I have been a devoted Quicken user almost since the company launched. It is one of the most important and utilized pieces of software on my computer, and my affection for Quicken goes far beyond the normal relationship one has with anything digital. I personally want to reach out and touch all my investments, assets, and liabilities on a real time basis – and Quicken allows me to do this – even with the money I have professionally managed. In fact, the first question for me when I work with any money management firm or bank is “are you equipped to do one-step Quicken downloads?” And this doesn’t mean “multiple step downloads” – it means I hit my update button on Quicken and all your info miraculously appears. If they can’t do that, I don’t work with them. Suffice to say, I’m a big Quicken fan.
In the old days I would purchase the new version every year or two. At fifty or sixty bucks, it’s a bargain, and there were usually valuable updates. But the last few years I found little advantage in the new versions. Quicken 2008 works great – and the small enhancements were not worth the money, or more importantly, the hassle of upgrading, so I have stuck with the version that works best for me.
But a couple weeks ago I received the following message:
When you purchase Quicken, we include three years of automatic bank downloads and technical support. Your current version of Quicken has reached its three year limit for these services, so you’ll no longer be able to do the following:
- Automatically bring the most up-to-date info from your banks, credit cards, credit unions or investment accounts into Quicken
- Pay bills, get stock quotes, or read news headlines from within Quicken
- Get help by phone or online
So essentially in a few months my current version of Quicken would be worthless. I don’t remember them telling me when I purchased it that I was really just renting it for three years, but I guess that is the software biz. And as much as I dislike Quicken’s sales process. I will grudgingly admit it is well worth the price, and accordingly I just upgraded to Quicken 2011 Premier Edition.
A few suggestions and observations:
- Buy it from Amazon, and ignore the endless stream of Quicken promotions you might receive if you already use Quicken. Amazon has the best price.
- Buy the Premier Edition – or the Home and Business edition if you are utilizing the small business accounting functions. The added features you receive for an additional $25 to $30 are well worth the investment.
- Make sure you establish a good back-up process. If your pipes are fast enough you can back up online. I back up in two locations.
My biggest fear when I upgraded in the past was the potential loss of data (which is easily overcome via backup) – but more importantly the loss of links used for automatic downloads. I have a dozen more more automatic downloads, and previously many were lost in the upgrade, requiring a really time consuming process to re-establish them.
However, Premier 2011 installed easily and flawlessly, with all my downloads and links in place, the easiest upgrade I had ever experienced with Quicken. I have used the new version for a week, and here are my observations:
- They have maintained much of the original layout, so there is not much of a learning curve to use the new version.
- Some of the reporting features are greatly enhanced. I particularly like the new asset allocation features. They are much more accurate and allow for much more detailed analysis.
- For some reason, it is just slower. Slower to react – slower to download – slower to move between reports.
- Some of the easy links between programs are gone. For instance, I can’t jump to the portfolio column and the right hand overview screens.
Overall, if I wasn’t forced to upgrade there are not enough features to justify trading up. But given the overall usefullness of Quicken I am happy to support continued development and support of the product.