In this article I would like to conduct a personal finance software review of the Quicken product offerings designed for personal use. There are several personal finance software products on the market that do wonderful jobs of helping families manage their finances, but I am most familiar with Quicken as I have been a user of its products for over eight years. I have been completely satisfied with the features Quicken provides and would like to review and compare the benefits that its product offerings deliver.
Quicken Starter Edition
Formerly known as Quicken Basic, the Quicken Starter Edition is an excellent solution for individuals who will be using personal finance software for the first time. The three main features the Quicken Starter Edition delivers are: (1) balancing of your checkbook electronically, (2) tracking how you spend your money by being able to categorize purchases, and (3) monitoring and updating all your investment and banking accounts in one place. It basically provides a "one-stop shop" for all of your personal finance concerns.
Although the Quicken Starter Edition is a fantastic product, I believe the average family considering a personal finance software product should start with Quicken Deluxe. The reason is that, in addition to offering all of the features of the Quicken Starter Edition, Quicken Deluxe provides the capability to download banking and investment account transactions automatically. This makes reconciling your checking account, as well as your other accounts, extremely simple. In addition, Quicken Deluxe allows you to create savings goals and track their progress, store statements and records electronically, and plan for a new home, a baby, or retirement. For most families, this is the best place to start.
For those families who manage their own investments and require additional tools to monitor and measure their progress, Quicken Premier is the perfect solution. Quicken Premier offers all of the wonderful features from Quicken Deluxe plus several others, including: (1) generating various investment performance reports, (2) analyzing and optimizing your portfolio with special tools, (3) generating Schedule A, B, and D tax reports, and (4) setting investment alerts to notify you when certain conditions are in place. A truly remarkable tool for the do-it-yourself investor!
Quicken Home & Business
The three software solutions above are all excellent choices, but if you own your own business, none of these will be sufficient for the additional monitoring and record keeping required of you. Enter Quicken Home and Business. Though not as powerful a solution as Intuit's QuickBooks products, it is the perfect choice if you have a small business with no payroll requirements, or especially for a part time business. In addition to providing all of the wonderful features of Quicken Premier, Quicken Home and Business allows: (1) tracking and categorizing of both business and personal expenses, (2) creating customized estimates and invoices, (3) generating profit and loss reports, (4) tracking vehicle mileage and other Schedule C items, and (5) monitoring upcoming bills and unpaid invoices. If you are considering a small part-time business, this solution is perfect to get you started.
In conclusion, Quicken offers a wonderful lineup of products that are designed to meet the varying needs that different families require. This personal finance software review has aimed to provide you with a basic overview of each product to help you decide which solution would be most appropriate for your family. Hopefully this discussion convinces you of the incredible value personal finance software delivers to its users. I can only speak from personal experience.