Classic Computer Magazine Archive COMPUTE! ISSUE 136 / DECEMBER 1991 / PAGE 142

Andrew Tobias' Managing Your Money. (Managing Your Money 7.0, software package) (Evaluation)
by Alfred C. Giovetti

Fed up with being broke, with not knowing where all the money from your pay-check has gone? For a little over $200 and a few hours of patient work per week, you and your personal computer can gain control of your financial life.

The award-winning Managing Your Money software has been revamped to compete with marketplace newcomer, Quicken. Quicken lists for less (at about $60) and for most will seem easier to use. Furthermore, with Quicken's interface to the $250 Wealth Builder program, Managing Your Money paled by comparison. Until, that is, the introduction of version 7.0.

Managing Your Money now features pull-down menus, multiple windows, hot keys, colorful graphics that support VGA, a pop-up report generator, and a window-based database module. Friendlier than previous versions, the new Managing Your Money remains a bit clunkier to use than Quicken. We can't have everything, after all.

Where Managing Your Money really outshines the Quicken and Wealth Builder double-team is the online help information from financial wizard and best-selling author Andrew Tobias. Just hit the F1 key (no longer the confusing Escape key of old), and you immediately have access to over 450 pages of wit and wisdom penned by Tobias. The program is almost as good as having your own personal accountant or financial planner in your computer.

Arranged like a book of eight chapters, Managing Your Money consists of File, Desk, Money, Tax, Insure, Analyze, Portfolio, and Net Worth options. Each of the eight options was put in place when the program originally came on the market, and over the years they have been refined by the suggestions and comments of numerous users. The resultant program combines the talents of thousands of people, including Tobias.

The core of Managing Your Money provides for the paying of bills electronically or by printing checks, tracking income and expenses, creating and monitoring budgets, and keeping track of multiple bank accounts, cash management accounts, and credit cards. A very convenient new feature alerts you when your bills are due and must be paid.

For the individual and professional alike, Analyze proves an impressive tool. You may make many financial calculations and projections associated with financial decisions. The program allows you to compute answers concerning loans, annuities, retirement and tuition planning, mortgage refinancing, rental property analysis, and investment analysis. These features were enough to keep me busy for quite a while.

Managing Your Money allows for the integration of the Tax and Portfolio options with two other award-winning MECA programs: Managing the Market and Tax Cut. Managing the Market allows the user to log on to Dow Jones and download current prices, stock market trends, and articles from the Wall Street Journal. Tax Cut is a sophisticated personal tax preparation software package.

Insure allows you to compute the cost of an adequate life insurance policy tailored to your individual financial needs. Insure provides a vital financial and estate record file in preparation for the ultimate event.

Net Worth provides the unique feature of tracking your personal net worth and providing printed statements for personal and business endeavors on a monthly basis at the press of a key, provided you keep all the information in Managing Your Money up-to-date. These statements can be helpful in providing the bank with the information needed in applying for a loan.

Managing Your Money has an improved Desk option that provides utilities such as a reminder pad, a card file, a word processor, a five-memory full-function financial calculator, and a date display. Another feature allows for multiple data files for family members and businesses. An accountant could also use this option to track different business and personal clients.

Managing Your Money supports 256-color VGA with a variety of eye-dazzling graphs and displays that can be printed for ready reference. Many types of printers and modems are supported via the existing printer files and modem setup program.

Mouse and hot-key keyboard action makes moving from one screen to another a logical and rapid process.

Bill paying and bill printing seem better implemented in this version than before.

Did I have any problems with Managing Your Money? The program suffers a substantial increase in processing time with operations over 1000 transactions long. The support line suggests that you either limit the period from which you are extracting reports or use version 6.0 until the problem is solved. There is no 800 number, and the wait on the toll-call support line is described by support people themselves as being extremely lengthy. The whole time you're waiting for assistance you pay long-distance rates.

In summary, no package on the market today can compete with Andrew Tobias' Managing Your Money on the basis of number of features in one package. While not as versatile as Lotus 1-2-3 or as easy to use as Quicken, Managing Your Money does what all the rest do in one complete financial planning package.