Microsoft Money Discontinued But Still Popular
Microsoft discontinued development of MS Money in 2009. Despite the product being discontinued, and the free "Sunset" version being crippled, About.com reports that "MS Money" is still the most searched for term in their Personal Finance forums.
Other Better Tools Now Available
It's funny how we get used to something and would just rather stick with it rather than change - even if the change is a much better option. Think about how so many people took a long time before even trying a bank ATM and still waited in line for the teller at rediculous banking hours.
Similarly with personal finance software, since MS Money's sunset, many other personal finance tools have emerged with varying degrees of success, and many much easier to use and more functional. MS Money always cost money, but today, there are many free options available that devlier more functionality than MS Money ever could have.
Online Software Has Clear Advantages
MS Money is installed software; that is, you have to download the product and install in on your machine. Installed software has many downfalls including:
- You have to install it
- You have to install and mange upgrades
- It takes up space on your computer
- You have to be physically on the machine that you installed the software on in order to use it
- It's not very secure (computer theft means your information is available to the thief)
Online software overcomes all of these disadvantages by:
- Running in your web browser of mobile device (nothing to install and upgrades happen automtacally)
- Access from anywhere you have internet access (virtually everywhere)
- Security is based on username and password with bank-level security online
Many online personal finance solutions have emerged that specialize in different things.
Forecasting Your Balance is Key To Successful Planning
The key to success in personal finance planning is the ability to see what your finances will look like if you do certain things, like buy a house, or go on an expensive vacation. Tools like CalendarBudget, which allow you to forecast your account balance based on your bills, expenses and spending plans are super valuable because they give you that important visiblity into your future finances. When choosing a personal finance tool, this forecasting tool is must-have.
Automatic Downloading Is Convenient, But Be Careful
MS Money used to automatically download your bank files to keep you up to date. This was a very desireable feature and there are some online substitutes which still do this, but be forewarned. Any software that automtaically logs into your bank account requires your bank username and password and thus is a potential security breach. Even if the software is "read-only", the fact that you give your bank username and password to a 3rd party violates (in many cases) your security agreemetn with your bank. If anything ever happened to your account resulting in lost funds, you would be without recourse since you'd have violated this policy. Notably, several banks in Canada have recently warned that you put yourself at risk using these type of services.
CalenarBudget does not automatically download your bank file, but you can export your transactions and then import them into CalendarBudget, which is the best way to mitigate this concern and still make it convenient to keep your plan up to date.
Move Forward With New Budgeting Software
Staying with dead software, even though it may be familiar, is just not wise in the long-run. Take advantage of new advances in user-interface and online software by selecting a suitable replacement. Not only will you immediately find yourself using better, more productive tools, you'll be in a position to take advantage of ongoing updates to software that is constantly being improved.