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Alternatives to Quicken

Folks, I've had it with Quicken. I can't live with their subscription-based model. Looking for alternatives.

I only use following features which are important to me
a) Enter my expenses manually (I don't use online sync and don't want to)
b) Enter my investment transactions manually (I don't use online sync and don't want to)
c) Download latest prices of securities owned (which let's me see how much money I got but I'm okay if I lose this)
d) Keep track of cost-basis, short/long term capital losses for tax filing purposes (I don't want to lose this)

The reason I persisted with Quicken was because they didn't seem like they would move to Cloud based model. Now I'm entirely not sure about that based on the direction the company is going. Not only am I finding it a challenge to discover alternatives, the one that might work seem to be storing my data online - a complete non-starter for me. I want my data on my PC, period.

Appreciate any advice, or I'm going to become an expert in Excel (not a good way to spend one's life).


  • Hi VF,
    I also gave up on Quicken. I use spreadsheets, using GoogleFinance functions for getting the data. I have three spreadsheets to do all my financial stuff.

    First is my expenses. Categories in the columns and the date and payee in the rows. At the bottom I do an estimation of each category.

    Second is my Income spreadsheet. The columns have the type of income, earned, interest, div, qualified div, stcg, and ltcg. Each row has the investments filled in. One row for each distribution or payment. At the bottom, everything is added up.

    My investments spreadsheet has one summary main sheet, and sub sheets for each investment. The GoogleFinance functions fill in the daily prices, but you could do it manually too. The sub sheets take care of each buy and sell and help figure a cost basis.

    I wrote a half-baked web page about my investment spreadsheet. If you PM me, I can give you the url. I wrote it but haven't spent time fine tuning the page yet, but I know you will be able to understand what I did.

    Disclaimer: While I've been familiar with spreadsheets for over 30 years, I'm not that good at them. But I get by.
  • Here are couple ideas through a Google search. Just Google "Quicken alternatives" and quite a few option come up.

    And, Excel is just an extension of what you would do with a pencil and paper (columns and rows). Fun actually when you get used to it.
  • @DaveSch, Thanks! I will take you up on your offer.

    @MikeM, Yes I saw that link. Problem is I haven't found satisfactory solution to Cost Basis/Capital Gains reporting in the alternatives, unless you think I missed something.
  • edited November 2017
    Have you looked at the app stores (Apple or Google)? A good portfolio tracker can do an awful lot. Pretty sure they can link to your brokerage account if you want. Mobile Interactive LLC runs a good shop with a lot of different offerings. There also appears to be a lot of stuff for budgeting at the app stores. I downloaded and tested perhaps a half-dozen trackers from Apple (cost about $3-6 apiece) until I found the one that worked best for me.

    With tech, we tend to master the things we need to make our lives easier. My needs are pretty basic. Never used Quicken. I’d never trade my paper budget for a digital version. Short of fire, flood or theft it’s highly reliable, won’t crash and doesn’t require backing up. Has worked well for over 20 years.

    After abandoning various “free” online portfolio trackers (like Yahoo & Google) in favor of Mobile Interactive’s app, I’ve never looked back. Much more reliable. Basic version is cheap. Can be had without ads for small fee. “Premium” levels are available for higher cost. Why comfortable monitoring investments digitally? Because the brokerage serves as the backup in case your digital copy crashes. (App also will backup to the cloud.)

  • I'm curious what needs you have for cost basis tracking. I just keep a line for each lot purchased, and cross it off when I sell it.

    If you're using average cost, that's a little different. Here's a template that might help with that:

    Of course, wash sales can complicate things a bit.
  • I use a spreadsheet.
  • My concern is that once you start the subscription - what will happen if you do not renew. Having bought Quicken 2017 in January of this year, I will wait for 3 years before deciding how to review.
  • Only Quicken 2018 is moving to a subscription model. If you don’t renew, you don’t lose access to your data as long as you have Quicken Deluxe or greater:
    The Quicken Data Access Guarantee means that whether you renew your subscription or not, you'll always have full access to and ownership of your data. You can view, edit, export, and manually enter transactions and accounts for Deluxe and higher versions, even after your subscription ends. Access to online services, such as transaction download, quotes, and mobile sync, along with access to Quicken Support, will end if your subscription does. We’ll continue to let you know about product changes and enhancements within the Quicken product. The Data Access Guarantee applies to Deluxe and higher versions of Quicken; the Starter version will become read-only upon membership expiration or cancellation.
  • I have never understood why people object to paying a relatively modest fee every year for Quicken. While the updates are usually not necessary, and there are many things I wish Quicken would add or do better, it takes money to run a company and $100 a year is a reasonable price for this program, if you find it useful.

    Of course if you don't need all of the capabilities then work out another alternative that might be cheaper. But the time you spend over a calendar year to do the same things that Quicken can do may be worth more to you than $100.

    If anyone knows of any reasonably priced alternatives for portfolio management that can provide reasonably accurate asset allocations across stocks and mutual funds (without requiring you to hand over access to your accounts) and some performance statistics please post it here.

    All of the alternatives I have seen cost thousands of dollars. I hope that with the new company Quicken will improve their long standing profound weakness and do a better job with return calculations.
  • edited November 2017
    The absence of alternatives suggests that Quicken is getting near to the definition of a monopoly. Monopolists’ price setting strategies are usually a concern. You say $100/year is reasonable – not sure how to respond some thought below. However, they are selling a 2-year subscription for $65 of Quicken Premier at Staples this Friday. I myself only use Quicken to track my portfolio - no downloads from financial institutions. I do download quotes. I will buy the 2-year and keep it to activate later – buying me a 4 year period to make a transition. I do recognize the advantages of Quicken.

    As I reflect whether $100 is a fair price, Adobe Photoshop (PS) has also moved to the subscription model a few years ago, the current basic subscription price is set at $9.99 per month (the more features you want costs more). PS is a complex program and one which requires frequent updates to respond to continuous innovations in cameras, video cards and digital media in general. Another difference to Quicken is the universe of users, much restricted for PS. My guess is that if PS pricing is profitable any discussion of price setting for Quicken close to $100 is not be driven by requirements of updates alone, but to a greater focus on larger profits.
  • edited November 2017
    Really interesting discussion. As a shareholder in the companies selling these subscription based services you might prefer the subscription model. I notice with all of them - Amazon in particular - that these tech giants would much prefer to “nickel & dime“ you to death with recurring payments than to sell something just once. Case in point: Amazon would much rather have you pay them $8 monthly (billed automatically) for their “music unlimited” ($96 a year) than to purchase an occasional $15-$25 worth of CD’s or digital downloads.

    To be honest, however, I’m more in agreement with @sma3 above. If you’re using the software to enhance your investment returns (hopefully by $1000s per year), than $100 or even $200 per year isn’t unreasonable for that service. You “pay to play” with tech. What’s the material in an iphone X worth? Only a few bucks. Yet they’re selling for near $1000 because of the R&D that went into the product and Apple’s never ending efforts to service those who own their products and upgrade the software (and keep it free of malicious bugs).
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