Finances Money Apps



Because it turns out it’s a really tricky thing to design and build, on the surface it’s just like any other CRUD application, but under the surface it’s a bubbling mess of not easy problems, ranging from security, syncing, data presentation and design, the usual.

There is also a layer of trust, it’s a smallish market and the trust level for finance software needs to be high.

I am still working on my Money program, it has had to take a bit of a back seat the last month as I got a new job and I am in the process of shifting my mobile development platforms from Nativescript to Flutter. But it is coming eventually.


I agree that it’s a difficult problem. I looked ar downloading data from the banks I patronise as CSV and wrangling the data in Excel, but concluded I had better things to do with my time. There’s no consistency in the data you get, doing the job properly would involve really complex logic. I can’t help thinking though that a rules based approach would work, because most people generate a modest range of similar transactions. I get fed up with making the same corrections again and again.


YNAB has been a game changer for us. I don’t use auto bank update - not available in the uk and I also find I’m a way better at budgeting when I add spending in real time via the nice little app, then do QIF download and reconcile end of month. In this case the juice is worth the squeeze (painful as it is sometimes) as it helps get my finger off the amazon trigger. It’s also motivated me to get on with selling off old iOS devices so I can top up my ‘next iphone’ savings line! I use a prepaid card for a small incidental spending pot each month so I don’t have to add every single tiny transaction.

YNAB shines when you are trying to be more intentional about spending. After using it for a few years i’ve got it very sorted to our lifestyle now and have an amazing sense of where we can cut back easily when pickings are slim, and also how much we can live on as a minimum viable income if life goes pear shaped or we decide to give up the day job and be a free agent family. A bit like OmniFocus, the first 6-12 months is a learning curve and a bit of a tinkering fest - but it’s worth it! :grinning:


Because of all of the above, I wish I were an Excel wizard (Numbers might come close but not 100% for (arcane?) features). Or better, that some trustworthy institution or individual would create and share a sheet with all the necessary formulae and automation bits.

Since I’m not, might be time to learn—or consider YNAB. :dollar:


Personally, and it’s painful to admit, I don’t think Numbers is a anything like as good as Excel, particularly when it comes to complex logic & coding tasks (I love Excel data tables…) I’m a bit out of practice, but I’ve been using Excel for about 30 years, which may have something to do with my opinion.


That was my impression also. But for my finances Numbers works well. For taxes TurboTax does okay and keeps basic spreadsheet operations to add, subtract, … and display a few graphs.


Have you looked at the tools your bank might be offering?

I’m probably using my last Mac. I’m recently retired and have been moving toward using iPhone/iPad only.

One problem was finding a Quicken replacement that ran on IOS. Turned out my bank has tools for tracking spending that sound similar to those you use from Mint (consolidate credit card accounts, etc.).

Like you, I’ve always been hesitant to give any third party site/app access to my financial accounts. But, if I can’t trust my bank . . .

It appears these tools are offered by many banks/credit unions these days.


+1 for YNAB. I’ve been a Quicken user for many years, but YNAB simplified finances for my wife and me. Can’t say enough good things about YNAB.


“If I can’t trust my bank…”. Trust me, you can’t. (If in doubt, check out the Australian Royal Commission into the banking sector.)


I’ve been using Banktivity for about 6 months now. It’s an amazing app.

I love that it syncs with my accounts and you can customize the reports so you have the information that you need.

I can’t speak about YNAB, but I love that Banktivity allows me to split costs (my $200 Costco charge is not all groceries) and add a note to line items.

I believe there is a 30-day trial period. Best wishes!


Yep - until last year (when I finally paid it off) I was keeping a Parallels WinXP VM solely to run MS Money (which I’d been using since my first computer circa 1998) as it was the only app that I’ve ever found that handled my UK mortgage.

I’m now very much on the YNAB bandwagon, wishing that I’d found it years ago.


I’ve looked at YNAB, but in the end I went with Banktivity. YNAB was overly simplistic (no monitoring of assets and shares) and too expensive for such a limited functionality (no native app, supports very few banks).


I’m also considering abandoning Banktivity but my issue is the poor support for investment accounts. I don’t give a rats arse about budgeting or on-line bill pay. All the things that are automatically paid go through a credit card. We don’t use much cash, cash just vanishes but with the CC we get loyalty points or cash back and know exactly what got spent.

My biggest complaint right now is that between my husband and I we have over 15 different investment accounts. Legacy pensions from former jobs, regular IRA’s, Roth IRA’s, 401k’s, regular investment accounts both for mutual funds and direct stocks. We have 7 different financial institutions we interact with not counting the credit cards. Some accounts are required to be separated due to how retirement accounts are handled so it’s very difficult to combine assets into a few larger acounts or pick a single financial institution to work with. Some of the legacy stuff is not able to be converted out of that institution so we are stuck with it until the money is used up.

In all cases every single system I’ve tried has problems keeping share balances accurate when the mandatory distributions are sent automatically. I’ve tried to keep on top of the reconciliation but it is impossible. I’m still dealing with iissues from 2016 and 2017 that I cannot get correct because very time I try to enter in by hand corrections they get deleted the next time the automatic download happens. Automatic downloading breaks often and then takes hours to get set up again only to fail a month or 2 later.

I’ve had an open tech support issue with Banktivity that is still ongoing 3 months later. Every fix fails at the next month.

I was on Quicken for years, tried YNAB but it’s worthless for complex investment stuff, tried GnuCash, MoneyDance and more. The conversion to Banktivity happened back in 2015 and I’ve been struggling with it. It was doing ok until the mandatory withdrawals of investment stuff started happening and it’s been screwed up since then.

I DO NOT want todepend on any on-line system. I want a desktop focused app. At this point I’ll even buy and run Windows if it would actually work but so far perusing the various forums for Quicken and other Windows software I don’t think even that will handle our situation well.

I need to be able to do year end reports on how money was spent, handle a large collection of varied investment acounts with a high volume of transactions and track our expenses on a regular basis. The system needs to have a way to categorize expenses so that I can separate out the 2 business transactions from our personal ones btu I don’t want to run separate instances for each business and personal because I need to see the total finacial status in one place due to how we move $ around from place to place.

Can ANYONE suggest a REALLY ROBUST investment focused financial package that meets these requirements on any platform?


I’m mostly convinced that it’s time to abandon most of these apps and learn how to use Excel.


I don
t have excel, was a heavy user of it for decades for my entire sheep flock data but have moved that to LambTracker and all other spreadsheet stuff to LibreOffice.

I am not sure how to set it up in Excel to do what I want. The volume of transactions is far too may to enter in by hand.


I think at such scale you are slowly leaving the calm waters of personal finance management… There is surely software for the professional portfolio management. May be worth a look.


There are people that do this too. You can concentrate on other things.


Even if we had someone managing it I’d still need to be able to see what’s in the bank acounts, move movney between accounts, make investments etc. We’re not at the level of being able to send a staff memebr off to handle it all for us much as I think htat might be pretty cool.


My personal financial situation sounds pretty similar to yours. I have 14 different investment accounts across four different firms, including some inherited IRAs with mandatory distributions, an investment account with my employer with employee stock options and restricted stock transactions, and a hodgepodge of various 401ks and other investments … I used Quicken for Windows for nearly two decades before moving over to the Mac version about four years ago. As much as I complain about Quicken (particularly the lack of adequate reporting on the Mac version), it has handled my investment portfolio without any issues, including some pretty tricky stock splits and fund exchanges. I’ve looked at other Mac personal finance apps and I haven’t found one that can handle the complexity of my investments.

If you are platform agnostic, I would give Quicken for Windows a shot before trying out professional investment software programs. While I haven’t used it recently, it’s traditionally been a ways ahead of the Mac version. I converted from Windows to Mac in 2017, and it the process, can no longer export my investment transactions to any other personal finance application, including Quicken for Windows! This is a crazy limitation of the Mac app, and for this reason, particularly if you have a significant investment portfolio, I couldn’t recommend you go with the Mac version like I did. I did a write up on Quicken 2018 for the Mac on my blog which describes this issue along with other observations:

As for Excel, I’m a CPA and have made my living with that tool over my career. I use it every day for financial planning and analysis. But tracking investments, particularly complex ones like you’ve described, would be a nightmare to manage in Excel unless you have a whole lot of time on your hands. I track my long-term retirement planning in Excel, but not my personal finance transactions.


Thanks, your situation is very similar. Comes with the territory of being a saver/investor for decades I guess. :slight_smile:

I have been talking to our accountant and she also suggested Quicken for Windows as being far more robust than the Mac Version and about the only thing she could suggest that might work. I loathe Windows but we could purchase a single use small laptop for this purpose. I just cannot envision doing anything else on Windows, been a Mac user for far too long.