Personal finance software is a valuable investment. It can allow you to manage your bank accounts, keep track of your spending, follow your investments, and so much more. Some even allow you to track goals, such as saving for retirement, paying off debt, or even just creating a budget.
There are many other programs out there, but these two are the most widely used and popular, especially since Microsoft discontinued its MS Money.
The Benefits of Mint
If you are looking for a basic record keeping program, and just have checking, savings, and a 401k, Mint is likely the best program for you. It is complete free to use, and they make their money by suggesting higher-yielding accounts that may apply to you (which is usually good advice to follow!). The other thing that is great about Mint is that you can compare your spending and savings to other people in your area, which is a great tool to see how you are doing. It is also great about putting together trends of your spending, and it shows you how you are doing compared to your average over time. That way, if you go to Starbucks, it will show you if you’ve spent more there than usual.
Another cool aspect of Mint is its partnership with Zillow. That allows you to maintain your home at it’s current value without having to manually update it.
The Drawbacks of Mint
The sad fact about Mint is that it does not handle investments very well. I would use Mint alone if it handled investments better. It doesn’t do a very good job of tracking gains and losses, and it has a very odd interface for it. With that being said, Quicken is my choice for personal finance software. It handles all the record keeping for all you accounts, and manages investment accounts very well. Furthermore, it does offer features such as BillPay and other items that you can’t get with Mint.
The Benefits and Drawbacks of Quicken
With Quicken, it has a much more powerful investing interface. It is a desktop application, which is not as handy as Mint (which is online only), but it does so much more. With investing, you can really track all aspects of your portfolio really quickly and easily. It also offers in-depth reports on performance, allocation, and it has a lot of useful reports that make tax time painless.
The biggest drawback of Quicken is the cost, and the added expenses for using different versions. Currently, the basic version goes for $49.99, but it doesn’t even handle investments for you. If you want to manage your investments, you need to get the Premier version, which goes for $69.99. There is also a Home and Business version for $79.99 and one that includes rental property management for $119.99.