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Quicken 2012 Review With Video

This article was written by in Software. 34 comments.


Quicken 2013 is now available. Read a full review of the latest version of the software be clicking here. What follows is a review of Quicken 2012, now outdated.

For the last few days, I’ve been testing the new version of Quicken Home and Business. While most people who track their finances have moved to online services like Mint.com, some of us are holding out until the online software offers the same advanced features as the desktop Quicken software. I enjoy my ability to track my investments, create and customize reports, export information into Excel, and look into the future with planning tools.

Quicken 2012 is set to be released on October 10, 2011 and offers several new features, particularly in that last category. The programmers at Intuit have refreshed and improved the Budget Planner and the Debt Reduction Planner, available in all flavors of Quicken 2012.

Quicken 2012 Budget Planner

The new Budget Planner is a combination of the budget planner from previous versions of Quicken and the spending planner. When creating a new budget, you have two choices. The “Automatic Budget” looks at your recent spending to determine the five most important categories for budgeting. Quicken estimates the amount for each category on a monthly basis and presents its suggestions to the users for customization. The “Advanced Budget” invites the user to select the categories to be used in the spending and income plan.

Each line on the budget is configurable by period. You could, for example, assign a budget of $300 a month for Food and Dining (overall, which includes specific categories like Groceries and Restaurants) and set a budget of $10,000 per year for Property Taxes. If your annual salary is $60,000, you can enter this. Automatically, Quicken will assign the average monthly budget in this category to $5,000, but if you are paid bi-weekly, you don’t receive the same amount of income each month. You can edit the individual months if you like.

Quicken 2012 Budget PlannerOne drawback to Quicken’s budgeting tool is that it does not include a rollover feature. For example, if you budget for an expense of $200 in groceries each month, but you only spent $150, the extra $50 is lost. In real life, and in other budgeting software, that $50 would be available to add to the following month’s spending on groceries, but Quicken does not automatically handle surpluses. Rather than focus on these details, you could change the budget view in Quicken from monthly to quarterly to get a better overview of how you spend when expenses cross months. This is also helpful for those infrequent expenses that are often forgotten when you look at a budget on a monthly level.

Each Quicken file can contain multiple budgets, so you and your spouse could maintain separate measurements of spending, even including the same accounts.

If you’re just getting started with budgeting, consider these resources:

Quicken 2012 Debt Reduction Planner

The new Debt Reduction Planner in Quicken 2012 has been completely redesigned. The focus here is on credit card repayment, but the planner can be easily configured to include student loans, a mortgage, and any other debt that is destined for elimination.

Quicken 2012 Debt Reduction Planner

If your credit card issuers support it, Quicken downloads the interest rate and minimum payment information directly through the internet. If all the information isn’t available for automatic download, users will need to enter it manually from the latest statement or by accessing the account online. The interest rates and minimum payment amounts are important because Quicken needs this information to calculate the payoff plan.

Quicken 2012 Debt Reduction PlannerQuicken’s programmers have decided that the Debt Avalanche method of paying off debt is the most appropriate philosophy for prioritizing debt. This means that the Debt Reduction Planner advises users to pay minimum payments to all debts, and any left over cash available for debt repayment should be directed to the one loan or credit card with the highest interest rate.

This is the fastest, cheapest, and most efficient way to pay of debt. The Debt Reduction Planner creates a chart and reminders to keep borrowers focused on paying the correct amounts to the appropriate debts.

Although Quicken defaults to prioritizing debt by interest rate, any user who prefers to follow the Debt Snowball approach, where debt is prioritized by size to payoff the smallest debt first, taking advantage of the psychological “quick win,” can apply this philosophy with one click. Furthermore, if there is a reason to customize the order of debt accounts due to some other reason, such as the desire to eliminate a low-interest loan from a family member before tackling an otherwise important credit card debt, users can easily manipulate the list.

Quicken 2012 Debt Reduction PlannerOnce users and the software agree on priorities, Quicken uses a visual approach to illustrating the debt payoff plan. This slider can be moved back and forth to represent the total cash available to pay off debt. While moving the slider, Quicken updates the target date for complete debt repayment and the total amount of interest paid over time.

The screen also includes a monthly chart to show the payment amounts that should be directed to each debt to stay on track. I’ve included a video capturing how the new Debt Reduction Planner feature in Quicken 2012 works, in action.

Quicken 2012 bugs

Since upgrading to Quicken Home & Business 2012 from the 2011 version, I’ve noticed that the “One Step Update” frequently doesn’t complete without causing the application to become unresponsive. This was an occasional problem with all prior versions of the software, and forcing the application to close and restarting the program usually solved the problem despite the inconvenience. With Quicken 2012, more often restarting the program does not fix the problem.

I can avoid this problem by avoiding the One Step Update function and downloading transactions for each account separately. I’ve always liked the convenience of downloading transactions across all accounts at once, so I would like to see this fixed in one of the many patches Intuit is sure to release.

If you discover any additional problems with Quicken 2012, such as calculations that don’t seem correct, let me know by leaving your comments below.

Other questions

In addition to the above, Intuit has been busy adding more financial institutions to the “Direct Connect” or “Express Web Connection” features, so transaction information can be downloaded directly into the software with as little manual entry as possible. With Quicken 2012, I’ve found that the software much more intelligently assigns categories to new transactions.

Quicken 2012 offers a new feature, good for users with high-definition screens. A toggle allows users to switch to a larger font, making the information much more legible. This follows the design trend leading towards larger text on the web. You may find the large text more appealing. Also, the account bar now features new icons, supplementing the familiar red flag. The new icons help to identify whether there are downloaded transactions to accept into the register, upcoming reminders or bills, or any other issue needing attention.

The latest development of Quicken is available only for computers running the Windows operating system. Apple users with the Mac OS will need to continue using Quicken Essentials for Mac for the near term, or use the Windows version in a virtualization.

Buy Quicken 2012 today

EditionPurchase
Quicken Home and Business 2013Buy CD-ROM $84.99Download $84.99
Quicken Premier 2013Buy CD-ROM $79.99Download $79.99
Quicken Deluxe 2013Buy CD-ROM $54.99Download $54.99
Quicken Starter Edition 2013Buy CD-ROM $39.95Download $39.95
Quicken Rental Property Manager 2013Buy CD-ROM $159.99Download $159.99
Quicken WillMaker Plus 2013Buy CD-ROM $48.48Download $69.99
Quicken Essentials for Mac 2010Buy CD-ROM $32.67n/a
Mint.com

Updated October 3, 2012 and originally published October 6, 2011. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes, also known as Flexo, is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about him and follow Luke Landes on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Big Joe

I’m sorry but this looks like quicken 2007 with some high definition screens. Everything you’re talking about doing I can already do in quicken 2007.

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avatar Shelley Elmblad

May be the case, but you can’t download transactions in Quicken 2007 due to the sunset rules for Quicken. You have to upgrade every 3 years to maintain fully functional software. If you’re still able to download transactions and use features that require online services in Q07 (which I doubt), consider yourself lucky.

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avatar Jon - Free Money Wisdom

I still promote my favorite website, mint.com. I’d rather pay nothing then buy a program. Too much additional work.

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avatar wylerassociate ♦162 (Cent)

quicken 2012 looks interesting but I’ll stick with mint because their website is fantastic and such a great way to manage finances and set monthly budgets.

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avatar Financial Independence

Hi there! Many thanks for the through review.

It looks like a good piece of the software, that might improve presentation of my results.
Last four years I have diligently using Excel and publishing the results on my website. This is an advancement.

You have spotted several improvement opportunities. Do you think quicken will implement them anytime soon?

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avatar Spokane Al

I have used the various versions of Quicken for many years and have always liked it very much. However, recently I have become more and more frustrated with its failures to download bank information. My two primary financial institutions will no longer download and calls to Quicken are no help other than to tell me that they will forward my issues onward to tech experts.

My primary reason for using Quicken is a consolidated, easy, on step process picture of my finances. As that capability becomes compromised I am, as a disgruntled user, looking at moving to another solution.

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avatar Sun

I usually delete those accounts and start over

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avatar Steve in Virginia

I have the same issue. Sometimes the institution downloads, sometimes not. My calls to tech support also are “forwarded to the tech developers” and that supposedly I’ll get instructions from them, but I never have.

I’m looking to another way to consolidate current bank/brokerage account information on line.

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avatar Paul Moose

Other options for software besides quicken?

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avatar KNS Financial ♦404 (Nickel)

Thanks for the review. I am extremely disappointed that Quicken still doesn’t allow you to manage your budget and spending properly. How can they choose to ignore a surplus?!?

Can you tell if they fixed the issue with not recognizing net pay? In the Quicken paycheck module it is called one thing, but on the budget, it is called another, so you can never reconcile your budget at the end of a period. I really hoped they fixed that.

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,485 (Platinum)

Hi KNS. I sent you an email to get more details about the problem. I’d be happy to test it out with the new version.

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avatar Rendog

Hi KNS/Flexo
Did you get an answer on the removal of Rollover Reserve function? I am right there with KNS on the sentiment. I’ve been using the surplus/deficit piece for nearly a year … and now it appears to have been completely eliminated in 2012. I’m assuming I should have stayed with the old version but had no idea they would eliminate something this fundamental and helpful. I would be thrilled if either of you has learned how to accomplish the rollover reserve in 2012.

I guess I’ve learned my lesson about software updates not always being an improvement. (sorry about the venting).

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avatar Ryan Bales

Thanks for the write up… I’ll have to check out their budget tool.

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avatar Sun

I use quicken because it’s categorization feature does the job. We tried mint but thee categorization feature would consistently categorize incorrectly and I didn’t want to keep fixing this. Mint has a budget and rollover feature my wife and I can share, but if the data is bad, there’s no point in using mint.

I read there is a free text service that keep track of your budget for you… I forget the name but I will give it a try

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avatar Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager

Thanks for sharing this review.

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avatar qixx ♦1,890 (Half-Dollar)

Looks to have a better UI than Mint.com. But i think i’ll stick with Mint as it works for my wants.

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avatar Spokane Al

I do wonder when Quicken will move from the PC to a cloud environment so that users can access info while away their PC. Of course, since Intuit also owns Mint, perhaps that will continue to be the solution for those issues.

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avatar Barb Friedberg

I’ve used Quicken for decades. Although it has many advantages, the file size for long time users is insufficient. Additionally, the memorized transactions for mortgage liabilities is a bit difficult to work with. Looking forward to the full review.

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avatar Dom Mar

I have been using quicken since 1996 and have every transaction and cat available with one report. I average over 200 trans a month. I have had no problem with file size. could you explain what you mean>

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avatar Gary Whiting

I have been using quicken for over 10 years and thought this was a great review.. Can you explain a little more on the lack of rollover on the Budget Tool? Using your example if I budget $200 a month for groceries and in January only spend $150, then in February my budget is still going to be $200 and not include the extra $50 I didn’t spend in January. If that is the case one way around that is to use the YTD Budget Report. It tracks actual YTD spending versus the actual YTD budget and would show a $50 surplus at the end of January for groceries.

I would also like to see some enhancements in the Financial Planning area. Right now it treats 529 plans as IRA’s.

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avatar Jimbo

I have been using Quicken for a long time and a feature that was very useful if you didn’t want to manage to the detail of a budget is the projected balance column on the bills tab. Did quicken fix this in 2012? If they did not fix this feature I would not consider upgrading to the new version.

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avatar Turkey

I keep my version of Quicken up-to-date, buying and updating each new version. Last year 2011 had trouble posting my correctly updated investment accounts to Net Worth and the Account column found on the left side of the screen. After many hours with customer support, with no resolution, Quicken finally acknowledged the problem and corrected it within one of its updates. Guess what, Quicken 2012 has the same problem. I have already invested several hours with support staff, with no resolution. My investments are updated correctly but the updated values are not properly reflected in ohter portions of the Quicken. Very disappointing.

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avatar Glenn

That rollover feature is very important for me. That is a very useful feature helping me decide if I want to use excess funds to pay for something else. Aren’t these common sense features?

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avatar Lanny

I’m currently on Quicken 2011. Within the past two months, Q2011 has been corrupting my my mutual funds investments. For instance, yesterday I downloaded the quotes, and I ended up losing $80K of my investments. Q2011 had wiped out the entire history of two of my mutual funds. I end up having to restore from a backup. This has happened twice in the past month. I’ve been on the Quicken community message board, and there are many others experiencing the same issue. I considered upgrading to Q2012, but the issue evidently still exists in the new version. Some of the users reported this issue 3-4 months ago, and there is still no resolution.
I thought that you might like to know about this.

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avatar Barb Friedberg

@Lanny, Acutally, I’ve had multiple similar problems with quicken’s various upgrades. Unfortunately, for large personal portfolios I don’t know of a better option.

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avatar Sun

How about mint.com or pageonce.com?

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avatar Lanny

Backup before you download your quotes. If they cause corruption, then restore from the backup and enter the quotes manually. Then hope that Quicken’s tech support will improve and resolve the issue soon.

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avatar Bruce

I’m running Quicken 2012, and am getting increasingly frustrated that the product fails to perform online updates for a specific bank. Calls to Quicken support are useless, as they say they will forward the request to their tech experts, who never get back to you. Now I can’t even add a new account to Quicken for this same bank!

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avatar Larry Doremus

I’ve been working with Quicken 2012 support for the following issue…for the last week.
After I bought Quicken 2012…it asked if I wanted to update(I did)..never should have done that. Since then, when I try to download transactions from my Credit Union/Bank..it wants to add a new account. I asked them to go back to the original version before the update…they can’t or won’t do that!!…so here I sit with a product that doesnt work. FRUSTRATED is probably a weak word for what I’m thinking right now! They now tell me after I sent a connog log and qfx log that it might take a couple of weeks.
Not great service…especially since I’ve used quickens for about 10 years

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avatar Marco

I’ve been a Qkn. user for many, many years. A few commets:
- Tech. Supt. has been nearly non-existent for many years. I hear this is improved in 2012
- Reporting is only as good as the fields Qkn. offers you. For Portfolio reporting, the canned options are limp. Why not allow at least 1 user-defined field rather than have some “Techie” determine what he thinks I want in portfolio management. Lame, lame, lame….
- Certain stock symbols suddenly stop updating. They still link-out and are identified by the software as being valid, but share price updating ceases and revets to $0.0 pps. Cannot manually over-ride. Have tried deleting all txns. and re-entering to no avail. The link between the software and the symbo just dies. 7 wks. after emailing this problem to tech. support they responded with, “must be a corrupt file….” & that was it… Huh??!?
- This product IS the market. There is nothing as comprehensive, unfortunately. If you have multiple accounts and investments, 401ks, IRA’s, savings, assets, there’s zero-else out there. Why? I have no idea why this segment of the public is so under-served. I’m forced to upgrade not because the features of the product that I use are better—but just to see if they’ve fixed / improved them. Nothing I’ve read says much of anything about the portfolio mgmt. module functions, so I’ll assume not.

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avatar G

Amazon is offering the upgrade for Quicken 2012 for about $5 less than Quicken even if you use the Quicken discount code for existing users…

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avatar Matt

Something that needs an upgrade to be more useful is the attachment feature – especially with Account Attachments. I would like to see more data fields available to describe the attachment beyond date and the alternatives of Statement or Other. This would be very helpful with Investment Accounts where more than one security may be held in a single account. Has anyone seen or learned of any planned upgrades to this feature?

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avatar GF

Intuit has “broken” their financial institution transaction server connections to such a degree that my bank says they can no longer help me with Web Connect. They recommend manual transaction download. If I wanted to manually download a QFX file I might as well just keep a manual check register. Pathetic in this day and age! Who tested this system? How did it get online in this condition? I know, I know, the project schedule said…

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avatar Bill

In my opinion I have tried both mint and quicken been a quicken user for 5 years and mint for 1 year. Personally Quicken is hands down the better financial management and business tool over mint. I will say this that quicken desperately needs a great smartphone app for android and ios, allowing my wife and I to update on the fly and not needing a PC. So Mint wins in this category.

Mint is great if you are a student or just starting out in your financial world and you don’t share financial responsibilities with anyone other than yourself. Quicken is powerful for families with multiple incomes, multiple properties etc. I feel managing mortgage, rental properties, finances, stocks, mutual funds, investments etc all in once place with intuitive interface Quicken wins here.

Also I would like to note in my opinion that Quicken a very complex piece of software with a large learning curve, when i dove in 5 years ago I only used 10% the following year 25% etc and now using about 80% of the software and I will never move to another platform. This is why I think people using Mint don’t like quicken because you are accustom to mints interface and operations.

In the end my words of advice is that Quicken will get you on a better path to financial freedom more so then mint, however you have to be disciplined enough when jumping into quicken at taking your time and learning pieces as you go and not be so overwhelmed. Again 5 year user and I would say the best feature I use is CALENDER in quicken i dont use budget or debt payment. I can look at the calender and know next week after all bills etc. that I have $1,000 left over I will right away make an extra payment on my house or debt manually. This to me is the most important feature in quicken is the Calender try it use it and don’t focus on the debt payment and budgeting they can become frustrating I tend to do more manual.

I have never been able to download bank info directly as I live in Canada, I have been doing this manually and love it I have more control and to me control and going slow is the pace to a great life. Wish you all luck give quicken a shot I guarantee you will not go back to mint.

If you are looking for OSX software I think the best is MoneyWell, receives quicken formats and has all iOS apps. I have family that live by MoneyWell for mac.

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