Goodbye Quicken, Revisited

So, about 48 hours after expressing my joy for finding an alternative to Quicken, I?m sad to say that I?m sticking with Quicken. I seriously thought Moneydance (or iBank) would prove its mettle, and become my new program of choice for financial bliss. Alas, it was not meant to be. I guess I’ll be waiting for Quicken 2008 (i.e. Quicken Financial Life for Mac), which is suppose to be out Fall 08 but according to many websites isn’t even Beta software yet, meaning we may not see it until 2009 at the earliest. However, given Intuit’s recent penchant to deliver questionable software, it wouldn’t be too big of a surprise that they release their Beta as 1.0 software.

So what went wrong???
Well, a number of things. First off, I never knew a Java/Swing application could run so fast, and be rather Mac-like in its appearance!!! I loved the home page for Moneydance… at your fingertips was a lot of information, and grouped in a logical fashion… I am totally in love with the categorical hierarchy of your accounts!!!

small-homepage.png
(from http://moneydance.com/mac_homepage)

However, its biggest drawback was what I initially thought was its greatest strength… its ability (or inability) to faithfully import my 10+ years of registers from Quicken. I was able to muck around with stuff enough to fix the errors in my bank accounts and credit cards… especially given the fact that most of the accounts from Quicken have been closed over the years (although I was a bit miffed that the only option for hiding accounts in Moneydance was if the account balance was 0). However, when I got to my investment portfolios… all hell broke loose. I think some of these errors are due in part to the way Quicken imports my .qfx files from my financial institutions, but Moneydance and iBank both decided I had 100+ investment accounts, when in reality what they were seeing were various transactions and updates from a handful of accounts. This is where I got bogged down with the Moneydance UI. I was able to successfully change the account name associated with the transactions, however, changing the transactions did not change the stock portfolios… they remained with the previous account. At that point, I thought, perhaps I should look again at iBank.

iBank to the rescue?
Not exactly. When my .qif file was finally imported (it took 12 minutes… while Moneydance took 2), I was initially thrown for a loop as an old checking account that had long been closed (but was my primary account for a number of years) showed an outstanding debt of $297,438.92. Two days ago, seeing that, I pretty much gave up on iBank. Last night, I dug a little deeper, and found that iBank had issues importing split transactions from Quicken. Rectifying this (i.e. ignoring some and deleting others) fixed the issues. The UI, while slick looking at first, wore on me as time moved on, but still was very acceptable.

thumbnail.jpg
from (http://www.iggsoftware.com/images/ibank/screenshots/thumbnail.jpg)

As stated above, iBank had the same issues as Moneydance with regards to my investment accounts. However, iBank allowed for cut and paste from one account to the next… nice and neat. So, was iBank everything I was looking for. Nope. Its biggest issue is that it is dog slow. Not an exaggeration, but it takes over 2 minutes to start up, and my iBank file is only 7MB!!! Changing some of the files (i.e. cut and paste) generated the spinning beach-ball of death, and delays of 30s to several minutes. Bottom line, no matter how Mac like iBank is, no matter how slick the graphics are, usability is the first issue, and with these types of pauses, its simply unacceptable. Style over substance.

So, its back to Quicken to me. I briefly looked at Liquid Ledger at the request of a friend of mine, but ultimately decided to stay put on my financial software. Perhaps iBank v4, or Moneydance 2009, or the new Quicken package will address my issues (for Quicken, all I ask for is stability and a new UI… is that too much… I’m not even asking for feature parity with the Windows version, mainly because I’ve never used the Windows version so I don’t know what I’m missing).

For what its worth…

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~ by rcgeiger on July 9, 2008.

6 Responses to “Goodbye Quicken, Revisited”

  1. It’s great to read detailed, objective opinions about Moneydance and iBank. You may also want to try SplashMoney for Mac while you’re waiting on Quicken Financial Life for Mac.

    If you try SplashMoney for Mac, I would like to know if it also has problems with importing Quicken data.
    Shelley

  2. Ooops, I have to retract my recommendation for SplashMoney for Mac – it does not track investment accounts and you clearly want to be able to do that. Have you considered online software? Mint.com is supposed to be adding investment account support soon, if they haven’t already. I believe I read that investment support was in beta some weeks back.

  3. Shelly:

    I’ve always been hesitant to using online software due to the perceived increased security issues involved with keeping information stored on external servers, however, that being said I must admit that I do have a Mint.com account. The interface is quite slick, however, to me its really sort of like Quicken lite… nice for a quick snapshot of my finances (especially if I’m away from home), but not something that I would use for detailed forecasting and whatnot. I also like the alert system which can warn you about upcoming payments… a nice touch for someone who can forget about those things from time to time. A few other websites that are interesting include Yodlee.com and Buxfer.com. Yodlee is much like Mint (without the pretty interface), but a bit more mature. Buxfer is interesting, but doesn’t appear to have investment portfolio options. For a comparison between Yodlee, Mint and Wesabe (another web based finance app, check out http://comments.deasil.com/2007/05/03/online-finance-review-yodlee-vs-wesabe/ and http://comments.deasil.com/2007/10/01/online-finance-review-mint-yodlee-wesabe/

    Chris

  4. Thanks for the links to the info! I’ve started investigating Yodlee a couple of times but really need to take a closer look at it. I like a lot about Mint, too, but it is not quite there for me. I’m not in- Mint’s “target market” either, though…

  5. Have you tried Gnucash?

  6. Well, how is that waiting for the new quicken treating you? Now they’ve moved the release date to 2010. Crazy. I switched to moneydance two years ago. Was fairly long transition to get all the accounts to match my quicken accounts. The main draw for me was being able to use the program on my windows machine at work and my mac at home, without any cross over problems.

    The real trouble with moneydance is that the reporting functions are nor very robust. If you have only a single brokerage account its great. But if you have multiple accounts, well, you can’t really see what you own “by stock”, so its hard to get a good picture with the software.

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