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Quicken 2013 Review





Starting today, the new version of Quicken is available for purchase. While Mint.com and other online services are now very popular for tracking personal finances, I've stuck with Quicken for many years. This desktop software from Intuit has many advanced features - and basic features dealing with investments - that will never be built into Mint.com. For people serious about tracking personal finances, Quicken is the only software to use.

Although Quicken isn't the only desktop software for tracking personal finances still being developed, Quicken's biggest competitor, Moneydance, is much less sophisticated. Quicken's former toughest competitor, Microsoft Money, has been defunct for several years. The lack of real competition and Intuit's plan to focus more on Mint.com have both contributed to Quicken's slow progress over recent years.

With Quicken 2013, the story is different. There are incremental changes to some features with a number of slight improvements - and these are improvements that the community has been requesting for several years - the biggest change is the addition of a mobile experience.

Improvements to budgeting functionality

Intuit pays attention. The new budget planner was introduces last year and offered a much improved experience for planning full-year budgets and visualizing actual spending and income against the plan. In last year's review, I wrote the following:

One drawback to Quicken's budgeting tool is that it does not include a rollover feature. For example, if you budget for an expense of $200 in groceries each month, but you only spent $150, the extra $50 is lost. In real life, and in other budgeting software, that $50 would be available to add to the following month's spending on groceries, but Quicken does not automatically handle surpluses.

This problem has been solved in Quicken 2013. Budget surpluses can be assigned to different spending categories within the same month or rolled over to the next. There is less of a focus on strict monthly numbers than a broader view of the concept of budgeting.

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