Ask CTC: what software should I use to keep my finances in order?

man w laptop

Dear CTC:

We are retired and I most definitely want to keep my finances in order for when our children must step in to help.  Not quite ready yet, although we have put our son on our accounts.  I have used Quicken for years, no longer supported, as well as Microsoft Money Plus, which I am not as familiar with.  In order to “start fresh” at the beginning of year, what do you suggest I do.  Just delete or restart my Money account or use a completely new program? 

Joan — Iron River, MI

Dear Joan,

Thank you for your question. Keeping track of our money is vital to money management, budgeting, and saving. Unfortunately, tracking money isn’t always easy, which is one of the reasons why the market for financial management software is so big. Previously, we mentioned just a few of the many financial management apps available on phones and tablets. If you’re looking for software for your PC or Mac, you have plenty of options too.

Our first suggestion would be to stick with Quicken or Microsoft Money Plus since both are highly-regarded products with which you already have some experience. This way, you won’t have to learn a completely new program. However, if these are no longer an option, or if you are simply looking for something new, ask your son if he has any opinions on the matter. If he (or any other children) will be responsible for your finances, you’ll want to make sure he is comfortable using whatever program you decide to purchase.

As you probably know, not all financial management software are the same, so before shopping around, decide what you need your software to do. For example, do you want to be able to sync bank accounts with the software? Automate and pay bills? View investments? Develop a budget? Developing a set of criteria will help you quickly eliminate software that does not fit your needs.

To get you started, here are three popular and generally well-reviewed options that offer free trials. Since we have not thoroughly reviewed these products ourselves, we can’t recommend one over the others. Regardless, the best one for you will depend on what your needs are.



YNAB (You Need A Budget)

Lastly, in addition to using software to keep track of your finances, you’ll want to make sure that all of your financial papers are in order too: mortgage documents, insurance information, tax returns, wills, etc. Check out our “Your Stuff” booklet for help getting this information organized.

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