Lion and Quicken Essentials

When Mac OS 10.7 (Lion) came out and Rosetta support was dumped, I had to make a decision about my financial software situation. Having used Quicken since 1996 and now Quicken 2007 (Rosetta required), I needed to either stay with OS 10.6 or move to a different financial application. My first move was to try Quicken Essentials which was not exactly a smooth transition. Disappointed with QE, I tried iBank which I wanted to love but couldn’t adapt to their workflow. So I kept using Quicken 2007 and stayed on OS 10.6.

Last week, I revisited the updated Quicken Essentials and tried to start fresh. Dragging over 15 years or so of data wasn’t really needed (I also have an old Mac Mini which is hardware constrained so it won’t run Lion, hence it’s stuck on Snow Leopard and my Quicken 2007 will have a safe archive). I typed my login information for my credit cards and bank and surprisingly, in came 12 months worth of transactions seamlessly. Sure the categories needed to be customized a bit but I was up and running pretty quickly. Playing around a bit more, I found QE will export a txf file and I can set up tax related categories. I find that downloading transactions every couple of days works well and tedious reconciliation of accounts is done painlessly and without intervention. 

Make no mistake, QE is really quite barebones. Still can’t set up a loan amortization schedule. What’s changed is that I decided that I didn’t need to have all my information at my desktop fingertips like I had to have years ago before broadband connections and online banking/bill pay. If I need to see where my Federal witholding is, I go online to my employer’s finance website and look at my last pay stub. If I need to see how much principal is left on an equity loan, I go to my bank’s website and look it up. If I want to see my investment portfolio, I log on to my broker’s web site and get a look. 

If you still need all the functionality of Quicken 2007 and want to move to Lion, the nice folks at Intuit have decided to make a Lion friendly version of Quicken 2007 sometime in the near future. 

Quicken Essentials for Mac; Worse than Advertised

I bought Quicken Essentials with my 50% off discount that came with Turbo Tax and finally downloaded it tonight. I had read all about the limited feature set but I figured for $30 or so, give it a whirl. I had over 5000 checking transactions going back to 1998. No less than 58 duplicates after importing my old Quicken 07 file. Took about an hour to get my checking balance to reconcile working through all the duplicates. I knew Essentials didn’t track individual Buy and Sells like Quicken 07 but I figured I could live with that considering my brokerage statement is pretty complete. I also knew I wouldn’t be able to import into Turbo Tax but I always double and triple check the imports anyway so maybe that’s not a big deal. However, the deal breaker for me was you can’t set up a loan amortization schedule in Essentials. Seriously?

I wanted to like Essentials but it took about an hour before I realized the lack of basic features can’t be worked around.