Get Organized with Personal Finance Software

Learn about what personal finance software can do for you.

Having trouble keeping track of all your accounts and investments?
Let personal finance software do some of the work for you!

How can you get the benefits of a personal financial adviser 24 hours a day at a very reasonable cost? The answer is personal finance software. With these kinds of programs, you can get quick reports at any time, create a budget and keep track of bills. Keeping all your financial information together also makes it easier come tax time. The programs are relatively inexpensive, and come in a variety of versions, from personal to professional grade, depending on your needs. The most basic programs start at around $20, and may even come free with the software bundled on your computer!

If you’re wondering if you really need personal finance software, consider your situation. If you have several bank accounts and a lot of different investments, computer programs can help you keep all the information organized and in the same place. If your financial picture is much simpler, the software is less helpful. With just a few accounts to manage, you can often just as easily keep track of the information the old fashioned way – with a pen and paper.

Personal finance software can be easily integrated with any online banking that you do. Some programs allow you manage your accounts through the software, and can update information like stock prices automatically through the internet. If you pay bills online its easy to track using the financial software. It’s important to note, however, that some banks have started charging for software-compatible data downloads. If your bank has a download charge you can call and ask to have it removed. In many cases the fee is negotiable.

If you’re ready to get organized, then it’s time to evaluate your options. The most popular programs are Microsoft Money and Quicken. If you use a Mac, deciding is easy, as only Quicken is Mac-compatible. For PC users, deciding is more complicated. Many don’t like how Money stores your account information on their servers, albeit secured servers. Others find Quicken’s toolbars and interface hard to use. All in all though, the programs are very similar, and choosing one over another is a matter of personal taste.

To get the greatest benefit of your new software, be sure to update it frequently. This way you will get the most accurate picture of your income, expenses and investments. Don’t forget to periodically backup your data. That will make it easier to recover your information if your computer crashes. Schedule regular backups in your agenda. It’s a lot easier than re-inputting all the data by hand after a crash!

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