Saturday, March 13, 2010

Using financial software.

Like many of you, my wife and I are streamlining our finances.  In doing this, we have been searching for financial software to help us understand what is now a complicated set of accounts.  I have been a little disappointed in personal financial software in the past. So much so that I have purchased, tried and stopped using it. However, some of the software has now improved.  And standardization of bank to financial software protocols is proceeding apace.  We've looked at a number of options before settling on Quicken's Home and Business Software.  The choices are somewhat limited. Microsoft has given up the development of Money. GNUCash is a fascinating program, but somewhat clunky (especially on Windows) when compared with Quicken. The interlink between your bank and your smart-phone is still sketchy for most.

Good personal financial software should at least make you think about your expenses and income. Even so, it is an exhausting task with multiple accounts, many creditors, and increasing costs. To be frank, there are two overriding thoughts that occur to me being a "debt-strapped" member of the middle class about day to day economy:

(1) The level of complication of middle class financial life has increase dramatically
(2) the inflation of services, food, energy costs has increased dramatically as well

It is sobering to realize that in managing your internet/cable, smart phones, hybrid vehicle payments, heavily refinanced home that you have become dependent on technology and services your parents and you did just fine without not too long ago.  Almost as sobering are the increasing costs for utilities, school, energy and food.  Where did the simpler life go?

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