Source: stck.xchng Image by srbichara

Source: stck.xchng Image by srbichara

With the new year here, it’s time to review our year and figure out what to do better for 2009. For me, I always review my year within my current money management software, namely Microsoft Money. But this year, as I ended up upgrading to Vista, I thought it would be a good chance for me to review my current money software to see if it was truly what I need for my financial management in the new year.

There are basically three top software programs out there to look at. They all do basically the same thing, track your cash, track your investments, pay bills, set budgets, goals, the normal money management type of issues. So which one is the best?

Quicken 2008 – This one I reviewed last week. There are a lot of pluses to it. Mainly it’s interfaced with other programs, like Turbo Tax, for ease of use. You can set it up to download everything without manual manipulation, including brokerage statements. There just seems to be a lot of connectivity with this program.

Microsoft Money 2008 – I use the 2005 version of this, and for good reason. Money ends up helping you more with planning than ever before. I used it to get out of credit card debt, to forecast everything from saving to all spending, and to plan for retirement. Again, this has connectivity with other institutions.

mVelopes – This one really isn’t in the same league as Quicken and Money, but this is good if you really don’t care to track your investments in great detail (which may be a way to decrease your stress level in today’s economy). This is basically a tracking and budgeting tool.

The first two are the ones that I looked at the most and in the end I chose to stay with Microsoft Money. This was basically due to the fact that all of my information was already set up in Money and I am already familiar with the software. In addition, being a financial analyst by trade, the budgeting abilities were top on my list.

Money and Quicken are you main choices, just make sure to shop around for the best price. And in case you didn’t know, the best prices are bound to be between now and tax time, as the software companies partner to sell programs like TaxCut and TurboTax.

Happy 2009 Budgeting!