Monday, August 11, 2008

Personal Finance

Earlier this month we got a pop-up in Microsoft Money warning us that our two years of online services would be expiring starting next month. That was a new thing that started a few years ago, that even the fully-purchased version of the software was time-bombed to stop being able to work with the Internet after two years from activation. Party like it's 1996, I guess.

The trouble is what to replace our (artificially) aging copy of Money 2006 with. My initial instinct was just to buy Money 2009 and continue on like we always have. Unfortunately I had read just a few days prior that they announced Money 2009 was not coming out and in fact the 2008 version was only going to be sold online and there was no set release schedule for future versions. But they are leaving the two year time-bomb in place.

Sounds like a dead and/or dying product to me.

So then I started trying out Mint.com instead, despite Linzy's valid concerns about security. That would be tolerably close, except that it is missing the only two features that I actually really want in Microsoft Money, electronic bill pay and investment tracking. That plus the fact that it only intermittently works with TCF Bank makes it a non-starter.

That put me back in the camp of just buying Microsoft Money again despite its likely limited lifespan, and then trying Mint.com again in two years. Except that when I actually went to order the $29.99 version of the software it turned out to be $49.99. Apparently 'average' retail price doesn't apply now that you buy the software direct from the manufacturer. Today they change the site to imply there may be a rebate, but it doesn't appear to be possible to actually download the form anywhere.

Another possibility would be changing banks to somewhere that offers online bill pay and a better Internet experience with Mint.com then TCF, and cross my fingers that the long-rumored investment features come soon. But that requires even more effort then trying to track down a $20 rebate form, in addition to adding recurring hassle to our lives since we wouldn't be able to use the Cub banks.

All of that combines to leave me without an obvious solution to the problem of personal finance software. The whole thing is quite annoying.

1 comment:

Moe said...

Yeah, I've been using MS Money for years now, but thought I'd try both Yodlee and Mint for a few months, just to see how they compare. I stopped using Yodlee, but Mint is very nice, and should get even better, with little updates that a bigger product like MS Money would have to wait for.

I'll probably stick to using both for a while longer, to see which I like in the long run, but yeah, it's a lot more complicated than it should be.