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Money, Money, Money, Mon…ey

Wednesday, January 18th, 2006

Quote of the Day: “A workout is a form of rebirth. When you finish a workout, you don’t simply feel better, you feel better about yourself.”

- President’s Council of Sports and Physical Fitness

I guess I should just go ahead and confess now.

I do not control my own finances. Carrie pays the bills and tracks the money, giving me enough to get a haircut.

Also, I should go further and admit that we really don’t operate on a budget, per se. Since we’ve been married, we’ve always followed a simple concept: pay the bills first and put some in savings, spend the rest as needed. I know, not the best approach and this would work out fine if not for a small problem: we have credit cards.

Don’t get me wrong, we have great credit. Immaculate even. But like most Americans, we tend to spend before we save and when we let it get away from us, the totals get a little painful.

“Put it on the card” is a common last resort (sometimes “first”) around here and even though we know it’s wrong and we know most people fall into this trap, that bill just keeps growing.

A few years ago, (1996 to be exact), I got the idea to buy Quicken and take charge of my financial situation. For those of you that know me, you know I hate to spend money or really, anything to do with finances. I get all stressed out, hence the reason Carrie has always taken care of it. So it was no surprise that the software didn’t really work out for us.

We also invest. I say that but in truth, we set up a couple of Roth IRAs a long time ago and have been sporadically adding to them. It’s been one of those things I’ve been meaning to fix but like by blog, gets sporadic attention. Even worse, it just became a distant burr in my saddle until I finally looked into it. Over the years, they had finally put everything online and I went through the trouble of looking into it.

I have to say, our investment company has done very little for us. For years, we only got a statement and nothing else. We are just as guilty because we accepted this treatment and let it continue. For the last few years, we haven’t even got the statements so it was with more than a little ire that I discovered, via the online statement, that they had charged me a fee for non-use and put our account into a “abandoned” status.

Not only that, but they never increased the number of shares invested into the Munder fund which, upon investigation, has more than doubled in value over the years. Good thing they stopped at my measly 12 shares. Bastards.

But again, my fault for neglecting this so I decided to do something about it: withdraw my IRA from these assbags and transfer it to Navy Federal. I don’t know how much that will cost or what’s involved but I’m pretty sure it will be 46 steps past the edge of my patience.

Also, I decided to give the financial software another go. I asked my wife to get a copy of Quicken (after discovering my 1996 copy would not even LOAD onto my computer). So what did she do? Got me Microsoft Money.

To her, it wasn’t that big of a deal and it was cheaper. Quicken, Money, whatever.

This, of course, shot me up like a bottle rocket and I explained to her that I HAD to have Quicken and that I didn’t WANT Microsoft Money. What the hell was she thinking?

I called Sir Phil to inquire what he uses. I was particularly interesting in knowing how the update thing worked, specifically if it cost as much to buy the upgrades as it did to buy the entire program. I found out this was a lousy assumption in the first place because Sir Phil pointed out that he has been using the same Quicken program since 1998. It’s a stand-alone program for the parts that he uses so there was no reason to buy the newer versions. Classic Sir Phil.

BTW, you DO have to buy the entire new version if you want to upgrade. After a couple of years, the online portions don’t work and you MUST buy the newest version if you want to keep using those functions. It seems that the general consensus is that a lot of people have a case of the ass about this.

Then I did some research and discovered that Quicken and Money were basically the same and there was no rational reason I should want Quicken more than Money. So I once again felt like an ass for stressing my lovely wife about it. Since it was sitting there in a box at home, I decided to go with Microsoft (eyes wide with a blank look before them turning into a cartoon swirly effect).

Free Advice for Today: “Learn how to read a financial report.”

- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

9 Comments - Join in the conversation below

  1. Well, since your lowering your standards and selling out, I have a WindowsME machine I might be willing ot sell you, but only if you pay the FEDEX and insurance, and a small handling fee.
    Just kidding.
    Good luck with the program, strange software are always a pain in the butt.

    Comment by Ray Young — January 26, 2006 @ 10:10 am

  2. Good luck! I’ve used Quicken and Turbo Tax for 10 years. Love them. Just got hubby (anal retentive) to take over the Quicken – he’s using most of the features I ignored. We have Navy Federal and it works pretty well together.
    Microsoft $uck$
    s/f

    Comment by Pam — January 26, 2006 @ 10:33 am

  3. I use Quicken – have since the very early versions. My credit union seems to like the interface.

    Some unwanted advice from an accountant type. Cough up the $ to sit down with a retirement planner. Get one that is NOT on commission, but is an independent ‘fee based’ planner. If you are interested, I have some info (Questions to ask, research to do before hand, etc) – email me.

    You and Carrie aren’t behind the 8 ball on this one yet due to your mil pension, but don’t put it off too long.

    Comment by Karla — January 26, 2006 @ 4:02 pm

  4. Never invoke the name Windows ME. I HATED that program.

    Comment by Administrator — January 26, 2006 @ 7:57 pm

  5. Pam, crap, and just when I accepted I was going with Money. I’ll let you know how it goes. Hopefully the products are similar enough that it won’t matter. But if not, I heard you can import the data from one to the other if you switch.

    Comment by Administrator — January 26, 2006 @ 7:59 pm

  6. Karla, thanks, I will be talking with you about this because I think it’s time to take charge of the finances, especially since retirement is looming.

    Comment by Administrator — January 26, 2006 @ 8:00 pm

  7. I have yet to find ANYBODY that used it that DID NOT hate it.

    Comment by Ray Young — January 27, 2006 @ 8:47 am

  8. That sucks. I’ll let you know if I break that streak.

    Comment by Administrator — January 29, 2006 @ 11:33 am

  9. [...] It was probably not a good idea to install and start my Microsoft Money adventure in such a mood. And definitely 10:00ish at night was another bad call. [...]

    Pingback by How Did I Get Here? » Blog Archive » Finally Installed Money — February 11, 2006 @ 11:32 pm

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