Manage your finances on your PC


January 11, 1993|By PETER H. LEWIS

For those who resolved to manage their personal finances better in 1993, there are several ways a personal computer can help. The latest versions of the leading personal finance programs, including Quicken, Managing Your Money, Microsoft Money and Moneycounts, have been made easier to use.

Ease of use is built into these programs, and users can make it even easier for themselves by switching to a computerized system early in the year.

The later in the year the switch takes place, the more time will be spent going back to enter old transactions.

For owners of Windows PCs who want the easiest way to do simple checkbook management and budgeting, Microsoft Money 2.0 is an inexpensive solution.

Microsoft Money 2.0 has automated features that help the user with basic chores, from making a budget to balancing the checkbook. The command structure is so easy that a moderately skilled Windows user ought to be able to use it without the manual.

But the program lacks features for people with ambitious financial needs, especially in financial planning and portfolio management. For owners of DOS PCs who want to do checkbook management with a little more power for financial analysis, Quicken 6.0 for DOS is the best bet.

As the established leader, Quicken is also a safe bet; almost all the other financial packages work with its data. Quicken 6.0 is the only program besides Microsoft Money that is easier to use than the paper-and-checkbook system it is intended to replace. It also sorts financial information painlessly, saving hours of sifting through paper chits. Most people will find Quicken to be the best choice for their needs.

For owners of DOS PCs who want the most comprehensive financial planning package available, plus easy-to-use checkbook and portfolio management, calendar, to-do list, simple word processor and tax planner, the best (and only) choice is Managing Your Money 9.0.

Managing Your Money is unsurpassed for financial planning, including tasks like figuring out mortgage payments, calculating how much life insurance you need,and doing lease-buy analyses.

It is also a great tool for tracking investments, including real estate and collectibles. It also keeps track of bank accounts with ease.

For owners of Macintosh computers, the choice is Quicken 3.0 or Managing Your Money 5.0. Both have essentially the same strengths and weaknesses as their PC counterparts, and cost the same.

For DOS users who speak accounting language, Moneycounts 7.0 Personal Addition is an impressive update of what formerly was an accounting program.

Although the Personal Addition is easier to use than earlier Moneycounts versions, it requires more study than any of the other programs mentioned here.

(Peter Lewis works out of the New York Times' Austin, Texas, bureau: [512] 328-8258.)

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.