Replacing Microsoft Money, Part 2: Quicken

[Update on Sept. 5, 2009] After evaluating the alternatives, I discovered a way to automatically download the transactions and price quotes and feed them to Money after Microsoft pulls the plug. See follow-up posts Replacing Microsoft Money, Part 5: OFX Scripts and Download Price Quotes to Microsoft Money After Microsoft Pulls the Plug.

This is part 2 in my series for replacing Microsoft Money. In part 1 I laid out my requirements for the replacement application.

Quicken has been around for more than 20 years. It’s in stores everywhere. If someone is new to Quicken, there are many books about Quicken. Although its publisher Intuit doesn’t offer a free trial (there is a 60-day money back guarantee), I’m pretty sure Quicken can do everything I do in Microsoft Money. However, I’m a little worried about what Intuit would do after Quicken becomes a de facto monopoly.

Intuit says Quicken can import up to 10,000 transactions from Microsoft Money. They are working on a better importer that will do more.

The current version is Quicken 2009. The 2010 version will come out shortly. Intuit usually releases a new version of Quicken around Labor Day. The 2009 version is heavily discounted right now. The Deluxe edition, which I think will be adequate for me, costs only $20 at Amazon at this time (Amazon prices change daily).

Like Microsoft Money, Quicken also downloads account transactions and stock and mutual fund quotes online. Like Microsoft Money, Quicken also has a sunset policy for the download features (I forget who started this practice). The download features for Quicken 2006 was disabled on April 30, 2009. Customers were forced to upgrade. By inference Quicken 2009 will expire in 2012 and Quicken 2010 will expire in 2013.

If my other replacement candidates can’t meet my requirements, my default choice will have to be Quicken, although I really don’t like being forced to upgrade. That’s why I’m keeping my eyes open for alternatives like GnuCash and Moneydance. I will review them in the next two posts.

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  1. pop says

    Never mind you have already dismissed it as it is a web tool . I too did the same thing earlier but why not question that basic assumption that anything online is bad. We already login through web and place trades do online money transfers , do online bill pay all through web…

    What do you think of this?

  2. The Incidental Economist says

    I’m following your reviews with interest. I use Quicken but I don’t have to. Changing would be easy for me because I don’t care that much about my historical data. The main barrier is learning a new program. As I described in one of my posts in my investment planning series, I like to run a fictitious tracking budget. That’s about as fancy as I get. If it isn’t too hard to set that up and to use it for projections then I’d switch. Any chance you can include a statement about doing budget projections when you select your favorite product? I’d appreciate it.

    Almost forgot, here’s the post where I describe my Quicken budget “tricks”:

  3. Harry Sit says

    Frank – Sorry for not giving so much of a review. Intuit does not give a free trial for Quicken unless you pay and then ask for a refund. Quicken has been around for so long and it’s been written up so many times in books and magazines everywhere. I will not be able to add anything beyond what others already wrote, except for saying I *don’t want to* use Quicken unless I have to, because Intuit’s sunset policy is the same as Microsoft’s.

  4. TH says

    pop, I’m with you . I threw out Quicken after a few weeks of There’s no compelling reason to be old school about where the data is kept, given Mint’s privacy policies:
    * Bank-level security for data. If they aren’t safe, neither is your bank.
    * You can’t move money
    * You register anonymously

  5. Harry Sit says

    TIE – If you only want to post projected transactions automatically on a schedule, these applications can all do that. I think you will like GnuCash. It’s clean, flexible, and free. The review will be up tomorrow.

  6. Raghu says

    I was looking to get into Quicken. It would cost $9.95 per month to use Direct Connect with Bank of America. It’s not wort spending that money, when, Yodle, Quicken Online give that for free.

  7. RobertSeattle says

    One incredibily annoying thing about Quicken (US Version) is that it won’t let me import Quicken data from a Canadian financial institution. I guess the geniuses at Intuit think I should run the USA version of Quicken and a Canadian version of Quicken on the same machine.

  8. Donald Sterling says

    I am just a typical home user using MS Money to keep up with bills, transfers, and deposits and find this much harder in Quicken. Am learning slowly since I figure MS Money will quit working soon due to changing hardware and opeating systems. Have tried a few of the other ‘suggested replacements’ and find most to be lacking in areas I use daily. Quicken will most likely be the one I use the most after I turn off a few of the features. Too bad Microsoft doesn’t appear to appreciate the everyday user.

  9. Jennifer says

    Thank you very much for this info and for your research! I have only just discovered that Money is not going to be supported by Microsoft any longer having just renewed my PC and I only found this out when I failed to be able to transfer all my data on to my new machine – sooooo frustrating.

    I will now look at Quicken as an alternative solution but it seems as if I will need to buy a version between 2004 and 2008 in order for the data to transfer properly and all 2008 versions are currently out of stock on Amazon!

    Aaaaah – will I ever resolve this? :o)

    Thanks anyway for all this info – much appreciated!


  10. mark says

    I left quicken after years of using their product when their support people suggested MS-Money. Quicken would not talk to me about a printing problem because I did no purchase my checks from them. So after giving them my money for so long, I took their advice and switched to Microsoft Money… unlike a lot of people I appreciate that Microsoft helped computer users. I remember when each sound card, video card etc only kinda worked on the hardware I had. But back to the issue.

    Has anyone asked Microsoft to turn MSmoney over to the support team, sell it for a $1. to them or something. Its been a good product, not perfect. But I keep hoping someone will convince MS to let them take the product and run with it. I don’t see a downside to Microsoft.

    I have 15 trust, 4 businesses and several personal accounts all in separate MSMoney Logon on’s (Uncle Sam(IRS) has this thing about co mingled files) . Lots and lots of sub accounts in each MS Money file… but I would go back to paper before going back to quicken. Bad product, Bad support and the most attitude of any software company; much worse support than any MS product.

    So the Gnu or Moneydance will both get a trial run to see how they do… I like features of both.

  11. BruceT says

    I have just done the conversion from Money to Quicken with 20 years worth of data with about 50 accounts. I’m sure there are thousands, probably tens of thousands or transactions. I also have bank accounts and investments in two currencies.

    After all the reports I was pretty nervous about the conversion, but things went surprisingly well. The only thing I had to do during the conversion was to manually set the exchange rate for all forex transactions (which is surprising because it should have had sufficient information to determine the rates. But luckily I only had a couple dozen transactions. I did have one hang during the import, but after I killed the program and reran it, it went through fine.

    It is taking a bit of getting used to, and I have had to set up the old accounts to ignore in reports, etc. However there are definitely some things I prefer about Quicken.

    Both products have annoyingly non-standard UI’s, however I find Quicken’s a bit more intuitive (especially after turning on Classic menus). Also I prefer Quicken’s reports, with its simple improvements like being able to drill down on a Net Worth graph to get a breakdown of the assets. And the Money reconciliation used to drive me crazy by assuming that I only reconcile once a month, and setting the reconcile date to some future date rather than today. This is much better in Quicken. Of course on these things, it is all up to personal preference, and also how you use the product and which features are most important for you.

    But there are two big losses in functionality for me. The first is the ability to get quotes for foreign investments, which Money handled fine (things like BHP.AX). The second is the automatic updating of foreign exchange rates. Without these things, it makes tracking your daily gains and losses a real pain. It is also frustrating that this has been requested for years and years, but Quicken has never added this simple functionality.


  12. Gerald says


    I tried Quicken too, but as Bruce mentionned it, it is not possible to update foreign stocks, so you have to fill in manually each price, every day… for each security.
    It is a pain.
    I don’t find any other software to replace Money. Has someone found something else ?

    I will have a look at the python script that you propose.


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