YNAB Or Quicken: Which Is Better?

Best Personal Finance Software

home budget softwareAlong with other major players in financial planning, Quicken and YNAB both offer software packages that will help users in budgeting. Which one just depends on what you are trying to accomplish. Let’s take a gander at these two giants.

Quicken

There are several different versions of Quicken which offer a similar core capability, but may have specialized additions. If you don’t have specialized business or rental property needs, you should be fine with a copy of Quicken or Quicken Premier.

Quicken is a robust money management tool. Quicken is designed to track income, expenses, net worth, taxes, investments, business transactions, rental property information, and even pay bills. It can be more complicated for the average user to begin with but has help and support options.

YNAB

YNAB is a zero based budgeting system, which means every dollar is given a job. As you go through your monthly expenses, any funds that are left over will be assigned a job based on the priorities you assigned it when you set up your profile. The goal is to help you reach your financial goals more quickly and use a budget to your advantage. The system uses four rules that are designed to not only help you stay on budget but also successfully get out of debts and start living on last month’s income. This last part does take time to achieve but eventually, you can reach this point.

Which is Better?

This question is best answered by looking at how you expect to benefit from the software. If you are simply looking for a budget or money management tool (as in cash flow and expenses), then I would recommend YNAB. If you need a tool for tracking investments, net worth, assets, business income/expenses, rental properties, or other more advanced features, Quicken is a better option. With that is mind, here are some advantages of one over the other.

  • Advantages of Quicken over YNAB
    • Tracks investments
    • Some versions of Quicken allow you to manage specific financial situations, such as rental properties, medical expenses, small businesses, etc.
    • Tracks net worth including all assets, including liquid assets, real estate, cars, and other property.
    • Advantages of YNAB over Quicken
      • Is Simple and easy to set up, navigate, and use.
      • Gives every dollar a job.
      • Gives recommendations for how to spend and manage your money, and get ahead.

Which one of the best for you? Here is an easy way to decide. Quicken does a better job at tracking the past with all your assets; YNAB does a better job of helping you create a path forward. You choose!

YNAB – Talk About Support!

Best Personal Finance Software

home budget softwareThe new kid on the block of personal finance software is YNAB (You Need A Budget). This amazing software provides its users with a “living” budget instead of the traditional “static” budget. This means that not only do you get excellent budgeting software tools but YNAB will actually help you plan ahead and save with the intention of living on income that is one month ahead of schedule. That is the power of YNAB!

Once you purchase the software, you become very important to the YNAB team. They will do everything in their power to see that you get a good start with the program and are able to use all the benefits that come with it. They have a great support system that makes learning the software even easier.

Types of Support

The first items you see when you go to their support page are the free online classes, discussion forums, and the request support options.

  • Free Online Classes: YNAB offers a live, free introduction class (with open Q&A) that should be your first stop. Or if this is more your style, on-demand video tutorials are also offered.
  • Discussion Forums: These are the friendliest forums on the internet. Odds are someone’s traveled down a similar road like you and they’d love to help so don’t hesitate.
  • Request Support: YNAB measures their response time in hours, not days. The team stands ready to help you in any way possible.

Tutorials

The next items as you scroll down are the many tutorials offered for users. This is awesome! The step by step directions will help any newbie learn the ropes of YNAB. The YNAB 4 Quick Start Tutorial is a good place to start. Also, there is the YNAB Works Study Guide that can help if you are a hands-on person and prefer to have something tangible to follow. However, the study guide is an extra purchase.

In addition to the quick start tutorial, there are others that deal with specific issues. Here’s a list:

  • Chapter 1: Getting Started with Three Simple Steps
  • Chapter 2: Step by Step Set Up
  • Chapter 3: Top Ten Questions Asked by New YNABers
  • Chapter 4: Handling Credit Cards in YNAB
  • Chapter 5: Handling Savings in YNAB
  • Chapter 6: Importing Transactions
  • Chapter 7: Starting in Overdraft

Help Topics

To top it off, there are oodles of help topics that you can learn about. Everything from accounts, reports, and troubleshooting (just to name a few) are there at your fingertips for your benefit. Under each heading lists all the articles that you may use to educate yourself on your software.

YNAB’s support system is impressive. If you have a question for the team, check out the support page. You will find your answer!

Pros And Cons For YNAB

Best Personal Finance Software

stressed womanYNAB, the personal finance software has a newer, better edition, YNAB 4. This new model sports a new user interface which is better organized and offers a cleaner look compared to other previous YNAB models. The scheduled transaction tool remains collapsed until you are ready to use it and the budget information is now consolidated at the top of each month. YNAB 4 also has an auto-save feature that saves data frequently. Other new features include:

  • Easier printing
  • Switch between multiple budgets without restarting
  • Account reconciliation wizard
  • No duplicate transactions with QIF import
  • More flexible data export
  • Improved reports that easily drill down to details

As with any software program, YNAB (You Need A Budget) has its own set of pros and cons. Although the cons are present, I believe the pros of YNAB out-weigh any of the little problems.

Pros for YNAB

Here are the benefits and reasons for using this software.

  • YNAB will actually teach you how to budget very effectively as you use it.
  • It features a strong support with options for getting help right away, including online classes and an active user forum.
  • There is a free 34 day trial.
  • It keeps you really close to your spending so you know where your money goes because you have to “give every dollar a job”, that is, assign a category to all spending.
  • It prepares you to eventually live on last month’s income.
  • Android, iPhone, and Kindle apps let you enter transactions and check your budget on your mobile device.

Cons for YNAB

  • YNAB 4 does not do automatic transaction downloads. You must use the online banking site for each financial institution to download transactions. However, YNAB does a great job of importing those transactions.
  • If you need features like investment support, financial planners for college, retirement or other life events, or advanced debt reduction planning tools, you’ll need to consider other software.
  • It can be slow to load when you first start it up and when moving between the Budget, Reports and Accounts sections of the software.

In summary, YNAB4 is a good investment for anyone interested in really maintaining their personal finances. It does one good job in budgeting. It doesn’t offer all the bells and whistles that some of these other budgeting software programs have but then, sometimes having all those extra items can be distracting and useless for many people. It’s obvious that a lot of thought and work has gone into You Need A Budget 4, and of all the personal financial software out there, I think it’s one of the best.

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