[Update: 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.]
Back in June 2009, Microsoft announced they would stop selling their personal finance software Microsoft Money. I have been a Microsoft Money user since it was Money ’98. With Microsoft’s throwing in the towel, my current version will work as-is until September 2010. After that, two download features will stop working:
- download transactions from my banks, credit cards, and brokerage accounts from inside the money program, without having to go to the web site of each bank, credit card company, and brokerage firm
- download the current prices for my investments
Although I can still enter transactions or update prices manually, the download features sure make it much more convenient.
I don’t quite understand why the download service has to be disabled when they stop developing new versions of Microsoft Money. Can’t they offer the download service at $15 a year? I would pay it just to avoid the hassle of switching. Oh well, it is what it is and I’m looking for a replacement of Microsoft Money before that expiration date comes.
There are are number of free web sites that aggregate your transactions online. Mint.com is a popular choice. But I’m old school. I prefer to keep those data on my own computer. I’m limiting my search to desktop applications.
Before I begin my quest, I wrote down exactly what I use Microsoft Money for. Ideally I’d like to maintain all these functionalities. I use them as my evaluation criteria for the replacement candidates.
- Categorize transactions in bank and credit card accounts, including splitting one transaction into several categories
- Download transactions for bank, credit card, and brokerage accounts
- Reconcile account balances against bank and credit card statements
- Maintain a budget and report income and expenses against the budget
- Track loan payments and allocate between principal and interest automatically
- Track investment values, purchases, sales, dividends, interest, and capital gains and losses
- Update price quotes automatically for investments
- Report investment portfolio returns over any period
- Report net worth over time
Ideally I also would like to import as much as possible from my existing Microsoft Money file into the replacement application.