6 Things to Consider When Buying Personal Finance Software

Sometimes it seems as though nothing is simple any more. Our world is no longer one that is divided by simple choices like paper or plastic. Instead, we are constantly introduced to tons of products.

When I recently started shopping for a new personal finance software I was immediately overwhelmed by all the options. My quest was to find the best personal finance software, but I quickly found out that ‘the best’ is in the eye of the beholder.

Desktop or Online?

Online programs have an advantage in that they are often free and always portable. Some folks love the fact that they can check up on their finances while on the road away from their computer.

On the other hand, desktop programs typically appeal to those who are not comfortable entering their own private security passwords online.

Free or paid?

It almost seems silly to ask if you want a paid product, but the thing to know is that most free products are free because of the advertising. Some people would rather forge all the ads and pay for a products.

What is the most important feature for you?

I think this is the most important question to ask because certain financial software specializes in different things. For example, if you are looking for the best foreign currency features you would probably consider Moneydance. For budgeting You Need A Budget is recommended. Quicken seems to have the best way to track investments.

Accessible from multiple computers or just one?

Similar to our first question (desktop or online) you need to decide if you will be using multiple computers or just one. Some desktop software only sell a single license that can only be downloaded on one computer. Therefore, if you use multiple computers in your home make sure you can legally have the said software on each computer.

Is it compatible with your bank and other financial institutions?

If you bank with a small institution or a credit union I would suggest calling the the software company before buying the product to see if they are compatible with your bank. In addition to credit unions it seems like lots of software has issues with the ING Direct security features.

Price and Upgrading

Once you’ve compared everything and determined your favorite software then you final step is to consider the price. When comparing the prices it is important to find out if the product requires must be updated occasionally. Quicken, as an example, requires you to buy a new license about every three years. Technically they don’t require it, but if you want to use online banking then you need then you need to buy the newest Quicken product. This last time my Quicken expired they did offer 25% off an upgrade. Moneydance, on the other hand, never requires an upgrade.

Once you have decide on what product you want if it is a paid product don’t forget to spend some time searching the internet for special deals or promotions.