Benefits of Quicken in 2024, time to set up, and time to manage?

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NYCaviator
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Benefits of Quicken in 2024, time to set up, and time to manage?

Post by NYCaviator »

We have consolidated our finances quite a bit, have no debt other than the mortgage, and use one credit card for 95% of spending.

Is there any benefit to paying for/using Quicken in 2024? I tried it once a couple years ago, but found it to be a hassle to categorize everything, and my credit card already gives you an end of year spending report.

For those that use it, what benefits are you getting?

How much time did you spend setting it up and keeping it updated on an ongoing basis?

How well does it sync with Fidelity?

Are there easy to use reports to show overall savings rate? (I had been manually calculating this with a spreadsheet and got lazy this year)
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MilleniumBuc
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Re: Benefits of Quicken in 2024, time to set up, and time to manage?

Post by MilleniumBuc »

I don’t see a benefit in your situation.

For me I have several checking, savings and investment accounts. I also have 10+ credit cards that I use monthly for different reasons. In addition to a mortgage and car loan, and pre-paid college and 529 accounts.

My main benefit in all that is the “look forward” and knowing the cash flow on all accounts at any time. As for investment time, is about 30 minutes a day, and about an extra hour on pay days since I don’t like automatic payments - already been burned on those (target).
djshackesq
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Re: Benefits of Quicken in 2024, time to set up, and time to manage?

Post by djshackesq »

I'm at a very different place financially from you (separate and joint spending, 4-5 credit cards, lots of monthly bills), and use Quicken as a glorified checkbook register/cash flow tool, so I can ensure we have enough in our accounts to cover bills for the next 1-3 months. It also helps me to verify all credit card charges.

That said, that's it. I don't use it to budget, to review spending, or much of anything else. It's just for the peace of mind that I won't overdraft on a mortgage or daycare payment.
Normchad
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Re: Benefits of Quicken in 2024, time to set up, and time to manage?

Post by Normchad »

I’ve been using it since the 90s. I don’t spend any time setting it up. And maybe 20 minutes per month downloading/updating/reconciling all my accounts.

I’ve been a huge fan of it all my adult life and don’t regret the time or money I’ve spent using it. It’s been worth every penny.

Having said that, I do wonder what real value I get from it anymore. And I resent the subscription model they’ve gone to. This might be the last year I use it.
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RickBoglehead
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Re: Benefits of Quicken in 2024, time to set up, and time to manage?

Post by RickBoglehead »

Normchad wrote: Wed May 15, 2024 8:41 am I’ve been using it since the 90s. I don’t spend any time setting it up. And maybe 20 minutes per month downloading/updating/reconciling all my accounts.

I’ve been a huge fan of it all my adult life and don’t regret the time or money I’ve spent using it. It’s been worth every penny.

Having said that, I do wonder what real value I get from it anymore. And I resent the subscription model they’ve gone to. This might be the last year I use it.
You did in the 90s...
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bombcar
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Re: Benefits of Quicken in 2024, time to set up, and time to manage?

Post by bombcar »

If your outgoes are less than your income, and you do most by credit card already, you have 90% of the useful information Quicken will give you.

The benefit of Quicken and other similar things for many people is showing them where the money is going, so that they can make spending changes.

If you don't need that then it's not terribly worth doing, and you've most of the benefit from it already.

You could spend five minutes in Excel and get the rest (non-credit card payments such as mortgages, utilities, etc).
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RickBoglehead
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Re: Benefits of Quicken in 2024, time to set up, and time to manage?

Post by RickBoglehead »

I have had Quicken since 1996, so this is year 29. It is a solid tool, but has limitations. You should not buy it. Why?

"found it to be a hassle to categorize everything"

That's one of its main purposes...

Every account has to be setup. For a provider, like Fidelity, you provide the logon details and every account is downloaded.

I have never had a budget, and do not use Quicken for a budget. I tried setting up one as we went into retirement and found it not worth the effort. I use Quicken to categorize EVERYTHING. That includes cash spending. Each year my unaccounted for spending, which is loss/gain, is usually under $10.

Each weekend, I spend about a half hour or so updating, and then keying in cash receipts (if any), and then updating a spreadsheet where I track a handful of numbers. Quicken lacks the ability to make very customized reporting.

Each month I use Quicken to reconcile credit card and banking statements as they occur, and then setup a transfer from Vanguard Cash Plus to the credit card (which is happening automatically). When I get to the last weekend of the month, I open a spreadsheet which shows Transfers to pay bills, by month, because my wife won't use Quicken and if I'm gone needs to know how to cover bills. All those transfers are put into that spreadsheet, which then totals and shows the upcoming amount needed for next month. Check the CashPlus balance, setup a day to sell the Money Market amount to cover the bills, and it's done for that month. She can convert to 4 times a year if she wants, or annually, or whatever.

Another issue with it is if you have a mortgage, it categorizes the interest as an expense, and the principal merely reduces the loan. So, when you pull that report of how much you spent, you're light by the principal. Yet you need that money to pay your bills. Can't add it to the expense report...

I started with ledger paper in college. Then moved to Lotus 1-2-3. Then Managing Your Money by Andrew Tobias, then Microsoft Money (or maybe the other way around), then Quicken. Tracking expenses allowed me early in my career to know what we spent, and where, and allowed me at a point (1994) to know that I was now making more money than we'd ever spend, and could aggressively invest / save for retirement, vs. just an annual IRA. Many people have no clue how much they spend each year or how much they need to live on. I have an exact number.

In my working days, I imported Quicken into TurboTax. I don't do that any longer, but I do run reports to do my taxes to verify it all matches.

I despise the subscriber model they now have. Every 2 years, I buy it on sale with a coupon from an office supply store, update, then store the 2nd copy I bought until the 6 month window comes (before expiration), then update it again. Works out to $30 or so a year, sometimes less. If you don't update, you can't download or import. I have accounts at 2 banks, Vanguard, and about a dozen credit cards, plus a half dozen gift cards (great for tracking balances).

Using Quicken's data, I setup a spreadsheet years before retiring showing starting balance, medical expenses (insurance and copays), property taxes, income taxes, and then everything else. I forecasted our balances in taxable and retirement until age 95. Then I can do whatif scenarios. What if we spend $1million cash on a house next year, do we go negative at some point? What if we move somewhere and property taxes become 1/3 of today's number?

Quicken doesn't have reporting to do that in that manner, but it has the data.

I will say that over the years some data got corrupted. That's disappointing.
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stan1
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Re: Benefits of Quicken in 2024, time to set up, and time to manage?

Post by stan1 »

I use Vanguard, Fidelity, a credit union, Chase, Cap One, and Bank of America so it helps to have everything in one place. Each has multiple types of accounts. That's the benefit. I also use

I have used it for over 25 years so I can't really say how much effort it is to set it up. You can customize just about everything including categories, scheduled transactions, account preferences, and reports. There is a learning curve to do more customization that I think some people aren't willing to do. Categorization is done by vendor name, so set up your categories that way to begin with. You can decide whether you want Starbucks to be Dining or Coffee. You can also make Coffee a subcategory of Dining if you want.

After setting it up and being proficient with the software I spend 3-5 minutes per day most days, maybe 10-15 minutes a few days per month when something more complicated comes in. For example, my local utility provides both electric and gas service. I break those out which means looking through the bill every month. I could make the decision to categorize "Electric and Gas" as one.

One big decision is how you want to handle vendors like Amazon and Costco where you might buy groceries, clothing, cleaning supplies, or even pharmacy. Only you know that, so you have to decide what level of detail you want or need to keep. If you spend $200 at Costco and want to break it into $50 pet food, $25 chicken, $50 wine, $25 clothing, $50 cleaning supplies then that will be more work you have to keep track of mentally (or entering data off a receipt). I don't do that. I do identify items in the memo field like "iPhone 14 Pro" or "Brooks Adrenaline 23". That helps me remember how old the phone is and how long I've been using the shoes. If I bought everything at Amazon I could search their order history, but I don't buy everything at Amazon.

My data has never been corrupted. I have made data entry errors I've had to track down and correct. I understand that companies don't stay in business by selling $50 software one time with people using it forever.
Last edited by stan1 on Wed May 15, 2024 9:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
Marathon Man
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Re: Benefits of Quicken in 2024, time to set up, and time to manage?

Post by Marathon Man »

NYCaviator wrote: Wed May 15, 2024 8:25 am We have consolidated our finances quite a bit, have no debt other than the mortgage, and use one credit card for 95% of spending.

Is there any benefit to paying for/using Quicken in 2024? I tried it once a couple years ago, but found it to be a hassle to categorize everything, and my credit card already gives you an end of year spending report.

For those that use it, what benefits are you getting?

How much time did you spend setting it up and keeping it updated on an ongoing basis?

How well does it sync with Fidelity?

Are there easy to use reports to show overall savings rate? (I had been manually calculating this with a spreadsheet and got lazy this year)
I've used for years. I like the historical data to compare spending from year to year. The reports are helpful. The biggest effort is uploading and categorizing monthly credit card, but gives me peace of mind knowing exactly where all my money goes. The annual cost is not much for the peace it provides me.
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Re: Benefits of Quicken in 2024, time to set up, and time to manage?

Post by bombcar »

stan1 wrote: Wed May 15, 2024 9:01 amIf you spend $200 at Costco and want to break it into $50 pet food, $25 chicken, $50 wine, $25 clothing, $50 cleaning supplies then that will be more work you have to keep track of mentally (or entering data off a receipt).
If you only have a few categories to track at a store, you can just ring up separate purchases so they show up as two different charges. Splitting is fine anytime, but if you're splitting more than two or three I'd try to be polite and do it when there's nobody behind me in line.

I often do it for business/personal.

And the cost with this stuff isn't the Quicken license (you can use an old copy of something for free if you really want, maybe) - it's the time.
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Re: Benefits of Quicken in 2024, time to set up, and time to manage?

Post by Normchad »

RickBoglehead wrote: Wed May 15, 2024 8:43 am
Normchad wrote: Wed May 15, 2024 8:41 am I’ve been using it since the 90s. I don’t spend any time setting it up. And maybe 20 minutes per month downloading/updating/reconciling all my accounts.

I’ve been a huge fan of it all my adult life and don’t regret the time or money I’ve spent using it. It’s been worth every penny.

Having said that, I do wonder what real value I get from it anymore. And I resent the subscription model they’ve gone to. This might be the last year I use it.
You did in the 90s...
Yes I did! It’s hard to quantify though. It’s more of an ongoing maintenance thing though. I’ve never spent more than an hour on it. But I spend 20 minutes here and there with things like setting up new accounts, or debugging/fixing download issues. It’s never a lot of time all at once. But it’s not a total “set it and forget it” either. I switched from the windows version to the Mac version a few years ago. That was surprisingly easy, but it wasn’t “zero time”.

It was easy enough for me. I track all transactions in all accounts and categorize almost everything. Every credit card transaction is in there. But I stop short of being able to show every dollar that went into my 401k, for example. My provider didn’t make that easy……

And there are some accounts that don’t make downloading the transactions easy either, and that (for me) sort of erodes the overall utility. For me, the target card, and Amazon purchases don’t have a ton of fidelity……. They could, but it’s enough of a hassle that I just don’t bother.

For me, the real value to quicken was greater insight into what I was actually spending. I had no ideas how big some of my “spending leaks” were. So that was huge, and I’ve read for others that they had the same experience.

Here’s a specific recent example of its usefulness. I sold my home, and the listing agent wanted to put together a list of all the money and improvements I made to the house.

It was easy to pull out of quicken, even though it was a dozen different vendors, across credit card and checking accounts. And I’d forgotten about some of these. All in all, it gave me 20 different vendors and projects over the course of 14 years, totally about $85 K. Had I recreated it from memory, I’d only have come up 50k. And it also gave the I formation needed to show the list if ages for the roof, kitchen appliances, when the exterior had been painted, etc.

Sure, you could do all this without quicken. But with quicken, it was a ten minute job.
Last edited by Normchad on Wed May 15, 2024 9:21 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Benefits of Quicken in 2024, time to set up, and time to manage?

Post by lthenderson »

NYCaviator wrote: Wed May 15, 2024 8:25 am ...use one credit card for 95% of spending.

...I tried it once a couple years ago, but found it to be a hassle to categorize everything, and my credit card already gives you an end of year spending report.

...(I had been manually calculating this with a spreadsheet and got lazy this year)
I tried Quicken for a few years but gave up a long time ago for the same reasons you mentioned. It was a hassle to categorize everything and at the end of the day, none of the information it gave me was meaningful. I didn't care what I spent. I only cared what I saved and how that pertained to my retirement. So I started a spreadsheet that once a month, I input the balance of all my asset accounts. Takes me about 10 minutes, mostly spent logging into a half dozen sites/accounts. I have a graph that shows me how I'm trending towards my retirement, a point I surpassed many years ago and that was all I really cared about. The only reason I keep up the spreadsheet now is to give me a number of how much money I am going to have to leave behind for the next generation and charities after I'm gone.
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Re: Benefits of Quicken in 2024, time to set up, and time to manage?

Post by stan1 »

bombcar wrote: Wed May 15, 2024 9:04 am
stan1 wrote: Wed May 15, 2024 9:01 amIf you spend $200 at Costco and want to break it into $50 pet food, $25 chicken, $50 wine, $25 clothing, $50 cleaning supplies then that will be more work you have to keep track of mentally (or entering data off a receipt).
If you only have a few categories to track at a store, you can just ring up separate purchases so they show up as two different charges. Splitting is fine anytime, but if you're splitting more than two or three I'd try to be polite and do it when there's nobody behind me in line.
Good point, I often do that with Amazon (buy one item at a time).
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Re: Benefits of Quicken in 2024, time to set up, and time to manage?

Post by RickBoglehead »

stan1 wrote: Wed May 15, 2024 9:01 am I understand that companies don't stay in business by selling $50 software one time with people using it forever.
The old model required you to buy a new copy every few years (3 or 4 as I recall). Now it's annually.
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stan1
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Re: Benefits of Quicken in 2024, time to set up, and time to manage?

Post by stan1 »

For saving you have to decide what that means to you. There probably isn't a universal definition. When I was working it meant transfers from spending accounts to investment accounts (taxable, IRA, 401K). I created a Tag called "Investing" and identified all transfers into investing accounts that way. Then I created a custom report build on the Investing tag. It worked fine.
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Re: Benefits of Quicken in 2024, time to set up, and time to manage?

Post by stan1 »

RickBoglehead wrote: Wed May 15, 2024 9:10 am
stan1 wrote: Wed May 15, 2024 9:01 am I understand that companies don't stay in business by selling $50 software one time with people using it forever.
The old model required you to buy a new copy every few years (3 or 4 as I recall). Now it's annually.
Some people were using it longer with the loss of downloaded transactions. There probably are still a few people on the forum doing that.
Normchad
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Re: Benefits of Quicken in 2024, time to set up, and time to manage?

Post by Normchad »

stan1 wrote: Wed May 15, 2024 9:12 am
RickBoglehead wrote: Wed May 15, 2024 9:10 am
stan1 wrote: Wed May 15, 2024 9:01 am I understand that companies don't stay in business by selling $50 software one time with people using it forever.
The old model required you to buy a new copy every few years (3 or 4 as I recall). Now it's annually.
Some people were using it longer with the loss of downloaded transactions. There probably are still a few people on the forum doing that.
And a lot of people never did downloads anyway. I didn’t use the download feature for the first 12 years or so. I preferred to enter all my transactions manually. (I’ve since smarted up).

As for categorizing everything, it’s not bad at all. After about a month, it memorizes everything and auto categorizes most things correctly. Walmart, Amazon, target still need some time if you want to be super detailed. But by default, quicken knows that PG&E should be categorized as your electric utility, etc. Chipotle is restaurants. United is Air Travel. Then you can change them if you don’t like them.
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Re: Benefits of Quicken in 2024, time to set up, and time to manage?

Post by cjcerny »

Normchad wrote: Wed May 15, 2024 8:41 am I’ve been using it since the 90s. I don’t spend any time setting it up. And maybe 20 minutes per month downloading/updating/reconciling all my accounts.

I’ve been a huge fan of it all my adult life and don’t regret the time or money I’ve spent using it. It’s been worth every penny.

Having said that, I do wonder what real value I get from it anymore. And I resent the subscription model they’ve gone to. This might be the last year I use it.
I was a Quicken junkie for about 25 years. It saved my bacon more than once early on when I was struggling to make ends meet. 2 years ago, I walked away, cold turkey, when I realized that the only value it ever had to me was making sure I timed all my payments correctly so I wasn't bouncing checks and the like. I still have a yearly budget spreadsheet that I update once or twice a year and Quicken definitely helped me figure out what I spend on what, but I don't need it any more now that the checkbook is fat and the financial worries mostly non-existent.
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Re: Benefits of Quicken in 2024, time to set up, and time to manage?

Post by Normchad »

cjcerny wrote: Wed May 15, 2024 9:16 am
Normchad wrote: Wed May 15, 2024 8:41 am I’ve been using it since the 90s. I don’t spend any time setting it up. And maybe 20 minutes per month downloading/updating/reconciling all my accounts.

I’ve been a huge fan of it all my adult life and don’t regret the time or money I’ve spent using it. It’s been worth every penny.

Having said that, I do wonder what real value I get from it anymore. And I resent the subscription model they’ve gone to. This might be the last year I use it.
I was a Quicken junkie for about 25 years. It saved my bacon more than once early on when I was struggling to make ends meet. 2 years ago, I walked away, cold turkey, when I realized that the only value it ever had to me was making sure I timed all my payments correctly so I wasn't bouncing checks and the like. I still have a yearly budget spreadsheet that I update once or twice a year and Quicken definitely helped me figure out what I spend on what, but I don't need it any more now that the checkbook is fat and the financial worries mostly non-existent.
“Junkie” might be the right word here. That’s probably me. I can tell you exactly how much I spent on postage stamps in 1996. Nobody will ever ask for that. But after all these years, it’s. A tough habit to break. I’m getting close though…..
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Re: Benefits of Quicken in 2024, time to set up, and time to manage?

Post by scifilover »

Just my opinion, I think the longer the use the greater the value. One example; my son, who may help me when I a bit older suggested I think about figuring out the taxable basis in the home we have had for 45 years. Without Quicken it would have been impossible. Can you imagine trying to go through 45 years of receipts, or credit card statements?

And, what about those old investments from before the broker retained and reported the cost basis? I mean, who has those old statements or confirmations?

One more example; wife recently asked me when bought and how much we paid for a particular thing. I was easily able to search through the payees and find the date and amount we paid in 2006.

As far as the cost is concerned, for many of those on this forum, the amount is an example of the term De minimus......De minimis is a Latin expression meaning "pertaining to minimal things" or "with trifles", normally in the terms de minimis non curat praetor ("The praetor does not concern himself with trifles") or de minimis non curat lex ("The law does not concern itself with trifles").

Being able to document over $100k of improvements to my home will be worth $20k in tax savings should we need to sell. What is the value of than compared to my total costs for 30 years of Quicken.
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Re: Benefits of Quicken in 2024, time to set up, and time to manage?

Post by kinless »

RickBoglehead wrote: Wed May 15, 2024 9:00 am I have had Quicken since 1996, so this is year 29. It is a solid tool, but has limitations. You should not buy it. Why?

"found it to be a hassle to categorize everything"

That's one of its main purposes...

Every account has to be setup. For a provider, like Fidelity, you provide the logon details and every account is downloaded.

I have never had a budget, and do not use Quicken for a budget. I tried setting up one as we went into retirement and found it not worth the effort. I use Quicken to categorize EVERYTHING. That includes cash spending. Each year my unaccounted for spending, which is loss/gain, is usually under $10.

[snip]
I’m in good company! Been using Quicken since 1994 so have nearly 30 years of data. However I’m still suffering with Quicken 2007 for Mac in a virtual machine, trying to put off the subscription as long as possible. But I plan on upgrading in the next year and will have to leave it behind for today’s software.

My question is, can you still input transactions manually? I’m way too OCD with consistencies and don’t care for the fluff in the institution’s descriptions (at least the ones I see when using Empower). Plus sometimes for brevity I combine certain transactions and use Split for others, so it would be annoying to have to constantly clean this up.
stan1
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Re: Benefits of Quicken in 2024, time to set up, and time to manage?

Post by stan1 »

kinless wrote: Wed May 15, 2024 10:16 am
My question is, can you still input transactions manually? I’m way too OCD with consistencies and don’t care for the fluff in the institution’s descriptions (at least the ones I see when using Empower). Plus sometimes for brevity I combine certain transactions and use Split for others, so it would be annoying to have to constantly clean this up.
Of course, you can manually accept downloaded transactions and delete the downloaded transaction if you don't like it or delete anything that you don't want that populates into the transaction entry. You can accept the downloaded transaction and edit the category, tag, or memo fields if you want. You are responsible for your data quality and deciding what level of accuracy you would like to maintain.

If the transactions download from a credit card or bank account I would see no reason to combine them (such as $25 at Amazon and $30 at Amazon entered once as $55 at Amazon). I don't use cash any more but I used to have a category called "cash" and I didn't make an effort to track much else beyond that.
Lastrun
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Re: Benefits of Quicken in 2024, time to set up, and time to manage?

Post by Lastrun »

kinless wrote: Wed May 15, 2024 10:16 am My question is, can you still input transactions manually? I’m way too OCD with consistencies and don’t care for the fluff in the institution’s descriptions (at least the ones I see when using Empower). Plus sometimes for brevity I combine certain transactions and use Split for others, so it would be annoying to have to constantly clean this up.
Yes, I am using the latest Quicken for Mac subscription version and input manually. Takes me about an hour a month to pay bills, move money around, input my data into Quicken, and reconcile.

I am sympathetic to both sides here. But an anecdote, I needed to make a graduation gift to a niece and the question came up about how much we gave the nephew a few years back. Took all of 30 seconds to find it. Also helpful at tax time making sure no charitable deductions are missed.

But I think the biggest thing I can say to everyone as a recent retiree, is that retirement, the decision to retire, etc. is all about expenses, and having several years of Quicken data was really helpful in looking at the retirement budget, minimum income floors required, planning expenses in retirement software, etc.

Of course, you can do this with other programs, and even a spreadsheet. But it is a good idea to have something.
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Re: Benefits of Quicken in 2024, time to set up, and time to manage?

Post by bombcar »

Normchad wrote: Wed May 15, 2024 9:24 am “Junkie” might be the right word here. That’s probably me. I can tell you exactly how much I spent on postage stamps in 1996. Nobody will ever ask for that. But after all these years, it’s. A tough habit to break. I’m getting close though…..
Maybe you could do a post on comparing the value of investing vs buying USPS forever stamps ... :D
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Re: Benefits of Quicken in 2024, time to set up, and time to manage?

Post by jebmke »

Normchad wrote: Wed May 15, 2024 9:24 am
cjcerny wrote: Wed May 15, 2024 9:16 am
Normchad wrote: Wed May 15, 2024 8:41 am I’ve been using it since the 90s. I don’t spend any time setting it up. And maybe 20 minutes per month downloading/updating/reconciling all my accounts.

I’ve been a huge fan of it all my adult life and don’t regret the time or money I’ve spent using it. It’s been worth every penny.

Having said that, I do wonder what real value I get from it anymore. And I resent the subscription model they’ve gone to. This might be the last year I use it.
I was a Quicken junkie for about 25 years. It saved my bacon more than once early on when I was struggling to make ends meet. 2 years ago, I walked away, cold turkey, when I realized that the only value it ever had to me was making sure I timed all my payments correctly so I wasn't bouncing checks and the like. I still have a yearly budget spreadsheet that I update once or twice a year and Quicken definitely helped me figure out what I spend on what, but I don't need it any more now that the checkbook is fat and the financial worries mostly non-existent.
“Junkie” might be the right word here. That’s probably me. I can tell you exactly how much I spent on postage stamps in 1996. Nobody will ever ask for that. But after all these years, it’s. A tough habit to break. I’m getting close though…..
many years ago, my employer had management reporting that had many accounts for spending - dozens. At one point I was tasked by the Chairman and CFO on how to rationalize a lot of administrative costs world-wide (at the time, I think it was a $2-3 billion company). After some interviews and reviewing management decisions we reduced the whole thing down to 10 key accounts. Later I convinced them to stop forecasting entirely which was personal goal. For a while we had a lot of people with nothing to do but eventually they found other things to do -- of course, in the end, we reduced headcount quite a bit through attrition.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.
DetroitRick
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Re: Benefits of Quicken in 2024, time to set up, and time to manage?

Post by DetroitRick »

It's worth it to you, given what you said, may be small. Especially if the results don't influence your actual financial management.

But, I've found significant value over the years. It helps me to spend purposefully, it helps with cash flow planning, it reminds when things are due, and helps me evaluate investments. Indirectly, it feeds my tax planning. It now takes little time to maintain.

Setup was too long ago for me to have a meaningful opinion. Software-wise it is pretty easy. But it takes some thought as to how to best set it up to work for YOU. For example, you can either get carried away with expense categorization detail or you keep things so aggregated that it doesn't really tell you much. That type of thought and planning, to find that balance, is where much of the setup time would be. And of course, whatever you decide, you can change later. Linking accounts themselves, for downloads, is fast and easy.

Maintenance time is negligible for us. Everything is online and downloaded automatically. Many bills are set to post into registers automatically. Which leaves categorization and very little other data input. For us, that process mainly involves splitting retail store receipts and categorizing Amazon-type purchases. I'm guessing we collectively spend maybe 20 minutes per month. Could be zero, could be hours, depending on how meaningful certain detail is. The fact that your current credit card summary tells you what you need will give you guidance in Quicken, should you go that route.

The subscription model appears to me to have decreased certain types of issues. Everybody is on the same platform version and issues really seem to get solved quicker than before. Issues mainly involve temporary connectivity problems and a rare crash, plus a few other glitches that I can safely wait out. Really the only type of maintenance I ever have to do is an occasional file validation/repair and backups (some of which are set up as automatic anyway). A few clicks per month.

Can't speak to Fidelity, but the Schwab linkage is accurate, reliable and extremely helpful in our investment management. As with many accounts, linkage to Quicken first requires a quick authorization on the Schwab website. Same with Amex and many banks.

As an early retiree, the greatest benefit I got with Quicken was understanding where the money has gone and would go. Sparing me surprises. During working years, with highly variable income, the same was true. Plus, with a more complex portfolio, I appreciate that set of Quicken tools and its role in decision making. But ultimately it depends on what you need so that benefit offsets cost (time and subscription).
miket29
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Re: Benefits of Quicken in 2024, time to set up, and time to manage?

Post by miket29 »

Given what you said it may not be of great use to you. I've been using it for many years and have found it helpful in figuring out where I spend money. I especially like the reports where I can ask "how much did I spend on?" for a category. I've set up a budget as well but find it kinda clunky. As for downloads, Vanguard and Fidelity integrate seamlessly and it pulls the data.

From my experience the temptation at the start is to use too many categories. So my advice if you try it again is to think of it as an iterative process that will take a few months to get to where you want it. Start with perhaps 7-10 categories and use that for 2 months. Then run some reports, look at your data, figure out where you might want more specificity and add sub-categories. For example I had a category Subscriptions and it was a good amount each month so I added Newspapers and TV underneath it.
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Toons
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Re: Benefits of Quicken in 2024, time to set up, and time to manage?

Post by Toons »

User since 1993.
Investing
Taxes
download data
Capital gains estimator for sale of securities
And many more features
:happy
"One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity" –Bruce Lee
stan1
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Re: Benefits of Quicken in 2024, time to set up, and time to manage?

Post by stan1 »

One of the first things I recommend doing in Quicken is looking at your expenses and learning how to customize the categories. There are dozens you will likely never need, and others you will want to add. For Pet Care do you want to break that down to food, grooming, pet sitter, and vet? Those are the types of choices you'd want to make based off what expenses you have. Maybe you care; maybe you don't care; maybe you want to know; maybe you don't want to know.
mtnlover
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Re: Benefits of Quicken in 2024, time to set up, and time to manage?

Post by mtnlover »

I've been using Quicken for decades -- since before the advent of "covered shares". I can (and have) print out a record of every investment I have ever made, including auto reinvestments, so I have a record of the basis of every lot I have purchased in my taxable account. There is some time required to set it up, but at tax time I can create reports on any category: charitable, property tax, local tax, health expenses etc.

I use it to balance my accounts monthly (old school that way). Doing so keeps me in touch with my cash flow, spending, etc. Before retirement I used to be more meticulous about categorizing every dime spent; now I have a big category called misc that holds all the daily expenses that have no tax impact or which I don't care about tracking. I don't use any budgeting or forecasting features.

I do not give Quicken the ability to download from my accounts. I'm unwilling to risk cyber security of my finances. I'm annoyed by the annual fee, but it's negligible in the long run to me. YMMV

If you are whiz with a spreadsheet, you probably don't need it.
Paradoxical Stoat
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Re: Benefits of Quicken in 2024, time to set up, and time to manage?

Post by Paradoxical Stoat »

Like others above, I have about 30 years of Quicken data (I currently use the Windows version with Parallels on my Mac). The setup has been incremental over the years, as I changed the way I was accounting for certain things and added new types of accounts, recategorized transactions, began using tags, etc.

So while it takes a while to set up and learn the “science” of the Quicken, the “art” of Quicken is never fully mastered. How to handle minor file corruptions, inconsistent calculations, weird error messages, etc. etc. is a never-ending challenge.
JBTX
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Re: Benefits of Quicken in 2024, time to set up, and time to manage?

Post by JBTX »

NYCaviator wrote: Wed May 15, 2024 8:25 am We have consolidated our finances quite a bit, have no debt other than the mortgage, and use one credit card for 95% of spending.

Is there any benefit to paying for/using Quicken in 2024? I tried it once a couple years ago, but found it to be a hassle to categorize everything, and my credit card already gives you an end of year spending report.

For those that use it, what benefits are you getting?

How much time did you spend setting it up and keeping it updated on an ongoing basis?

How well does it sync with Fidelity?

Are there easy to use reports to show overall savings rate? (I had been manually calculating this with a spreadsheet and got lazy this year)
If you found it a hassle 2 years ago nothing has really changed. I’ve used it 25 years, but we have lots of different expenses, I use it to track and itemize medical expenses, keep track of a dozen or more ongoing credit cards, multiple bank accounts and multiple investment accounts. I just used an annual report of expenses to work on my long term financial plan. I probably spend 30min to an hour each week, between downloading, updating and occasionally tweaking something to get it correct.
WhyNotUs
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Re: Benefits of Quicken in 2024, time to set up, and time to manage?

Post by WhyNotUs »

Another user since the 90's. I also find the subscription model to be a bit of a prison after all of these years. Once you establish payees and their categories, Quicken will autofill the categories. I set mine up for spending only rather than investment accounts. I have Quicken update once or twice a month, usually when I am wondering about something.

In the past, I have used it for tracking personal and business spending and it has helped save time during tax prep. I also use it to track spending categories through the summary reports and year to year comparisons.

In the future, I will use it for cash flow as I go into retirement, to know when I need to make withdrawals and plan accordingly.

Having the info available when I have a question rather than when my cc company provides it has some value for me.
I own the next hot stock- VTSAX
Hebell
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Re: Benefits of Quicken in 2024, time to set up, and time to manage?

Post by Hebell »

I use it for the ROI features in the Investing ->Portfolio view. Unlike Morningstar showing gains only, with Quicken you will get the true return on investment over 3 months, one year, or 3 year periods. This is because it has knowledge of your dividends, as well as purchases and securities that you redeemed on a specific date.

That's worth its weight in gold.

I also use the portfolio view to sort my bonds by maturation date. I have a bucket load of TIPS, I bonds, nominal bonds, and defined maturity bond etfs, which all mature in December of a given year.
ahc19081
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Re: Benefits of Quicken in 2024, time to set up, and time to manage?

Post by ahc19081 »

Hebell wrote: Wed May 15, 2024 4:10 pm I use it for the ROI features in the Investing ->Portfolio view. Unlike Morningstar showing gains only, with Quicken you will get the true return on investment over 3 months, one year, or 3 year periods. This is because it has knowledge of your dividends, as well as purchases and securities that you redeemed on a specific date.

That's worth its weight in gold.

I also use the portfolio view to sort my bonds by maturation date. I have a bucket load of TIPS, I bonds, nominal bonds, and defined maturity bond etfs, which all mature in December of a given year.
To add some precision to the above, Quicken will report not only ROI but IRR for a single account or aggregated across many accounts. That is much tougher to calculate and is a very useful benchmark for me.

Quicken is only useful if you want highly granular detail about a lot of kinds of accounts. I do and I'm thrilled with the direction and pace of improvement under the new ownership and leadership team.
Hebell
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Re: Benefits of Quicken in 2024, time to set up, and time to manage?

Post by Hebell »

ahc19081 wrote: Wed May 15, 2024 4:19 pm
Hebell wrote: Wed May 15, 2024 4:10 pm I use it for the ROI features in the Investing ->Portfolio view. Unlike Morningstar showing gains only, with Quicken you will get the true return on investment over 3 months, one year, or 3 year periods. This is because it has knowledge of your dividends, as well as purchases and securities that you redeemed on a specific date.

That's worth its weight in gold.

I also use the portfolio view to sort my bonds by maturation date. I have a bucket load of TIPS, I bonds, nominal bonds, and defined maturity bond etfs, which all mature in December of a given year.
To add some precision to the above, Quicken will report not only ROI but IRR for a single account or aggregated across many accounts. That is much tougher to calculate and is a very useful benchmark for me.

Quicken is only useful if you want highly granular detail about a lot of kinds of accounts. I do and I'm thrilled with the direction and pace of improvement under the new ownership and leadership team.
And to add to ahc's comment, there is also a little used parameter called security type which you can customize. So in addition to cash, I have money markets and cash like instruments including MYGAs, nominal bonds, inflation-protective bonds, blended funds, equity funds, REITS, and precious metals as types. That way I can sort my portfolio from lowest risk to highest risk.
gotoparks
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Re: Benefits of Quicken in 2024, time to set up, and time to manage?

Post by gotoparks »

I started using Quicken about one year ago. I have to put in a lot of adjustments because it gets the dollar amounts on my accounts wrong. I used to just keep track of things in my head and look up my accounts all the time. I don't do that as much because I can look on Quicken but I still log in to some accounts when I think Quicken is off. It is not much use to me but it is only like 45 bucks so I can handle it.
Not Law
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Re: Benefits of Quicken in 2024, time to set up, and time to manage?

Post by Not Law »

I updated Quicken every three years from the 90's until 2017, when it went to subscription. I decided I did not need the downloads and other fancy stuff, and just kept using 2014 until I replaced my computer in 2020. My most recent Quicken CD was from 2011 (2014 had been downloaded), so I installed that and have used 2011 as a check register and for payment planning. I still have the retired computer if I need to reference something from the past. I went from detailed record keeping in the 90's to broad generalities - my biggest expenditure category each month is "credit cards"
stan1
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Re: Benefits of Quicken in 2024, time to set up, and time to manage?

Post by stan1 »

gotoparks wrote: Wed May 15, 2024 4:28 pm I have to put in a lot of adjustments because it gets the dollar amounts on my accounts wrong.
Could you give us an example of this situation? Are you downloading transactions? I think most of us who have used the software for decades will likely say that's not common but what data each financial institution makes available for download is up to them not Quicken. It is possible your bank isn't passing all the transaction data down. You can search for your bank on the Quicken support forum to see if there are any tips.
gotoparks
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Re: Benefits of Quicken in 2024, time to set up, and time to manage?

Post by gotoparks »

stan1 wrote: Wed May 15, 2024 8:43 pm
gotoparks wrote: Wed May 15, 2024 4:28 pm I have to put in a lot of adjustments because it gets the dollar amounts on my accounts wrong.
Could you give us an example of this situation? Are you downloading transactions? I think most of us who have used the software for decades will likely say that's not common but what data each financial institution makes available for download is up to them not Quicken. It is possible your bank isn't passing all the transaction data down. You can search for your bank on the Quicken support forum to see if there are any tips.
It happens with my credit union. Navy Federal. It might be something that Quicken is not getting the info. I don't know. I've also had it happen on credit cards. I was trying to figure out which transaction wasn't included but now I will put in an adjustment. I have it labeled as an adjustment so I can see if I look at the transactions. I don't use Quicken that extensively like running reports or pay bills, so it is just a way to look at my accounts at one time without logging in to each. I also have more of an idea of my net worth which I used to run a quick calculation once a year to get a ballpark. Quicken is more detailed.

Edit- I looked at one Navy Federal credit card 3 month history and there is an adjustment for 1649.61. I don't know where that is coming from because I didn't have a charge for that amount. I just balanced it out with the adjustment.
stan1
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Re: Benefits of Quicken in 2024, time to set up, and time to manage?

Post by stan1 »

gotoparks wrote: Wed May 15, 2024 9:27 pm It happens with my credit union. Navy Federal. It might be something that Quicken is not getting the info. I don't know. I've also had it happen on credit cards. I was trying to figure out which transaction wasn't included but now I will put in an adjustment. I have it labeled as an adjustment so I can see if I look at the transactions. I don't use Quicken that extensively like running reports or pay bills, so it is just a way to look at my accounts at one time without logging in to each. I also have more of an idea of my net worth which I used to run a quick calculation once a year to get a ballpark. Quicken is more detailed.

Edit- I looked at one Navy Federal credit card 3 month history and there is an adjustment for 1649.61. I don't know where that is coming from because I didn't have a charge for that amount. I just balanced it out with the adjustment.
I download transactions from Navy Federal, never had a need for manual adjustments but I do have to watch how transfers between accounts are entered in Quicken. I wonder if that might be it (e.g. payment of credit card bill, transfer from checking to savings to money market, buying a CD).
gotoparks
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Re: Benefits of Quicken in 2024, time to set up, and time to manage?

Post by gotoparks »

stan1 wrote: Thu May 16, 2024 7:48 am
gotoparks wrote: Wed May 15, 2024 9:27 pm It happens with my credit union. Navy Federal. It might be something that Quicken is not getting the info. I don't know. I've also had it happen on credit cards. I was trying to figure out which transaction wasn't included but now I will put in an adjustment. I have it labeled as an adjustment so I can see if I look at the transactions. I don't use Quicken that extensively like running reports or pay bills, so it is just a way to look at my accounts at one time without logging in to each. I also have more of an idea of my net worth which I used to run a quick calculation once a year to get a ballpark. Quicken is more detailed.

Edit- I looked at one Navy Federal credit card 3 month history and there is an adjustment for 1649.61. I don't know where that is coming from because I didn't have a charge for that amount. I just balanced it out with the adjustment.
I download transactions from Navy Federal, never had a need for manual adjustments but I do have to watch how transfers between accounts are entered in Quicken. I wonder if that might be it (e.g. payment of credit card bill, transfer from checking to savings to money market, buying a CD).
It could be. NFCU transfers money from checking to pay my NFCU credit cards. I have two with them. I don't usually use my savings but for the past few months, I used it to store money that was going to be used soon. I transferred between savings and checking for that. I spent the money so I am done transferring. The transfers might be the problem, I will look closer at them. I will try to narrow this issue down to Navy Federal. I have about six credit cards with a few different banks and credit unions. I use PenFed credit cards a lot also so will keep an eye on those. I have two with them. I also transfer money to Vanguard, Fidelity and a couple of HYSA so I do my share of transfers.

Thanks for your suggestion and help.
stan1
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Re: Benefits of Quicken in 2024, time to set up, and time to manage?

Post by stan1 »

gotoparks wrote: Thu May 16, 2024 8:16 am It could be. NFCU transfers money from checking to pay my NFCU credit cards. I have two with them. I don't usually use my savings but for the past few months, I used it to store money that was going to be used soon. I transferred between savings and checking for that. I spent the money so I am done transferring. The transfers might be the problem, I will look closer at them. I will try to narrow this issue down to Navy Federal. I have about six credit cards with a few different banks and credit unions. I use PenFed credit cards a lot also so will keep an eye on those. I have two with them. I also transfer money to Vanguard, Fidelity and a couple of HYSA so I do my share of transfers.

Thanks for your suggestion and help.
It won't necessarily default to the bracketed account name with a downloaded transfer transaction. I do find that transfers are the area where I have to do the most editing of downloaded transactions.

So for example if I am using my NFCU Checking to pay my NFCU VISA the category in the checking account register entry is bracketed to look like [NFCU VISA] reflecting a transfer in Quicken. On the NFCU VISA register entry the category shows as bracketed [NFCU Checking].
IDpilot
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Re: Benefits of Quicken in 2024, time to set up, and time to manage?

Post by IDpilot »

stan1 wrote: Wed May 15, 2024 9:12 am
RickBoglehead wrote: Wed May 15, 2024 9:10 am
stan1 wrote: Wed May 15, 2024 9:01 am I understand that companies don't stay in business by selling $50 software one time with people using it forever.
The old model required you to buy a new copy every few years (3 or 4 as I recall). Now it's annually.
Some people were using it longer with the loss of downloaded transactions. There probably are still a few people on the forum doing that.
That would be me, for one! Still running on the 2017 version. Never did downloads so don't miss it. Seems to be a genetic thing as my Dad is still using his 2004 version.
orlandoman
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Re: Benefits of Quicken in 2024, time to set up, and time to manage?

Post by orlandoman »

RickBoglehead wrote: Wed May 15, 2024 9:10 am
stan1 wrote: Wed May 15, 2024 9:01 am I understand that companies don't stay in business by selling $50 software one time with people using it forever.
The old model required you to buy a new copy every few years (3 or 4 as I recall). Now it's annually.
Might take a look at www.MoneyDance.com

"A one-time purchase $65, including a free upgrade to the next major release. We never "sunset" software, so you can use it for as long as you like without ever needing to pay again.

Moneydance Plus is not included, but is available as an optional low-cost subscription (US$4.00 monthly or US$40.00 annually) if you'd like to download transactions through its network of over eleven thousand North American financial institutions."

Note: been using my copy of MoneyDance (not Plus) for years & have never paid anything additional & still works as good as when I bought it

P.S.
"Borrow money from pessimists -- they don't expect it back"
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RickBoglehead
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Re: Benefits of Quicken in 2024, time to set up, and time to manage?

Post by RickBoglehead »

orlandoman wrote: Thu May 16, 2024 9:53 am
RickBoglehead wrote: Wed May 15, 2024 9:10 am
stan1 wrote: Wed May 15, 2024 9:01 am I understand that companies don't stay in business by selling $50 software one time with people using it forever.
The old model required you to buy a new copy every few years (3 or 4 as I recall). Now it's annually.
Might take a look at www.MoneyDance.com

"A one-time purchase $65, including a free upgrade to the next major release. We never "sunset" software, so you can use it for as long as you like without ever needing to pay again.

Moneydance Plus is not included, but is available as an optional low-cost subscription (US$4.00 monthly or US$40.00 annually) if you'd like to download transactions through its network of over eleven thousand North American financial institutions."

Note: been using my copy of MoneyDance (not Plus) for years & have never paid anything additional & still works as good as when I bought it

P.S.
$40 a year to download transactions is more than Quicken costs by a 3rd or more.
Avid user of forums on variety of interests-financial, home brewing, EVs (1005 EV), etc. Enjoy learning & passing on knowledge. It's PRINCIPAL, not PRINCIPLE. I ADVISE you to seek ADVICE.
Hebell
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Re: Benefits of Quicken in 2024, time to set up, and time to manage?

Post by Hebell »

kinless wrote: Wed May 15, 2024 10:16 am


My question is, can you still input transactions manually? I’m way too OCD with consistencies and don’t care for the fluff in the institution’s descriptions (at least the ones I see when using Empower). Plus sometimes for brevity I combine certain transactions and use Split for others, so it would be annoying to have to constantly clean this up.
Absolutely you can do input transactions manually. To this day, I enter all my own transactions. I have migrated to the new annual subscription, under Windows.
Paradoxical Stoat
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Re: Benefits of Quicken in 2024, time to set up, and time to manage?

Post by Paradoxical Stoat »

Yes, some Quicken accounts I update manually, others (mostly credit cards) I download from the institution.
dhally
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Re: Benefits of Quicken in 2024, time to set up, and time to manage?

Post by dhally »

Our credit union has an in-house money management app/web site. I have one checking account and one VISA account to track. Most of the transactions are auto-categorized. I review the categorization about every 60 days. I gave up on custom categories and haven't seen any issues.

I mainly like to look at the graphs of spending. If a category is high, I can zoom in and see what was spent where. I can estimate how much our RV trips will cost based on history. I can get a feel for if I need to take more IRA withdrawals.
That's it. No budgets. I don't track my wife's spending, I tried that for years and it only caused pain. She monitors her own spending vs. inflow.
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