Keith Holt is responsible for more than $28 million of other people's money. He is, after all, a reg-istered investment advisor. Once you find out that Holt, 39, runs a business with sales that hit $100,000 in 1999, you'd hardly expect to hear that he uses Quicken Deluxe 2000 to manage not only his own finances, but also his clients' hefty investment portfolios.
In 1995, when he quit his job at a brokerage firm to start Holt Investment Advisors in Fresno, California, Holt knew he needed a business-accounting tool and portfolio-management software. He certainly didn't expect one program to do both.
Holt had his short list of requirements. One was longevity: He wanted to use well-known applications he knew he could stick with "five or 10 years down the road," he says. Also, because he bills his clients based on the annualized return of their investment portfolios, he wanted the software to calculate the annual returns for accounts both individually and in groups.
But the cheapest industry software Holt could find cost thousands in start-up fees, plus hundreds in monthly support. Holt was frustrated. Then, on a hunch, he reread some literature that had come with his latest version of Quicken, the program he'd been using for his personal finances since 1992. Sure enough, his $39 Quicken software could perform a majority of the accounting and financial management tasks he required.
Holt has stuck to it ever since, upgrading versions for about $69 every year. Now, with a cable Internet connection at home, Holt can download stock prices for free from financial Web sites (including Quicken's own site) and draw up performance reports. "I've never had better or more convenient control over the portfolios I manage," he says. The financial advisor in him is also quick to add that smaller businesses could find great benefit in using the financial planning feature of Quicken to keep track of their lump-sum profit-sharing plans or even their 401(k)s.