Personal Finance.

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RobertB
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Sun Dec 07, 2008 6:53 pm Post

I'm actually testing an app called Flowing Pennies (http://www.clarkwood.com/flowingpennies/). It's kind of like CheckBook but with a few more views and isn't "account based." Seems pretty nice so far. It's basically an electronic ledger with a few different views and a running balance of debt/income ratio for all of your accounts combined.

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Gerben
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Mon Dec 08, 2008 8:31 pm Post

Moneywell 1.4 was released today and is IMHO the best program available in terms of functionality, manuals, service, etc. Works very nicely with multiple currencies (for example I get paid in euro but spend in pounds) and is very good to control your budget.

I am not paid for this but certainly a happy user 8)

See for yourself and try the demo: http://nothirst.com/moneywell/

Best,
Gerben

ja
janra
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Tue Dec 09, 2008 3:25 am Post

I haven't yet found anything that does what I want. Right now I'm doing my transaction tracking and historical summaries and analysis in LiquidLedger, because when I evaluated software a year ago it was the closest to what I wanted. But I'm still doing my budgeting in a spreadsheet.

Do any of these pieces of software have the concept of large annual fees that you pay out in a lump sum? All of them show that I'm "under budget" until it's time to pay, say, my car insurance, or my property taxes, then suddenly I'm "over budget" for that item when I do pay it, until the end of the year when it finally balances out.

dr
druid
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Tue Dec 09, 2008 3:55 am Post

No one has mentioned Quicken, so I will. I mostly write online checks via my bank, and once a month I download that data from bank and credit card in QFX files, which pull all the information into the appropriate places in Quicken. Then I make sure all items are appropriately coded for tax purposes. At the end of the year, I use QuickReport in Quicken to get yearly totals of the categories, entered into TurboTax. A process that used to take weeks is now a matter of days, filed electronically with IRS and state tax bureaus.

Hu
Hugh
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Tue Dec 09, 2008 12:55 pm Post

Here in the UK, Quicken (on all platforms) upped and left several years ago, having (according to people who used it) become increasingly buggy and less useful since the turn of the century. It appeared to be one of those programmes that develop backwards. Maybe that's why it went. On Windows, that seemed to leave MS Money leading the field, but Money has had its critics too.

I know various other applications have their fans. But given the ease with which computers handle numbers, and the length of time such programmes have been developed, it's strange to me that no one appears to have yet devised an easy-to-use personal finance programme that isn't subscription-based, which does everything one needs excellently and is a clear favourite of most of those who use it.

The Scrivener of personal finance, in other words. Does Moneydance come close?

H
'Listen, some quiet night, when you've shirked your work that day. Do you hear
that distant, almost inaudible clicking sound? That's one of your
competitors, working away in the night in
Paris or London or Erie, PA.'

dr
druid
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Tue Dec 09, 2008 3:15 pm Post

I suspect one of the reasons we don't yet have a gold standard ( :lol: ) in personal finance software is that currency, banking, and tax laws are still highly variable across countries. Despite all this talk of globalization, money is often still a local affair. But maybe MoneyDance meets that challenge; I'll check it out.

I once gave a lecture in Canada, for which I received an honorarium of $700 CDN. At the time that translated into $450 USA, and then came the Canadian tax service. They reduced the fee to less than my air fare, which I had to cover. Advice to globe-trotting lecturers: donate your services and take a tax write-off.

ta
talazem
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Wed Dec 10, 2008 4:05 pm Post

I highly recommend MoneyWell 1.4 -- which, with all the changes in the newest version, should really be 2.0. I had used MS Money for years, and couldn't find a program that did everything I want -- which basically meant track bank and cash accounts, in multiple currencies, and allow some form of interaction with qif or ofx files from download or other programs. The best I found was Moneydance and Checkbook: but the latter had some limitations especially in graphing, reports and especially budgeting; the former was overall very strong, but didn't help with budgeting the way I really wanted.

Anyhow, that was before MoneyWell 1.4. For personal budgeting, I find the buckets (envelope) metaphor it uses to be very useful. And the developer is very much like Keith -- very responsive, very pleasant. I can't recommend this program enough, and I'm glad that I don't have to fire up VMware just for MS Money anymore, but can do it all in a native cocoa app.

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tannie
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Thu Dec 11, 2008 6:40 am Post

I third (?) the MoneyWell recommendation. After struggling to get GnuCash installed (which I still like!) and playing around with MoneyDance (wich I also still like) I saw the update for MoneyWell.

Having never heard of it before, I tried it out, because even though I like GnuCash and MoneyDance they both didn't make me click. For me, the sound of that click means I have found the right software for my tasks. I can't always logically explain it, but I need that click to make it work for me.

And boy, there was a definite click with MoneyWell. I didn't like other 'envelope' based programs before, because they took it too literally. You'd have little envelopes in your screen and such, and no real register. I like my register. I also *need* visuals. I can work with commandline things just fine, and for certain stuff I prefer it (a 'grep' here and there, a list, etc) because the visuals of a commandline work best (eg. when I grep a certain word in a file, I get to see that one line and just that one line). Not sure if this makes sense. Anyway, I very much need visuals that fit me.
And MoneyWell has it. At first the one window surprised me, but it works really well. I love the little graph at the bottom. I love how you can turn future pending transactions on and off (it still surprises me how I couldn't find any other program that lets you list future transactions in the register... I was so used to it after using Adarian Money on my Palm for years, which I also recommend, perhaps the Windows version is just as good).
I use scheduled transactions a lot, so I really want to see those upcoming bills for the next 7/14/30 days or so.

I love the bucket analogy, it works really well for my brain. I read through the forums and noticed how active the developer was, and I always like that.
It imported my older data (going back three years) without any problems, which save a lot of time. Transfers didn't all go well, but if necessary I can easily manually fix those (but mostly, not really necessary to do so).

It works very well on my ibook G4 12" screen (though at first startup it defaulted to larger).

Going through a small financial crisis myself right now, I found a real lifesaver in MoneyWell. It gave me back my sense of control and the feeling that I am indeed on top of it.

I sound like a fangirl, sorry :)

Tanja

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Jaysen
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Thu Dec 11, 2008 12:25 pm Post

tannie wrote:I sound like a fangirl, sorry :)

Tanja

Careful, you might make Keith jealous.

Ok, I am in the market for a new "finance manager". Quicken had ticked me off. Again. I looked at moneywell and really like the idea. Here is the problem that I have with "what I see".

1) It doesn't seem to support paycheck deduction tracking. I have a "regular gig" with healthcare, 401k, health saving, post tax IRA, etc. Believe it or not Uncle Samantha doesn't REQUIRE the employer to track all these. It is up to the individual.

2) Business tax tracking. Again, completely up to me to capture all the deduction and track sales tax for Snorts hobby. I am not sure how business management would work in this scenario.

3) Developer response/tools. Ok, I am a bit of a tech snob. You want my money at least make me feel confident. Google groups for the support forum? And the few posts I found about my #1 and #1 issues the developer suggest that the folks change their thinking.

All that said I think Kevin has a right to make the statement that he clearly believes and is passionate for: Moneywell is for MANAGING your cash and making wise spending decision. With that as his stated goal, I think he has succeeded.

Now you Moneywell users, can you point me in the right direction for #1 and #2 before I drop $$ on iBank? I will open that up to any one else as well other than moneydance. For some reason I can not get myself into that piece of software. Just too … bah.
Jaysen

I have a wife and 2 kids that I can only attribute to a wiggle, a giggle, and the realization that she was out of my league so I might as well be happy with her as a friend. 26 years marriage later, I can't imagine life without her. -Me 10/7/09

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tannie
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Thu Dec 11, 2008 4:02 pm Post

Jaysen wrote:
tannie wrote:I sound like a fangirl, sorry :)

Tanja

Careful, you might make Keith jealous.

Oh I fangirl about Scrivener just as much in other places ;)

Jaysen wrote:Ok, I am in the market for a new "finance manager". Quicken had ticked me off. Again. I looked at moneywell and really like the idea. Here is the problem that I have with "what I see".

1) It doesn't seem to support paycheck deduction tracking. I have a "regular gig" with healthcare, 401k, health saving, post tax IRA, etc. Believe it or not Uncle Samantha doesn't REQUIRE the employer to track all these. It is up to the individual.

2) Business tax tracking. Again, completely up to me to capture all the deduction and track sales tax for Snorts hobby. I am not sure how business management would work in this scenario.

I unfortunately don't know what you mean by most of this (language / culture thing probably...)

Jaysen wrote:3) Developer response/tools. Ok, I am a bit of a tech snob. You want my money at least make me feel confident. Google groups for the support forum? And the few posts I found about my #1 and #1 issues the developer suggest that the folks change their thinking.

This didn't bother me at all. I'm a 'if it gets the job done, why not' person. I searched around a bit and read through the posts, and that worked for me. Yes, I would prefer a forum like this, but I can also deal with mailinglists and what not.

Jaysen wrote:All that said I think Kevin has a right to make the statement that he clearly believes and is passionate for: Moneywell is for MANAGING your cash and making wise spending decision. With that as his stated goal, I think he has succeeded.

Now you Moneywell users, can you point me in the right direction for #1 and #2 before I drop $$ on iBank? I will open that up to any one else as well other than moneydance. For some reason I can not get myself into that piece of software. Just too … bah.

Have you tried iBank? It makes me cry (endless beachballs), crashing, unable to delete more than one transaction at once (it results in beachballs) and worst of all, messing up my import beyond all reason (creating the same account 10 times or so)

Anyway, you may want to try GnuCash. I think it does what you ask for, plus, it's free. Just takes about a day to compile (through fink, unstable tree, get version 2.2.7 or something like that). You can at least try it before you give your $$ to something that gives me nightmares ;)

Tanja

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Jaysen
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Thu Dec 11, 2008 4:45 pm Post

Tannie #1 and #2 are mostly due to my desire to keep the US and NY state governments out of my pockets. I expect that a lot of these "requirements" of mine are relates to my account telling me how I should be tracking things so she can maximize my deductions.

#3 was not intended to disparage the app. I actually like the app. I want to use it. My "issue" comes from the fact that I am "used to" other ways of doing business. It sounds to me like Kevin is a guy I would like as a friend. He clearly writes easy to use and understand software. I think his use of Google for hosting show a savvy mind in maximizing profit from a small business perspective. And that is where I get concerned. Small business isn't bad, but with the finances … I am hesitant.

I have been using the iBank demo with no issues. Granted I can't really to much as even a light month for me exceeds the limit for the trial. My looks into user experience seems to show that if the demo works the app works. I wasn't able to get a solid categorization of the user issues. I wonder is there is an unknown HW or second party app conflict.

I guess what I am saying is that if I didn't have this established way of doing things and I was just looking into starting with a program and I didn't have all the business "stuff" to deal with Moneywell would be my app of choice. I was up and running with a viable plan in less than 15 minutes. I so want to use this thing that I may just buy it to see if I can force it to work.

Heck I may still use it and just tell my accountant "Don't I pay YOU to do the rest of this?"

GNUCash and I parted company with some words that are not fit for use in a public forum. To get me back there would take an act of God or a threat from my accountant. It was a bad experience. Almost like communicating with vic-k.
Jaysen

I have a wife and 2 kids that I can only attribute to a wiggle, a giggle, and the realization that she was out of my league so I might as well be happy with her as a friend. 26 years marriage later, I can't imagine life without her. -Me 10/7/09

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tannie
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Fri Dec 12, 2008 3:35 pm Post

Jaysen wrote:Tannie #1 and #2 are mostly due to my desire to keep the US and NY state governments out of my pockets. I expect that a lot of these "requirements" of mine are relates to my account telling me how I should be tracking things so she can maximize my deductions.

Mmm, tax deductions ;)
I get a few, which I know up ahead, so during the year I track them with a special label (has so far worked in every app). But I don't need complicated things, I track medical expenses because I can deduct them. I can deduct some of my mortgage interest, same amount every year, but I get a letter stating the total amount by the end of the tax-year. Just like I get one for my salary and such, so I don't have much to sort out for my 'accountant' (a friend that files the tax report, only takes half an hour or so)
I guess we all want different things, so we use different programs, nothing wrong with that :)

Jaysen wrote:I have been using the iBank demo with no issues. Granted I can't really to much as even a light month for me exceeds the limit for the trial. My looks into user experience seems to show that if the demo works the app works. I wasn't able to get a solid categorization of the user issues. I wonder is there is an unknown HW or second party app conflict.


To humour myself, I fired it up yesterday at work and it ate up all my cpu. It would also not draw the expense piechart in the bottom left correctly, it looked like it stopped halfway, with these pie pieces midflight stuck. I check the charts and the same thing happened there. The pieces come flying in and stop halfway, pretty silly :)
It also started beach-balling a lot so I closed it again. This was a Intel iMac, I have an ibook g4 at home, which is slower ofcourse.

Jaysen wrote:I guess what I am saying is that if I didn't have this established way of doing things and I was just looking into starting with a program and I didn't have all the business "stuff" to deal with Moneywell would be my app of choice. I was up and running with a viable plan in less than 15 minutes. I so want to use this thing that I may just buy it to see if I can force it to work.

Heck I may still use it and just tell my accountant "Don't I pay YOU to do the rest of this?"

I of course don't know the details of your financial life, but if you have an accountant they're supposed to do the work right? I mean you can help them out, but as soon as you start to do their work for them...

Jaysen wrote:G**C*** and I parted company with some words that are not fit for use in a public forum. To get me back there would take an act of God or a threat from my accountant. It was a bad experience. Almost like communicating with vic-k.

I have starred the name and shall not mention it again ;)

cheers,

happy weekend,

Tanja

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alexwein
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Tue Dec 16, 2008 4:42 pm Post

mamster wrote:Writers, I think, have to be careful with this one. Not long ago I calculated that I was spending a bunch of money eating lunch out, and if I ate lunch at home I'd save a bundle. So I tried it. I ended up with less money, because I was doing less work. I'd come home, eat lunch, do some laundry, take a nap--you know the syndrome. Now when I really need to get a bunch of writing done, I make sure to set aside some cash for having lunch out. Same goes for coffee and tea--if I didn't buy a lot of these things (as a form of rent), I'd be in trouble.

Basically, now I try to ask: will making this change cause me to spend less? But will it cut into productive writing time?


Dang, thank you for this post! We are getting rather hammered by the economic downturn in my household. Been cleaned out basically, so we are having to save every penny and then some! But I write MUCH better when not at home. I wrote half of my dissertation and most of my revisions at the local coffee shop and did it in half the time I'd written the first half (working at home). I have tried and tried to create a separation in my home between my writing life and the rest of my life! If I could afford it, I'd build a studio above my garage just for writing and make it completely separate from the rest of the house.

It's weird, because I can be in a noisy coffee shop and be completely focused and write away without any distraction, but have a much harder time in my house where there is only me and my dog! It's very strange. I know many writers who write on their kitchen tables, whatever, in their homes. So I don't really know why this is different for me. I know I'm not alone here!

So your post was welcome! I am struggling to figure out how to make this work, since I really can't afford to go to the coffee house every day. But can I afford not to??? Or do I just find a way to force myself to make this work? Any thoughts? I'm going to post this as a separate thread since I know it's way off topic!

But it also explains the reason I was interested in this thread to begin with and am also going to look at those finance packages. If I can afford to buy one of them!

Alexandria
Inspiration is for amateurs...the rest of us just show up.
-Chuck Close
http://alexandriapallas.com

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mamster
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Tue Dec 16, 2008 5:40 pm Post

Yeah, it's tough, Alexandria. I put a line item in my budget for a $40 card at the tea place every month. Lunch out is still tricky--I eat a lot of pizza slices. There used to be a great sandwich place in my neighborhood with low prices, good food, and free wi-fi (and cookies), but it went out of business over a year ago, and I'm still hoping for a replacement.

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Jaysen
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Tue Dec 16, 2008 6:10 pm Post

Taking the plunge and going moneywell. Let's see how it goes...
Jaysen

I have a wife and 2 kids that I can only attribute to a wiggle, a giggle, and the realization that she was out of my league so I might as well be happy with her as a friend. 26 years marriage later, I can't imagine life without her. -Me 10/7/09

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