Quicken 2021 Review

Are you looking for financial and budgeting software – especially one that will help you manage your business and investments? If so, you need to check out Quicken.

It offers the budgeting, account aggregating, bill payment, and expense management capabilities of typical budgeting software, but also provides tools to help you track and manage your investments, including rental real estate. And if you run your own business, Quicken offers invoice preparation and emailing.

Quicken is one of the oldest personal finance software packages. The service was launched back in the 1980s, though it has gone through a change of ownership since. 

Interested? If so, read on to see if Quicken will be the right financial software for you.

Table of Contents
  1. Quicken Plans & Pricing
    1. Quicken Starter: $35.99/year
    2. Quicken Deluxe: $46.79/year
    3. Quicken Premier: $70.19/year
    4. Quicken Home & Business: $93.59/year
  2. Features & Benefits of Quicken 2021
  3. Quicken Limitations
  4. Quicken System Requirements
  5. Pros and Cons
    1. Pros
    2. Cons
  6. Quicken Alternatives
  7. Simplifi by Quicken
    1. Personal Capital 
    2. Mint
    3. You Need A Budget – YNAB
    4. CountAbout 
  8. Conclusion

Quicken Plans & Pricing

Quicken has several versions:

Quicken offers four different plans, ranging from their Starter plan for basic financial aggregation, budgeting and middle management, to their Home & Business plan for business owners and real estate investors. You can choose whichever plan best matches your own financial profile.

Each plan has an annual fee that comes with a 30-day money back guarantee if you’re not satisfied. The refund also extends to 30 days after automatic renewal of your membership each year..

Quicken Starter: $35.99/year

This plan is Quicken’s most basic. It enables you to aggregate all your financial accounts on the platform, and then to create a budget and manage your bills.

The plan comes with the following features:

  • Manage your money across desktop, web and mobile versions.
  • See all your bank and credit card accounts on the platform.
  • Create a budget to track your cash flow and spending.
  • Automatically organize your expenses.
  • Export your data into Excel.
  • Take advantage of free official phone support from Quicken.
  • Bill tracking (but not Bill Pay).

Quicken Deluxe: $46.79/year

Quicken Deluxe will help you to better manage your finances and improve your ability to save money. It offers everything in the Starter plan, but also enables you to manage and track your debt, as well as to set savings goals.

The Deluxe plan also has the following additional feature:

  • The ability to track loans, investments, and retirement accounts from the Quicken platform.

Quicken Premier: $70.19/year

Quicken Premier specializes in helping you to better manage your investments. It offers all the capabilities of the Deluxe plan, but adds the following features:

  • The ability to evaluate your investments using the Morningstar Portfolio X-ray tool.
  • Evaluating buy-and-hold options using improved portfolio analysis.
  • Compare your own investment returns with those of related market averages.
  • Track the cost basis of your investments, and even create Schedule D for tax reports.
  • The ability to make better investment buying and selling decisions using market comparisons.
  • Bill Pay (along with Bill Tracking).

Quicken Home & Business: $93.59/year

Quicken Home & Business gives you all the features of Quicken Premier but has an emphasis on better management of your personal and business finances. In fact, it even gives you the ability to separate and categorize your business and personal expenses. It’s designed to be the financial management plan for you if you have your own business, own and manage rental properties, or both.

It offers the following additional features:

  • Gives your business the ability to create and email custom invoices with payment links.
  • Simplify tracking of your business tax deductions, as well as the ability to regularly track your business profit and loss.
  • Run Schedule C and Schedule E reports to simplify tax preparation.
  • Manage lease terms, rental rates, and security deposits on the platform.
  • Rent tracking – both those that have been paid and those that are still outstanding.
  • The ability to save rental documents on the platform.

Learn more about Quicken

Features & Benefits of Quicken 2021

If you have no experience with Quicken, many of the features of Quicken 2021 will be novel to you but have been around for quite some time.

Some popular features from previous versions:

  • Transaction and expense management is the hallmark of Quicken, with the ability to track transactions on the go.
  • Quicken Premium Support is a standard feature of Quicken Premier and Home & Business, but you can add it to the Standard and Deluxe plans for $49.99. It will give you unlimited priority access to Quicken customer care phone support for one year. However, standard customer support, including phone and live chat, are available on all plans.
  • Quicken Data Access Guarantee will give you access to – and ownership of – your data, whether or not you renew your subscription.
  • One subscription can be used on multiple devices – you can install Quicken on as many devices as you have.
  • Bills management lets you see, track, as well as pay your bills within Quicken.
  • A free credit score is included under Reports > Credit Score, you get a free updated score every three months. (there are now many free tools that offer a free credit score)
  • A powerful mobile app is now included, with investment tracking, offline usage, and charting tools.
  • Quicken World Mastercard is a credit card available specifically for Quicken members. You’ll also earn 2X points on payment of recurring bills, groceries, dining out, and other categories – all with no limits. You can even choose your own rewards. The card also comes with cell phone protection insurance, as long as the monthly phone bills are paid using the card.

What’s new for 2021 (just a small sampling):

  • Receive regular updates automatically with the latest product enhancements.
  • Faster investment management capability with Quicken for Windows – up to three times faster. Quicken for Mac is up to twice as fast.
  • Quicken has included more than 500 customer requested improvements and fixes.
  • Quicken now offers connections with more than 14,500 financial institutions and 11,000 online billers.
  • Monitor investments with up-to-the-minute portfolio values. You can also monitor multiple brokerage accounts.
  • Quicken for Windows now offers long-term capital gains showing scheduled transactions for the Premier and Home & Business plans
  • 5 GB of secure online backup with Dropbox.

Quicken Limitations

Virtually no finance or budgeting software will be an ideal fit for all consumers, and that includes Quicken. Limitations you need to be aware of include:

Limited functionality on tablets and mobile devices. Since the program is designed for desktop and laptop computers, only a limited version is available for mobile devices and tablets.

The Starter and Deluxe plans may not be worth having if you want Premium Support. Adding premium support to either plan will increase the cost by $49.99. You can avoid this by subscribing to the Premier or Home & Business plans, where the higher support level is a standard feature.

Learn more about Quicken

Quicken System Requirements

The needs of the Quicken software are modest.

Here are Quicken’s technical requirements for Windows:

  • Computer: 1 GHz or higher.
  • Operating System: Minimum Windows 7, 8/8.1, or 10
  • Memory: Minimum 1 GB Memory
  • Hard Disk Space: Minimum 450 MB free disk space; 1.5 GB if .NET is not installed
  • Monitor: 1024×768 or higher screen resolution, 1280×1024 minimum for Large Fonts settings
  • Microsoft .NET 4.6 or newer (Quicken installer will install .NET if it’s not already installed on the system)
  • Internet Connection: Broadband internet connection recommended; internet connection required for registration
  • Online access is required for activation

Here are Quicken’s technical requirements for Mac:

  • Computer: Intel-based Macintosh
  • Operating System: Mac OS X 10.11 (El Capitan), 10.12 (Sierra), 10.14 (Mojave) or newer
  • Online access is required for activation

Quicken Mobile requirements:

  • IPhone, iPod Touch, iPad: requires iOS 9 or higher 
  • Android mobile and tablet: requires 4.1 or higher
  • Not compatible with Windows Phone or Blackberry 

Quicken on the Web can be used with current versions of Google Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge and Safari.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Allows for budgeting for both home and business
  • Provides investment tools
  • Financial institution integration
  • Track and manage your bills
  • Integrated bill pay service
  • Phone and live chat support for all plans

Cons

  • Limited functionality on mobile devices
  • High price if you just want budgeting tools

Quicken Alternatives

The financial aggregator and budgeting space is a crowded one, which means you’ll have plenty of alternatives if you decide Quicken isn’t the right program for you.

Simplifi by Quicken

In early 2020, Quicken released Simplifi by Quicken. It’s a personal finance app that looks to capitalize on the fact that more people are managing their money using apps, rather than full software programs. It contains a lot of the familiar tools you’ve come to enjoy in a budgeting app including budgeting, projecting, and setting savings goals.

The big downside ist hat despite being made by Quicken, the two are not compatible. You cannot import your Quicken data to Simplifi or vice versa.

Here is our Simplifi by Quicken Review.

Personal Capital 

For planners and investors, Personal Capital is the best option as a Quicken alternative. It offers a suite of powerful tools to help you plan your investment strategy, analyze your existing investments for holes and imbalances while offering expense tracking (budgeting) tools that are pretty good. Their strength is definitely on the investment side so if you’re looking for a budgeting tool first and investment seconds, the next option is better.

Personal Capital is able to offer their tools for free because they charge for wealth management. But if you have at least $100,000 to invest, Personal Capital can also provide a hybrid of automated and human-guided investment management for a single advisory fee.

Mint

For personal accountants, Mint is the best option for tracking and categorizing your expenses. They have an investment tracking portion of the tool but the planning and projecting aspects are not as strong as Personal Capital. Mint’s budgeting suite, though, is peerless because they’ve had such a long time to develop it.

Intuit acquired Mint in 2009 and they shut down Quicken Online shortly thereafter. Mint is able to offer their tools for free because they are heavily ad-supported.

You Need A Budget – YNAB

For those looking to establish a budgeting process and get a handle on their finances (ie. do more than track it), You Need a Budget is your tool. They rely on a methodology for planning out your budget that has worked for thousands of members. They offer a free trial because You Need a Budget (YNAB) is not free, they do not have ads and they have a strong community and team supporting it.

CountAbout 

CountAbout is a personal finance tool that may complement Quicken. That’s because it can import data directly from Quicken – which would make the transition from Quicken to CountAbout a smooth one. Like Quicken, you can download transactions automatically from many different financial institutions. It also offers budgeting, custom income and spending categories, and financial reporting.

And like Quicken, CountAbout has an invoice feature for freelancers and small businesses. In fact, you can even transfer data to and from Freshbooks and Quicken. And while you can purchase several different plan options, all are less expensive than those offered by Quicken. You should be aware however, that CountAbout is a bit weak when it comes to investments.

Conclusion

In today’s complicated, fast-paced world – where all things financial seem to be in a constant state of flux – having some sort of personal finance and budgeting software in place is close to a necessity. Quicken should be on your short list of candidates for the job. That’s especially true if you have a small business or you operate as a freelancer, and need certain business services, like invoicing.

But if you don’t think Quicken will work for you, the alternatives listed above should be considered.

What do you think of Quicken?

Quicken

$34.99 - $93.59
7.5

Product Rating

7.5/10

Strengths

  • Budgeting & investment tools
  • 5GB Dropbox cloud backup
  • Financial institution integration
  • Phone and live chat support for all plans
  • Integrated Bill Pay service

Weaknesses

  • High price if you just want budgeting tools
  • Limited functionality on mobile devices

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About Kevin Mercadante

Since 2009, Kevin Mercadante has been sharing his journey from a washed-up mortgage loan officer emerging from the Financial Meltdown as a contract/self-employed "slash worker" – accountant/blogger/freelance blog writer – on OutofYourRut.com. He offers career strategies, from dealing with under-employment to transitioning into self-employment, and provides "Alt-retirement strategies" for the vast majority who won’t retire to the beach as millionaires.

He also frequently discusses the big-picture trends that are putting the squeeze on the bottom 90%, offering workarounds and expense cutting tips to help readers carve out more money to save in their budgets – a.k.a., breaking the "savings barrier" and transitioning from debtor to saver.

Kevin has a B.S. in Accounting and Finance from Montclair State University.

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  1. Craig Rice says

    I have used quicken for years, however, not really excited about having to pay the subscription fee every year. Just like so many other customers, not sure the updated software is actually worth the $54 a year. Seems like for what I use it for, it is not beneficial. May have to switch and go back to another software program that I only update every 3 years or so.

  2. Oliver Street says

    Quicken hasn’t updated the core code base that emulates a checkbook register since the early 1990’s (Win 3), and they may not have the source code for it. It may even be the DOS core code running in an emulator. For whatever reasons development has been restricted to pasting frivolous functions onto the core code. Keeping the hot keys left over from the PC-DOS versions has always required undocumented hacks that Windows can’t support securely and has been choking off for a decade. The DOS era hot keys are an anachronism they could have easily updated, if they have the source, no one would have missed them for long.

    The core code should have been re-created and updated decades ago, but Intuit always looked on Quicken as the unprofitable ugly duckling that spawned its profitable services. Like the fees it extracts from financial institutions and investors for actually doing nothing useful to the dressed up OFX files called QFX files. They’re just QIF files with more tags and a pathetic encryption scheme, or it was a few years ago when I needed to import some out of date downloads that Quicken wouldn’t import.

    I wouldn’t expect Vulture Capitalists to do anything useful with the program. The general model is to dress the company’s balance sheet up by accelerating revenue and deferring expenses, load it up with debt, and unload it on the first fool with more cash than good sense. Cutting the period when they allow the program to pull in data from 3y to 2y and finally 1y has exploited their monopoly status to boost revenue at the risk of developing real competitors. They should be looking to unload within 12-18 months before a competitor appears. After that there should be 1-2 years before the new entity files for Chapter 11 and voids the existing subscriptions.

  3. Ron says

    Had Quicken since the 90s. Using 2001 now. I track and balance with it only. Online tools for investment. Might try startup. I’m used to it and it works within the limited actions I require.

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