Financial well-being is important not only to your business but to your personal life as well. Keeping track of what's going on in your personal accounts will give you more security when making daily decisions--whether you're buying a new suit, planning for a vacation or saving for your child's education. Staying on top of what goes in and out of your checking account, what's charged to your credit cards, and what's funneled into savings or investments is what personal financial management software is all about.
The most popular personal money management program is Intuit's Quicken. This program has been around for more than 14 years and has served as the benchmark for other financial management programs. Microsoft's Money has long been trying to catch up with Quicken in terms of market share and features. These two programs are the only real players in a market that has become reliant on strong relationships with financial institutions, such as banks and credit card companies, to satisfy users' demand for high-level online banking, investment tracking and trading, and credit card information.
This software category has changed tremendously over the last decade--evolving from a basic checkbook register to a tool that allows you to do everything from planning your taxes and monitoring your investments to tracking a loan and keeping a household inventory. Both products reviewed here are in their latest incarnations and are state-of-the-art. Unlike Microsoft Money 98 Financial Suite, which can only run on a Windows 95 system, Quicken Deluxe 98 is also offered in a Windows 3.1 version.