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).

There is a newer version of Quicken out there, and I have reviewed Quicken 2016 as well.

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 task that I have procrastinated about is cleaning up my Quicken data files. I have done some quicken spring financial cleaning, 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 must be up to date and reflect your current financial standing.  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.
  • Growth from DRIPs and mutual fund reinvestment were also not included in the savings accounts as well.

My Spring Cleaning Findings

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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Two Sentence Financial Horror Stories

That was my challenge to my readers and the two most hideous stories would win boxed copies of Quicken and the two most hideous stories (in my opinion) were:

“Gold can never go down,” said my broker.
I took his advise and put my life savings into gold at $1,944.

This scary short story came from oakvilleon and man I believe I uttered a blood curdling scream when I first read it. Whoever gave that advice really should be in a different line of business.

I Know What You Did With your Money!

I Know What You Did With your Money!

The second horror story goes this way:

It was late in 2007, I had just been retired, the decision was to keep my pension plan or get paid out. Adviser said “we can beat those returns”, yah right!

Wayne Stuart left this one, and it really hit a horrified chord with me because I had the same kind of decision to make with my pension money when I got laid off, luckily I got some better advice.

Wayne and Oakvilleon have been informed and soon a boxed copy of Quicken 2013 will be whisking it’s way to them.

There were other strong horror stories that I include in this post, for your horrified reading pleasure:

Bought Nortel @ $10 (after it went down from $100). Still “own” it.

CBor was almost a winner with that one, as I did the same mistake, horrifying!

The Debt Collector snarled, “Pay up now; you know we are just going to keep calling until you pay us!” Sure you will, right up until I declare bankruptcy, that is!”, I replied.

Not as much scary as ironic, in my opinion, but still scary in it’s own way from Denis.

I knew it was the biggest financial commitment I would ever make in my lifetime. Can we afford the mortgage and other financial commitments of a $2,000,000 house?

Holy mother of pearl, $2,000,000 house? This nail biter from Adam had me screaming WHY????

 

 

 

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Quicken Giveaway Contest

So I have  2 copies of Quicken (Home & Business 2013) to giveaway, that has been donated to me, and I was trying to figure out what criteria I should use, and then I read a very interesting post on Reddit, that I am going to steal as the test concept:

In a comment for this post, in two sentences write the most terrifying personal finance story ever!

Two sentences only, but it has to be financially horrifying. A simple example might be:

Quicken Giveaway

He knew it was the biggest mistake he could make but he needed the money to get her ring back from the pawn broker. Slowly he turned the knob at the Pay Day Loan store.

Duh, Duh, Duh!!!! That is horrifying to me at least.

The two best two-line horror stories (as judged by a Blue Ribbon Panel) that are left as a comment to this post before Midnight Wednesday August 14th 2013, will be mailed a copy of the software (yes it’s actually in a box). You must leave a valid E-mail address to win (if I can’t contact you, you can’t win). If you don’t reply to my e-mail about winning by the Friday, another comment will be chosen.

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The Process is Not Necessarily the Solution

I really do enjoy PostSecret because so many of the “secrets” resonate in some fashion or another with me, and one this week really did hit home:

Process is not necessarily a solution

At first it’s kind of funny to think of folks who are that tied up with doing “To Do” lists that they turn it into their raison d’etre, but think about the implications on Financial Planning.

If you dutifully collect data about your Financial Life using whatever tools you have available, but you never really look at the data all you are doing is collecting receipts!

I am guilty of this myself, I have Quicken Data going back to 1999, but do I regularly run the Spending Reports to see where my money is going? Not very often, and my suspicion is that I might learn a lot more about my money if I did this.

Sometimes the Journey is more important than the Destination, but if if you catch yourself obsessing about how you collect your financial data, and the importance of collating the data, without worrying about why you are doing it, you might be on a Fool’s Journey.

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