Now that the financial year is winding up for many of you, it might be a good idea to start the new year with a better way of spending, saving and tracking your money. Last week I mentioned Quicken, a program I use, as a great program. This week Christopher Meeks will tell you about the new version of Andrew Tobias' Managing Your Money.
MECA, Managing Your Money's manufacturer, has done something I've never seen or heard of before: It has totally reinvented a popular program, betting that loyal users will throw out old ways of thinking and learn new ways. MECA had to do something; Quicken had quickly become a leader. I switched over from Managing Your Money last year. Chris didn't, and he tells you why below.
A year ago, I heard that Andrew Tobias' Managing Your Money, a home-finance software system that I had become dependent upon over the course of five years, was going to change drastically with Version 7. This news made me cancel my plans of switching to Quicken.
Managing Your Money Version 7.0 has similar features to Quicken 4.0 while retaining MYM's previous strengths. MYM is now, I would say, the state-of-the-art program in home finance.
Previously, MYM arranged itself by "chapters," broad categories such as budget, financial calculation and net worth. Now when you go into MYM, you're presented with a menu bar at the top of your screen.
Before, MYM had so many menus that you could lose yourself by getting caught up in a menu-within-a-menu-within-a-menu. I thought report generation was particularly confusing on MYM because I had to mix budget archives with present activity. Now, because there are no separate archived files, report generation is much easier.
Overall, MYM's streamlined operation lends itself to faster learning.
Many subtle changes also impress me. The reminder pad, which I always had pop up when I entered the program the first time each day (a handy way to remember birthdays), is easier to leave. Budget categories are easier to set when writing checks.
The only negative to this new version is that it sucks up memory. The budget archiving of previous versions had a purpose: It freed up memory, allowing certain features to run fast.
While I find that Version 7 offers more speed than ever in many areas, there are a few bottlenecks. For instance, it takes 16 seconds on my 286 computer for a check to first appear after I invoke the "spend money" command.
Andrew Tobias' Managing Your Money lists for $249; an upgrade from previous versions is $54.95.
(MECA, 327-D Riverside Ave., Westport, Conn. 06881;  222-9150.)