrypted? Encryption only helps if your attacker can't get at the decryption keys as well.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/equifax-ex ... encrypted/
Equifax ex-CEO: Hacked data wasn't encrypted



Customer data that was compromised during a massive breach of Equifax's (EFX) systems was not encrypted, the company's ex-CEO told a congressional committee Tuesday.

SpaethCo
Posts: 46
Joined: Thu Jan 14, 2016 12:58 am

Re: Giving up on Quicken? (and expense tracking software altogether)

Post by SpaethCo » Fri Nov 03, 2017 7:07 pm

JBTX wrote:
Fri Nov 03, 2017 6:37 pm
Equifax ex-CEO: Hacked data wasn't encrypted
Okay, that's fair, but this is still the important point:
Even if the data were encrypted, however, the application that the hackers exploited would still have had access to it, said Williams. So encryption wouldn't have stopped the hack.
Which is the Quicken scenario - whether the data is encrypted at rest or not, the credentials are used in cleartext form.
JBTX wrote:
Fri Nov 03, 2017 6:09 pm
4. If you have multi-factor authentification, they still can't do anything, unless they somehow can intercept your 2FA code.
Quicken, Mint, Yodlee, and the like have all coordinated with banks to drop 2FA/MFA/cookie requirements for logins originating from their defined addresses. It's how Quicken can still update accounts that otherwise have token codes or validation questions to set a trust cookie.

Now, banks *should* be coding that access to be read-only without any ability to initiate transactions or alter account details. How many of the institutions in Quicken's supported institution list do you suppose are actively doing this? I'd wager it's horrifyingly low.
JBTX wrote:
Fri Nov 03, 2017 6:09 pm
I'm saying it is extremely improbable, and I have enough safeguards (2fa, alerts, etc) in place such that somebody hacking ALL or MOST of my accounts before I find out ANY of it is next to impossible. And again, the banks and investment accounts are most concerning. it would take me five minutes to change my passwords on those and maybe a little bit more time in some cases to change ID.
If they start changing your passwords, it's going to take a lot longer than 5 minutes. That's going to involve starting a password recovery process with each of those institutions, which could have an even longer human-loop portion if they change your email address or other account attributes as well.

When you start tying accounts together (such as having a common email account for multiple bank accounts), things can fall apart quickly. As you've mentioned, the evolution of 2 factor authentication has improved things in recent years, but it's dangerous when you have financial institutions bending on those requirements because people want to use financial aggregators which can't supply that 2nd factor by design.

The worst case scenario is something like this: https://www.wired.com/2012/08/apple-ama ... n-hacking/ (only with your financial institutions instead of just your cloud/email/social media accounts)

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