Post msmoney - what are your MUST have in a personal finance program RRS feed

  • General discussion

  • Dick raised a point on hist post titled "Windows 10 S/S-mode: death rattle for Win32 and MS Money". As one looks forward to post msmoney future, I am curious on what are your MUST have for a personal finance program? I will take a list of NICE to have too.

    Monday, February 5, 2018 4:59 PM

All replies

  • This is not a list of what I think would be generally useful for others. Microsoft Money is different things to different people.

    Must have:

      data local, not cloud or other server


     Accept OFX, QFX, QIF.

    Nice to have

     Portfolio almost as good as Money, but add user defined columns that you could sort and subtotal by.

     Reports almost as good as Money.

     Better spinoff method where you can initially estimate basis allocations and then update once the later info becomes available.

     A genealogy of lots feature would be nice to know the history of spinoffs, splits, whatever.

     Font size control

     Probably more trouble than its worth, but maybe some feature to let the cash aspect of stock transitions to reflect the "T+2" and "T+1" aspects. For example, Buy a stock on Monday, and the cash account transaction has Wednesday's date. The point would be that the cash account register would match the broker's running totals.

    Backup files would be zipped up versions of the data file.

    Any passwording/encryption would be conventional, but would have salt and multiple hashing... like KeePass. I am currently using over 25 million hash iterations. Alternatively, allow huge passwords but make the entry of the passwords easy by Keepass hotkey.

    Matching Payees could use Regex.

    Price history could be pruned for size to allow old daily prices to be compressed to weekly or monthly numbers, possibly with high, low and close, but just the close works too. This pruning could be manually activated.

    A multi-vintage backup system like Money Sunset would be great.

    Handle stock name changes a little better than Money. Money does it pretty well when you know how to handle it, but changes of CUSIP are hard for those who have not studied the process. The OFX file will have 2 CUSIPs -- one for the old name and one for the new. They are really the same security.

    How about making the CUSIP accessible?

    I don't use budgeting, but if I did, I think the "envelope" system would be more understandable than the more sophisticated "easy"methods.

    Find&Replace is pretty good in Money. It could maybe also apply to some other things than what it does now.

    Tuesday, February 6, 2018 3:35 AM
  • The basic feature set that was core to MS Money from the get go or, at least, M98 onward: transaction collection, complex transactions like split, multi-level characterization of expense and income, some kind of multi-level tagging scheme like classification, investment tracking, the ability to schedule series of future transactions, and the ability to project balances forward in time using that information. Reporting--although most of my uses for reporting nowadays end in Export to Excel/.CSV. It also needs something like MoneyLink--only hopefully better as there are many things MoneyLink can't extract. Speaking for myself, I don't care about QIF/OFX/QFX. (They never worked very well anyway.) Lots of the easy bolt-ons like FF accounts, home inventory, etc, had very little usage and would be obvious candidates to omit. The Essential mode stuff is dead to me. Some of the cool stuff added to Scheduled Transactions late along the way, I'm thinking of the ability to edits some instances of a series, were great but came along with lots of bad, stupid, things like all this insistence on scheduling either a bill or a deposit (and not allowing them to be interchangeable), requiring a number of shares for a scheduled investment, and, when the bugs couldn't be worked out, the "nuke-the-bills" mechanism.

    To have a remote chance of commercially viability, it would have to have integrated BillPay/ePay and FI-independent transaction data capture. (I.e., be a one-stop solution for most users. And that includes an ability to *and cleanup/add-value* to the data. Even now, lots of the data I see on my FI websites is still, to my of thinking, useless junk. Bad payee names, goofy assumptions about what "category" the transaction really was, etc.) This is where all predecessors have failed. The FIs view the data as theirs, not the customers', and will actively resist, to the death, anybody trying to insert themselves between them, their websites and its promotions and ads, and their customers. It would also have to be 100% usable from mobile which implies to me data storage somehow/somewhere in the cloud. And to make that usable at any reasonable performance/data plan cost, that implies to me that the cloud really has to serve it up a database server or web page connection not just some glorified file store like OneDrive. It starts looking a lot like, say, Mint--just with some serious PFM chops, not just a glorified FI website. And that's gonna cost somebody something forever so you have to somehow monetize the customer's use.

    Wednesday, February 7, 2018 5:42 AM
  • Dick, I would say that the items in the "To have a remote chance of commercially viability" paragraph would all be on my "must not" list. This aversion presumes that the screen scraping implied would be done by a third party, regardless of continent. I suspect those are on your must-not-have list too.

    I do really like the PocketSense method of getting transactions from OFX/QFX servers from the various institutions that want my business.

    Wednesday, February 7, 2018 4:48 PM
  • Funny you should say that. I thought about writing something about the conflict with many die hard MS Money users' must not have lists...

    I'm not sure I really care about not storing my data in the cloud as much as I used to--my resistance has been worn down. (I've used TurboTax online for four or five years now, for instance.) My big question would be about how the data was used--was it used to "monetize the relationship"? I'd pay for this as a service--if my data was not being mined to monetize the relationship. (I'm sure there are posts in the archive here where I said I'd gladly subscribe to MS Money as a service for more than the annual updates were costing.) I suspect very few others would.

    I've always thought screen scraping was a problematic technology at best. Primarily because the sites being non-cooperatively scraped always have incentive to break it. There was, for a while, some discussion of some XML standard for passing this type of transaction data. I can't remember what moniker the effort went by. But, again, the FIs just hate the idea of making "their" data available to you in any useful--to you not them--way. So, OFX/QFX/whatever, it still comes back to the institutions willingness to share this data. You may choose which FIs to deal with based on this, but the FIs apparently don't see much demand or any business case for meeting it.

    "If I were king," the FIs, and other businesses with online transactional account management relationships (Amazon, cable, wireless, utilities, mortgage, ADP iPay, etc), would be somehow obligated to make available, in a standardized format/protocol, the same transactional data they show me now on statements or their website, in an EDI fashion, to me or my authorized agent. And my fictional MyMoneyManager online service would have some way, via PKI kinds of technologies with revocation, etc, to be authorized by me to fetch this data on my behalf. And the FIs, etc, would be obligated to provide it given this authorization of agency from me. Just like they let me see it on their website or on the statements they send me or let me download. (There's only one FI/non-FI account for which I still get monthly paper statements. They have essentially zero online account management. Truly Luddite.) Think of it--no passwords (with different rules on each different website), no secret questions (Name of your mother's youngest second cousin's first lover? Month of your favorite issue of Mad Magazine when you were in seventh grade?), no 101 different ways to download/name the monthly PDFs, etc, ad nauseum. With this, and a robust capability to manage the interpretation of this data (i.e., payee rules manager on steroids), I'd gladly use downloaded transaction data.

    Wednesday, February 7, 2018 6:42 PM
  • It's funny, I don't really know what is the MUST HAVE feature of MS Money.  I am just so comfortable with it and have been using it for so long.  There are a few things mentioned above that I definitely care about though:

    • Local data
    • Ability to import ofx transactions (wish Canada made it easy through pocketsense like many banks in the USA)
    • Portfolio tracking
    • Reports

    Although I want a local data copy held by me, I do store it on google drive to use on various computers, and often forget to close Money on one computer and end up with multiple half-updated versions.  I'd love for something in the future to be accessible by multiple users at the same time.

    Thursday, February 8, 2018 3:18 AM
  • Here's my 2 cents. I'm with Cal on the "Must Have" and the "Almost As Good As" items and I agree with Joeags that I'm comfortable with Money and love it as it is. My trusty 2006 version is still going strong (with sometimes help from Cal & other Forum members) - I'm constantly finding new features, and figuring out ways to do things that I had thought couldn't be done. I have done accounting in various capacities all my working life as cashier, bookkeeper, trust accountant, IT systems engineer for insurance company claims and retirement applications (I retired in Jan, 1994, but am still doing my own) and I believe that Microsoft doesn't realize the tremendous contribution Money was to individuals who handled their own personal and business accounting. I started out in the 1980s with Bob Parsons' "Money Counts" and was disgruntled when somebody bought him out and then scrapped the program. I've tried Quicken and QuickBooks and neither of them have the depth and capacity of Money. I think we need to convince Microsoft to BRING BACK Money in all its glory. They can figure out how to hitch it to cloud storage (for those who want that); import all our old files of 20 years of data without conversion; integrate with banks, credit card companies and brokerages with bill payment, downloaded transactions and online statements (I still like mine printed and in my hand); add all of Cal's "Nice to Have" items; and (for me) add a reports module to the Home Inventory feature (I can't believe they didn't provide that - anyway, I can't find it). I can dream, can't I??? Lydia (LAS77)
    Tuesday, August 14, 2018 2:42 AM
  • I believe that Microsoft doesn't realize the tremendous contribution Money was to individuals who handled their own personal and business accounting. ... I think we need to convince Microsoft to BRING BACK Money in all its glory.
    Whether Microsoft knows how important Money was/is to some of us or not, they absolutely did know that not enough people were willing to pay for it often enough, and at a high enough price, to justify investing in its development. I see ZERO evidence that dynamic has changed from 2011 and, if anything, it's accelerated. The vast majority of home users are just not willing to spend money on software--or more than a few bucks, app store style. Nor are they willing to do it repeatedly to support ongoing support and development. If Microsoft cares to look, and I have no clue, they could be seeing the telemetry from each time Money is started out there. From this they could know how many Money users are still out there, how often they use it, etc. I'm guessing they either don't care enough to look or aren't seeing any data that suggests we are more than a small group of incredibly loyal dead-enders.
    Monday, September 10, 2018 5:30 PM
  • What is slightly sad is that the original business model for Money ran out of steam, and Microsoft did not morph Money to a subscription model.

    At inception (1995) relatively few people had access to the Internet and paying separately for downloading of share prices would not have been lucrative, presumably it made better commercial sense to modify the program and resell it every year. Some of us believe that became a process of 'two steps forward and one step back' ~ in any event it was bound to run out of steam when Money became 'perfect'.

    A subscription model for share price updates, similar to the subscription model for anti-virus definitions, might have worked but I must suppose Microsoft concluded that not enough people would pay enough per month such that total income to them would cover the cost of providing the share price update service.


    Sunday, September 23, 2018 4:26 PM