If you've been using Microsoft Money for your personal finances, you've been dumped. During 2009, the mighty Microsoft decided to end the Money product cycle. The reason? Apparently, Microsoft doesn't see itself competing with the new online money management sites, and doesn't see financial management software as a core business. This probably makes sense, as Microsoft morphs into a large, complex, corporate beast, making strong inroads into mission-critical applications. Back-end servers, databases, office applications, and other staples of the corporate world, are Microsoft's lifeblood. The Money franchise has had a good run, but apparently involves more risk and effort than the company is willing to accept for the income it can receive.
The Money software had matured to a stable and useful package, and there honestly wasn't much that Microsoft could do to enhance it. If they had just stopped development, but continued offering users the ability to connect online, then all would be good for most users. Instead, they decided to stop support entirely in 2011, and once the support window expires, say goodbye to automatic downloading of statements and stock quotes. Well, sort of. If you read the rest of this article and install the scripts being discussed, then you can continue using Money to automatically get your online statements.
I've written a few pages to describe the work that's been done to allow the continued use of Money using Python scripts on the next couple of pages. If you just want to cut to the chase and get started, you can go directly to the Install & Setup section.
We also have the option of just starting new with a different finance package, possibly one of the newer online sites like Mint.com, but we can't (as of now) import our existing data into some of these applications. There are a few open-source and free options available as well, but (again) those do not import Money data directly, requiring instead that the user "export" the data and then "import" into the new software. To my knowledge, the Intuit Quicken software is the only package that claims full import support for Money data files without special user interaction. Although I have no personal experience with either, Money Dance and AceMoney have good reputations.
Perhaps it would be better to just dump Money and get it over with, going through the pain of a transition rather than implementing a fix. My opinion today is that keeping Money alive (for as long as possible) is the better option. How many of the other software packages will thrive and grow, and which will bite the dust? I have no idea, but I do know that I don't want to be a guinea pig, especially with my financial data. Quicken will probably improve or be replaced to compete with the upstarts and freeware. I'll consider giving someone my business and entrusting my data to their code wizards once it is clear they're in this for the long haul, but for now I'm going to keep MS Money going. Fool me once, shame on you...
A simple work-around being employed by some users has been to simply set the date back on their computer prior to running Money. Doing so, some copies of Money (supposedly) continued to connect and download transaction statements and stock prices pretty much as usual. While this worked, it wasn't a good idea to run Money with the date set back. Money uses the current date and time for internal recording functions (such as budgeting), apparently using time stamps to keep things straight. I personally ran into an issue with the computer clock being incorrect a few years ago and, after discussing with Microsoft support, found that our computer clock was a bit off.
Even if you made it work, it only did so until Microsoft pulled the plug on the OFX web service. Money connected to a Microsoft server to get the information it needed to perform statement downloads. When they shut down the service in 2011, the built-in statement download capability ceased to function. A better option was (and is) to use the built-in functionality that Money offers, importing statements directly from the financial institutions.
Thanks to OFX transaction servers, the dirty work can be done for
you. I began looking into the option in late 2009 and, during a
Google search, ran across TheFinanceBuff web site. His series,
titled Replacing Money, presented a discussion of
Python scripts that appeared to do what I wanted.
The article consisted of a series of posts describing how he got
started, the changes he had made, and some alternatives he had
considered. As presented, the option required a few computer
many users probably weren't comfortable employing, but it looked promising to me. More importantly, the scripts weren't exactly "robust" in the way they handled downloads, errors, etc., so there was a clear opportunity to build upon an existing idea, while enhancing function.
Tags: replacement replacing replace microsoft money plus deluxe online updates discontinued statement transactions OFX python scripts quicken upgrade