Thinking about using Quicken


W

Walter_Slipperman

My wife and I are looking for some way to get a better handle on our
finances. We have a lot of different accounts setup through a financial
planner, we have accounts outside the financial planner, we each have
incomes from employers. I feel the need to be saving more money as we get
into our late fifties and she has a more live-for-today attitude.

I pay all the bills via citibank online banking and I keep track of all the
accounts by examining the account statements and filing them away year to
year. We don't write a lot of paper checks and we only use a few credit
cards. My wife and I have decided that if she can see the accounts in a
non-complicated way and see what we are spending she will be able to get a
better understanding of whether my savings concerns are a good idea.

I am thinking about getting something like Quicken to try to track all our
expenses. Is it possible to get it to work with both my PC and my wife's
Mac so that I could set it up on both machines and network her Mac to see
it?

--- I see that there is an online version of Quicken that I assume would
solve the Mac/PC networking hurdle, but while I do my checking account
online and check my brokerage accounts online, and check our 401Ks online I
am worried about lumping everything together, putting all our finances out
there and having it available to some tech support guy somewhere in
cyberspace. any thoughts about that?

/Walter

--------------------------------------
Misc.invest.financial-plan is a moderated newsgroup where Moderators strive
to keep the conversations on-topic for financial planning. Other posting
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which we respond. For all of the other tips and suggestions, see "FROM THE
MODERATORS: Posting to misc.invest.financial-plan", a weekly post now on the
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M

Mark Bole

Walter_Slipperman said:
My wife and I are looking for some way to get a better handle on our
finances. [...]
I feel the need to be saving more money as we
get into our late fifties and she has a more live-for-today attitude. [...]
My wife and I have decided that if she can see the
accounts in a non-complicated way and see what we are spending she will
be able to get a better understanding of whether my savings concerns are
a good idea.
Your intention is admirable, but at this stage of life, I'll wager there
is only a very small chance that simply "seeing the accounts in a
non-complicated way" will change her attitude. But you have to start
somewhere...
I am thinking about getting something like Quicken to try to track all
our expenses. Is it possible to get it to work with both my PC and my
wife's Mac so that I could set it up on both machines and network her
Mac to see it?
Don't get sidetracked by such technicalities. Just get Quicken for your
own machine, then carefully track at least six months if not a year of
transactions (if you have historic transactions, you'll get there much
more quickly). When the time comes, just print out whatever reports or
charts are available, and sit down over coffee with a few printouts.
You can't get much more "non-complicated" than that.

You both need to discuss together, the computer is just a tool, and one
that she would already be using for finances if she were so inclined, so
don't let it get in the way.

The key concepts you want to get across are:

1) cash flow - are you avoiding unnecessary finance charges, and also
avoiding large chunks of cash in non-interest bearing accounts?

2) Income statement: is your annual income at least covering your annual
expenses? 12 months is a good window because it includes non-monthly
transactions like bonuses, interest income, insurance, property taxes,
and so on.

3) Balance sheet: is your surplus annual income from (2) being invested
in a diversified way, matching your goals for the next 5 year, 10 years,
and beyond? Are your long-term liabilities under control?

It sounds like your bigger problem is coming up with and agreeing upon
exactly what those 5-yr, 10-yr, and so on goals really are!

-Mark Bole

--------------------------------------
Misc.invest.financial-plan is a moderated newsgroup where Moderators strive
to keep the conversations on-topic for financial planning. Other posting
guidelines include a request for brevity and another for trimming posts to
which we respond. For all of the other tips and suggestions, see "FROM THE
MODERATORS: Posting to misc.invest.financial-plan", a weekly post now on the
Newsgroup.
 
P

PeterL

My wife and I are looking for some way to get a better handle on our
finances.  We have a lot of different accounts setup through a financial
planner, we have accounts outside the financial planner, we each have
incomes from employers.  I feel the need to be saving more money as we get
into our late fifties and she has a more live-for-today attitude.

I pay all the bills via citibank online banking and I keep track of all the
accounts by examining the account statements and filing them away year to
year.  We don't write a lot of paper checks and we only use a few credit
cards.  My wife and I have decided that if she can see the accounts in a
non-complicated way and see what we are spending she will be able to get a
better understanding of whether my savings concerns are a good idea.

I am thinking about getting something like Quicken to try to track all our
expenses.  Is it possible to get it to work with both my PC and my wife's
Mac so that I could set it up on both machines and network her Mac to see
it?

--- I see that there is an online version of Quicken that I assume would
solve the Mac/PC networking hurdle, but while I do my checking account
online and check my brokerage accounts online, and check our 401Ks online I
am worried about lumping everything together, putting all our finances out
there and having it available to some tech support guy somewhere in
cyberspace.   any thoughts about that?

/Walter

I have used Quicken for many years. Be aware that in order for it to
be useful for your purpose, you have to obsessively enter every little
transaction and put it in the correct category. $3.60 for a latte?
Book it. $0.75 for a can of Coke? Book it. After awhile it gets
very tedious.

--------------------------------------
Misc.invest.financial-plan is a moderated newsgroup where Moderators strive
to keep the conversations on-topic for financial planning. Other posting
guidelines include a request for brevity and another for trimming posts to
which we respond. For all of the other tips and suggestions, see "FROM THE
MODERATORS: Posting to misc.invest.financial-plan", a weekly post now on the
Newsgroup.
 
W

Will Trice

PeterL said:
I have used Quicken for many years. Be aware that in order for it to
be useful for your purpose, you have to obsessively enter every little
transaction and put it in the correct category. $3.60 for a latte?
Book it. $0.75 for a can of Coke? Book it. After awhile it gets
very tedious.
It can be tedious if you do it this way. I actually use Money, but I
don't bother to log cash transactions, except as cash. This helps on
the tedium and gives you the info you need, although it opens the door
to abuse by you or your wife: you can use cash tranactions to hide those
$3000 lattes (but they are REALLY good!). Unless you pay for a lot of
things in cash... I just assume all my cash goes to lunches and beer.
My wife hasn't seen paper money in years, she'll use a credit card for a
$3.00 transaction. Large withdrawals for a particular purpose I'll book
under that purpose, for example if I withdraw cash while on vacation, I
book it under the vacation category. But I don't book indipendent cash
transactions at the $0.75 level.

-Will

william dot trice at ngc dot com

--------------------------------------
Misc.invest.financial-plan is a moderated newsgroup where Moderators strive
to keep the conversations on-topic for financial planning. Other posting
guidelines include a request for brevity and another for trimming posts to
which we respond. For all of the other tips and suggestions, see "FROM THE
MODERATORS: Posting to misc.invest.financial-plan", a weekly post now on the
Newsgroup.
 
R

rick++

I use something simpler - just a spreadsheet where columns are months
and
rows are categories. Before personal computers I did this with
square-ruled paper.
I sum rows and columes and somethimes graph them. I see a year at
time.
I can see the terribleeffect inflating is thaving in 2008 now.

Quicken/Money let you tie EVERY expenditure to a given category if you
want the detail and effort.

--------------------------------------
Misc.invest.financial-plan is a moderated newsgroup where Moderators strive
to keep the conversations on-topic for financial planning. Other posting
guidelines include a request for brevity and another for trimming posts to
which we respond. For all of the other tips and suggestions, see "FROM THE
MODERATORS: Posting to misc.invest.financial-plan", a weekly post now on the
Newsgroup.
 
R

rick++

My wife and I are looking for some way to get a better handle on our
finances. We have a lot of different accounts setup through a financial
planner, we have accounts outside the financial planner, we each have
incomes from employers. I feel the need to be saving more money as we get
into our late fifties and she has a more live-for-today attitude.

I pay all the bills via citibank online banking and I keep track of all the
accounts by examining the account statements and filing them away year to
year. We don't write a lot of paper checks and we only use a few credit
cards. My wife and I have decided that if she can see the accounts in a
non-complicated way and see what we are spending she will be able to get a
better understanding of whether my savings concerns are a good idea.

I am thinking about getting something like Quicken to try to track all our
expenses. Is it possible to get it to work with both my PC and my wife's
Mac so that I could set it up on both machines and network her Mac to see
it?

--- I see that there is an online version of Quicken that I assume would
solve the Mac/PC networking hurdle, but while I do my checking account
online and check my brokerage accounts online, and check our 401Ks online I
am worried about lumping everything together, putting all our finances out
there and having it available to some tech support guy somewhere in
cyberspace. any thoughts about that?

/Walter

--------------------------------------
Misc.invest.financial-plan is a moderated newsgroup where Moderators strive
to keep the conversations on-topic for financial planning. Other posting
guidelines include a request for brevity and another for trimming posts to
which we respond. For all of the other tips and suggestions, see "FROM THE
MODERATORS: Posting to misc.invest.financial-plan", a weekly post now on the
Newsgroup.
--------------------------------------
Misc.invest.financial-plan is a moderated newsgroup where Moderators strive
to keep the conversations on-topic for financial planning. Other posting
guidelines include a request for brevity and another for trimming posts to
which we respond. For all of the other tips and suggestions, see "FROM THE
MODERATORS: Posting to misc.invest.financial-plan", a weekly post now on the
Newsgroup.
 
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W

Walter_Slipperman

Walter_Slipperman said:
My wife and I are looking for some way to get a better handle on our
finances. We have a lot of different accounts setup through a financial
planner, we have accounts outside the financial planner, we each have
incomes from employers. I feel the need to be saving more money as we get
into our late fifties and she has a more live-for-today attitude.

I pay all the bills via citibank online banking and I keep track of all
the accounts by examining the account statements and filing them away year
to year. We don't write a lot of paper checks and we only use a few
credit cards. My wife and I have decided that if she can see the accounts
in a non-complicated way and see what we are spending she will be able to
get a better understanding of whether my savings concerns are a good idea.

I am thinking about getting something like Quicken to try to track all our
expenses. Is it possible to get it to work with both my PC and my wife's
Mac so that I could set it up on both machines and network her Mac to see
it?

--- I see that there is an online version of Quicken that I assume would
solve the Mac/PC networking hurdle, but while I do my checking account
online and check my brokerage accounts online, and check our 401Ks online
I am worried about lumping everything together, putting all our finances
out there and having it available to some tech support guy somewhere in
cyberspace. any thoughts about that?

/Walter
I finally got around to buying Quicken Deluxe 2008. It appears somewhat
different than I imagined it. I thought one of the most basic things would
be for me and my wife to be entering every penny that we spend every day
into a categorized list of some sort. I can't find that sort of thing. I
see where I can set up and categorize recurring expenses/payments and
regular salary income on a calendar but I don't see what to do with the day
to day expenses. Plus I can't figure out whether getting Quicken to talk
with Citibank would cost me a monthly fee. It looks like $10/month. No way
on that.

I'm reading Quicken for Dummies that I checked out of the libary and so far
haven't even found the answers to these questions.

/Walter

--------------------------------------
Misc.invest.financial-plan is a moderated newsgroup where Moderators strive
to keep the conversations on-topic for financial planning. Other posting
guidelines include a request for brevity and another for trimming posts to
which we respond. For all of the other tips and suggestions, see "FROM THE
MODERATORS: Posting to misc.invest.financial-plan", a weekly post now on the
Newsgroup.
 
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W

Will Trice

Walter_Slipperman said:
I finally got around to buying Quicken Deluxe 2008. It appears somewhat
different than I imagined it. I thought one of the most basic things
would be for me and my wife to be entering every penny that we spend
every day into a categorized list of some sort. I can't find that sort
of thing.
I have a much older version of Quicken, but on the starting screen
there's a panel called "My Finances." Inside that panel you can set up
accounts (like a checking account, etc.) and start recording
transactions from those accounts. When you make a transaction from an
account (and you can even add a cash account as mentioned earlier) you
assign the transaction to a category. After some transactions have been
entered, you can go to the "Reports & Graphs" panel to generate the kind
of data you're looking for, rather than entering that data explicitly
into a list or something. This should be more or less the same in the
current version, though the details may differ.

Good luck,
-Will

william dot trice at ngc dot com

--------------------------------------
Misc.invest.financial-plan is a moderated newsgroup where Moderators strive
to keep the conversations on-topic for financial planning. Other posting
guidelines include a request for brevity and another for trimming posts to
which we respond. For all of the other tips and suggestions, see "FROM THE
MODERATORS: Posting to misc.invest.financial-plan", a weekly post now on the
Newsgroup.
 

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