Money management software

Personal money management software helps you understand the cost of your spending and responsibilities. It helps you pro-actively manage your money, which is essential in obtaining and maintaining wealth.

Your personal financial software is as important to you as your home filing system. Each has a unique role in creating financial peace-of-mind. The filing system keeps important tax records organized and conveniently out of the way. The personal financial software keeps you on budget and focused on financial freedom.

How Money Management Brings Financial Freedom.

It takes self-discipline to see the benefits of any personal financial software. Don't think that technology is going to save you from your bad habits. The key to financial freedom is being honest with yourself and taking personal responsibility for your spending and saving. Looking at what you have, where you've been, where you are and what you need brings you financial freedom. Managing your money does all of this.

What You Should Look for in your Money Management Software. (or Personal Financial Software)

Intuitiveness

Look for money management software designed for personal use that follows your style of thinking. Generally they fall into two categories, but there are a few creative options.

  • A Checkbook Style - Tracks your spending and balances like a checkbook book ledger.
  • A Envelope Style - Allows you to allocates your income into spending categories.

Usability

A feature rich application will be more challenging to use, so consider only your basic needs. Look for features you will use. Common features include

  • Account Reconciliation
  • Banking Online
  • Bill Paying Online
  • Bill Paying Reminders
  • Budget Developer
  • Debt Reduction Tools
  • Spending Reports and Tracking
  • Mortgage Tools
  • Tax Tools and Exporting for Tax Prep Software
  • Import and Export Capabilities
  • Operating System

More detailed needs include

  • Check Writing
  • Attach Images to Transactions
  • Business Management
  • Investment Monitoring
  • Rental Management

Value

As they say, "you get what you pay for." There are plenty of shareware and freeware personal money management software options available but don't be afraid to invest in a product that will provide you with...

  • Easy upgrades.
  • Smart user interface.
  • Features you will use.
  • Convenient for your use.
  • Good support via customer support or user forum.
  • Capabilities to import and export to a OFX, QIF, and/or CSV. Because as your needs change you may want to consider a new software and this feature will allow you to transfer your current information. (Personally, because there's really no standard for financial statement downloads, I like the ability to import a plain old CSV.)

Where Should You Begin Researching Money Management Software.

Start by making a list of all the features you need. Make sure to include your operating system and export capabilities. Once you have your list, download a few free trials from the following most popular programs and see how they fit. Don't over think it.

IMHO. We have been using money management software since we decided to make financial independence a top priority. Our investment in this technology has paid off with a much better understanding of where we are and where we want to be. We have used both Quicken Mac and Moneywell. We tested Mint, Mvelopes and YNBA. We are currently using Moneywell. The concept of buckets (Moneywell) makes complete sense to me but I'm not sure our brains are wired that way. Quicken provided better reporting features but it was difficult to import non-Quicken formatted files.  Many love Mint, but having my financial life living in a cloud was too disconnected (and uncomfortable for me). After testing YNBA, we decided it wasn't best for us. It didn't allow me to import past records. I get their philosophy, start fresh. But I have a whole lot of home improvements I am tracking. Tax records for years down the road.

 Do you use a personal financial software? Which one? What do you love or hate about it? How has the investment benefited you and your family? I would love to hear what is working for you.

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