Mac Quicken (in Canada) ?

One of the really lousy things that Intuit (or Quicken) did to Canadians, is they stopped having a version of Mac Quicken that worked in Canada for about the past 10 years. Mac Quicken 2007 is the last supported version of Quicken that runs on a Mac (and works with Canadian banks). I have heard that Mac Quicken 2007 no longer works with either the current Mac OS, and/or the current Canadian Banks.

There is actually a very good article about how you can use VMWare to run a PC version of Quicken on your Mac. The article outlines the steps needed, and is an excellent resource for those that feel they are nerdy enough to get it to work (thanks to InvestorJunkie).

Mac Quicken

Never in Canada is my guess that you will ever see Mac Quicken

The Mac Quicken Challenge

As my regular readers know, I am that nerdy, so I tried this out, and it worked, but, not the way I wanted.

The Mac I used was a MacBook Pro with 8 GB of memory running, Mac OS Sierra.

You can download a trial version of VMware (which will give you 30 days to try things out). You will need to either have a spare Windows 7, 8 or 10 license hanging around (or you can run that on a trial Windows license as well).

The VMware Fusion documentation is really straight forward (IMHO) so setting up your PC environment while  time consuming is straight forward. The hard part is figuring out how much memory and disk space you want your VM to use. On my system I gave it 4 GB of memory and 60 GB of disk space (which was on an external USB hard drive)). This seemed to be sufficient to get it all running.

You will also need to have a Quicken for PC license (click here to buy from Quicken). I had a license, so this cost me nothing, if you don’t have a spare license, I would think about whether you want to spend that much money on an experiment.

I installed Quicken, and then restored an old Quicken image and gave it a try out.

This hybrid Mac Quicken worked, no problem, however, I found VMFusion as being a cumbersome process on my laptop (it might work better if you were running on a Mac Mini or a desktop system, which might have more processing power or memory). I was also comparing run my Hybrid Mac Quicken to running Quicken on an older PC Laptop (Dell) that I had lying around.

Mac Quicken Findings

Both versions of Quicken worked fine, the advantage the VMWare version has is that I can run it on your Mac wherever, but with the PC Quicken, I had to have the PC available (using Remote Desktop) to make it work.

In the end I found the VMFusion idea a little too cumbersome for my liking, it kept slowing my laptop down, and bringing up Mac Quicken was slow to begin with.

I have stuck with running Quicken on my old laptop, but it was a very interesting experiment, I am not saying this is a bad idea, it just didn’t work the way I wanted it to work.

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Quicken 2016 Canadian Edition Review

Quicken has come out with a new version of Quicken (Quicken 2016), which has many great new features. I’d love to be able to write that, but there is no way I can, as usual the 2016 version (in Canada) is similar to Quicken 2015 in its complete lack of new features (in the Canadian edition).

If you look at the US Edition and all of its fantastic new features (including a version that runs on the Mac!) you’d think things are going great, however in the Canadian edition, you get:

  • Nothing new. Some bug fixes, but no new functionality (that I can see).
Quicken 2016 Canadian Edition

Quicken 2016

In fact, if you look closely at the “About” entry in the “Quicken 2016” that I paid about $100 for, you see:

Release R 2 (25.2.8)
Canadian Edition
© 2015 Intuit Canada ULC

Excuse me? It is not even copyrighted for this year? Suggests to me, this is a simple bug fix release, and not even a “new” version, however when I downloaded it, the name given was:

Quicken Home & Business 2016 – Download

In fact, Intuit Canada, seems to have nothing to do with Quicken Canadian edition, you have to go to the Quicken.com/Canada web site to find information out about it.

Why did I buy this? My Quicken 2015 wouldn’t actually work anymore, so I figured I’d try the new version and that does seem to have fixed my issues, except I still can’t download investment information without it crashing. If you read the Quicken web site, you can see they are encouraging folks to keep upgrading your system:

In an ongoing effort to provide reliable high-quality products and services, Intuit periodically retires (also known as “sunsets or discontinues”) older versions of Quicken, thereby discontinuing online services and live technical phone and email support for these versions….. Sunsetting older versions of Quicken allows us to focus resources on enhancing our products and providing support for more current versions, which are used by the vast majority of Quicken customers.

Review of Quicken 2016 Canadian Edition

If your Quicken 2015 (Canadian Edition) is working just fine, then give Quicken 2016 a pass, maybe something better will show up next year? Note there is no link to where you can buy this product, and I do not suggest you do so, wait and see what Quicken will do about this product.

I will continue to use the software, but that is because I have no other option (even though I am mostly running in a Mac environment ).

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Quicken and Transfering Mutual Funds?

So I tripped across an interesting feature in Quicken’s investment tracking feature where, in one transaction (well, it does the delete and add transaction for you from what I can see), Quicken transfer mutual funds from one account to another. Big deal you say? Well for me over the past few weeks, this has made my life simpler tracking my TD Mutual Fund Savings Accounts.

Next question, why do you have TD Mutual fund accounts, aren’t you a TD Waterhouse dude? Well I didn’t initially start with TD Mutual Fund accounts (remember there are 3 different silos in TD, the Banking Side, The Mutual Fund Side and TD Waterhouse (there is also insurance and a few other sides, but I shall leave them out for discussion purposes)). When I first opened RESPs, and an “Emergency” account I was a customer of Canada Trust, and they didn’t really have an “Investing Wing” (and I wouldn’t have known what to do back then).

Quicken transfer mutual funds

Another intricate Dance to Change Things at TD

When TD purchased CT long ago (a transaction in terms of the TD computer systems is not complete, I’d like to point out), all my CT Mutual Fund accounts became TD Mutual Fund accounts. All of my CT mutual funds turned into I-series TD Mutual Funds (again, before I really understood the problems with higher MER Mutual Funds).

I finally got off my lazy derriere and have transferred all of those I-Series funds to E-series funds, using the same models as outlined in Ideal Portfolios  :

TDB909 – TD Canadian Bond Index (e-Series)
TDB900 – TD Canadian Index (e-Series)
TDB902 – TD US Index (e-Series)
TDB911 – TD International Index (e-Series)

To be able to use these Index Funds in your Mutual Fund account you must Mail (by Canada Post, no Faxes allowed) the following:

Your TD e-Series Funds account is opened after your original, signed application, and TD e-Series Funds Understanding and Consent form are received by TD Investment Services Inc. (TDIS). Unfortunately, we are unable to accept applications by fax.

This is assuming you already have an account. If you don’t have an account, might I suggest going straight to TD Waterhouse (and not worry about opening a “TD Mutual Fund” account)?

Once you get all of your “OK you can use them” confirmations, you can simply go on-line and use Quicken transfer mutual funds to move the associated I-series fund to an E-series fund (and thus save on MERs and such).

Finally we have reached the Quicken part of the discussion, if you have your Mutual Fund savings account set up in Quicken (and why wouldn’t you?), you would go to the account and simply choose Enter Transaction .

If you search down the list of possible transactions (once the dialog box comes up), select Mutual Fund Conversion, and the dialog box will then only ask you for:

  • Date of the Transfer
  • The Mutual Fund it is coming “from”
  • The New Mutual Fund to use (you may have to create that in Quicken)
  • How many shares were created of the New Fund
  • How much the price was (per share) of the new fund

And let it run it’s merry way. Quicken removes the holdings of the old security and adds the new security holdings to your account, and you are now tracking the right funds.

I have always been pretty lazy when it has come to tracking my investments, but I am trying hard to keep a closer track of all of my various investment vehicles (as I close in on retirement).

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Quicken 2015 Canadian Edition

One of the nice perks of this blog is that folks like to hear my opinions on books and utilities, and this time I was lucky enough to get a copy of Quicken 2015 Canadian Edition. For full disclosure, I am a Quicken “fanboy”, as I have been using it for about 15 years, I will try to have a balanced point of view on the utility (but I do use it, and will continue to use it).

Review

Quicken 2015 Canadian Edition at Amazon

Quicken 2015 Canadian Edition at Amazon

I am using the full blow Quicken Home & Business, so this is the full-blown version (of Quicken 2015 Canadian Edition). I should use the business functions more, and if I do that I will have a separate review of that functionality.

It was interesting that Intuit seems to have changed their file formats so the first thing that the install does (after removing the old version of Quicken) is convert your data files to a new format. This always worries the hell out of me, so it would be very prudent to make sure that you do a full back up of your Quicken files before you do the upgrade.

I didn’t get a “boxed” version of the software, so I have had to do some sleuthing to find out what is new with Quicken 2015 Canadian Edition, but the first thing I noticed is that in the US Version there is a feature called, Portfolio X-ray, and it does not appear to be included in the Canadian version. I keep hearing rumors that the Canadian version of Quicken may be discontinued and this doesn’t help give me a warm fuzzy on the topic. The other missing feature from the American version is a free credit score check.

After my initial sadness about these missing features, I did go on to find Quicken 2015 Canadian Edition did have some useful new tools for me. The official website says the following features are useful:

  • Helps you choose the TFSA account type when setting up an investment account
  • Lets you review and work with transactions from your spending, asset and liability accounts with the All Transactions register
  • A projected account balances graph that shows you how much money you have left after upcoming bills and income
  • Bond maturity report
  • Investment Transactions report now displays a shares subtotal

These are all useful things for investing folks (like me) to help with tracking their investments. The fact that a TFSA is an account type is very useful as well, although I suspect this was in Quicken 2012 as well.

I also like that they have added an ability to “look forward” in your spending, for an extended period, using the Show Reminders function (it’s a little alarm clock in the upper right corner). I “look ahead” at the reminders I have at least a month ahead to remind me of the bills that I have set up as reminders in Quicken (a very useful function). The reminders are now marked with a clock to show that they are coming soon.

Another interesting feature (that is not new in this release) is the ability to attach images (like scanned receipts and such) to a transaction, thus you are able to track those things and can produce the receipt if requested (as well).

Symantec CA
I took advantage of the update to set a password on my file, so that if it somehow got into the wrong hands it would take a little work to be able to get the data out of it. I am still wrestling with the automatic update function with the banks. I think TD doesn’t like Quicken talking to it, without me being involved.

Overall View

Given the time of the season Quicken is a great way to organize yourself for the holidays and plan your finances for the new year.

I think this is as good a tool for most folks to track their spending. There are other tools around, but this tried and true tool works great (for me) and can make your life simpler.

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Spring Financial Cleaning

I spent a busy weekend taking care of many small tasks that have piled up over the long cold winter here in Ottawa. One of the most important that I have procrastinated about is cleaning up my Quicken data files, as they have been neglected for a while. I have updated the files with new data, but there was a lot of information that just never got cleaned up.

To make a tool like Quicken, or whatever tool you use to track your finances, useful it needs to be up to date and reflect your current financial standing, and I was not happy to see that I had left around:

  • The mortgage to my previous house was hanging around as a “hidden” account, with basically the balance from when I bought that house. Not sure how it got to that state, but cleaning that up, suddenly made my balance sheet look a lot less lopsided.
  • There were at least 2 RRSP, and two mutual fund savings accounts that were hanging around as well, that have been long since closed, that added a little too much optimism to my retirement planning as well.
  • All of the RESP accounts and pretty much all the remaining active RRSP accounts did not reflect the actual investment levels in them, due to me simply dumping money into the account without actually completing the task by “purchasing” the investment vehicles used.
  • Most of the accumulation from DRIPs and mutual fund reinvestment were also not reflected in the savings accounts as well.

Needless to say this took a very long time (some very quiet swearing) and a few huge mistakes that had to be undone, to fix up most of these issues, but now I think I have most of it straightened out.

The biggest issue I have with Quicken as a tool is that it seems to work very nicely with day-to-day banking things, however, as soon as you enter into investing too many things become far too manual, and then far too easy to procrastinate about.

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