Are You in a Quicken Coma?

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Question: What’s the worst kind of problem to have? Answer: The one you don’t know even exists. That’s what makes a Quicken Coma so dangerous, and I just woke up from mine. So what’s a Quicken Coma?

A Quicken Coma is when your use of a personal finance software program lulls you into thinking you really have control of your finances. Here are some of the symptoms:

  • You type in a budget and even track expenses by category, but the budget doesn’t really impact how you spend your money
  • You download transactions from your checking account, but you don’t know how much money you spent last month. Sure, you can look it up on Quicken or Money, but when was the last time you did?
  • You can generate pretty graphs and charts, which you do from time to time, but they don’t tell you anything meaningful or anything that really moves you toward your financial goals.

If this is you (and it was me until recently) YOU NEED TO WAKE UP! Using a spreadsheet or the back of a napkin to track finances is better than a fancy program if you actually use the information. So what caused me to wake up? Overdraft protection on my checking account. I have $3,500 in overdraft projection, and I use some amount of it at the end of every pay period. That’s a problem. And until recently, I didn’t know why. That’s a bigger problem. So I’m now looking at my expenses (in Quicken) in detail each month to understand exactly where the money is going.

So if you’ve woken from a Quicken Coma, tell us about it.

Published or Updated: March 15, 2013
About Rob Berger

Rob founded the Dough Roller in 2007. A litigation attorney in the securities industry, he lives in Northern Virginia with his wife, their two teenagers, and the family mascot, a shih tzu named Sophie.

Comments

  1. Darren says:

    Hey,

    That’s the exact kind of problem I’ve been having. What changed me totally is a simple, free Excel spreadsheet. I was looking for something like this for a long time, and I found it at: http://www.mdmproofing.com/iym/products/envelope-check-register/

    I never did understand the purpose of all the budget sheets and helps I’ve seen that merely track what you have already spent. I wanted something to help me govern how much I WILL spend.

    The neat thing about this spreadsheet is that you can’t simply enter your paycheck amount; you have to allocate every cent of it ahead of time into categories. With one glance, you can see how much money you have available for what purpose.

    I found a way to adapt this to work with Google Docs, so I can use it anywhere I’m online with a computer.

  2. Robert F Farrell says:

    I am trying to up graidfrom Quicken 2001 to 2010. I think I have made the instilation successfuly and 2010 is asking for a password. I don’t think I have ever used a password, if I have I have forgotten it. can anyone help me?
    Robert

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