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I'm looking for a desktop program that I could manage my finances with. So far I've been using a homebrew Excel spreadsheet that served me well, but now I want things that I haven't implemented, and I'm wondering whether using an established program would be better.

I have a list of needs and I want to know whether someone here knows a program that can meet all of these needs.

I want it to be a desktop software for Windows, not a web app. I want to use something that I know I could still use 10 years from now and that it'll look and behave exactly the same, not change every two days and be shut down in two years when it's bought by another company.

I don't need budget-tracking at all. I need to track my accounts. Basically the way I work is I have "virtual accounts". I say virtual because all of the actual money is either cash in my bank account or stocks in my broker account, these virtual accounts are just something I manage on my own in order to dedicate amounts of money to different things. It's completely invisible to my bank or broker.

I have an account for my pension money. I have an account for the yearly tax payment that we have in Israel. (Basically every year I may pay up to 100K ILS in back taxes, so I slowly save every year to have that money available.) I have an emergency account, a "do a cool project" account, etc.

I want the ability to move money between accounts, either as a one-time transaction or a continuous transaction (i.e. move 200K ILS into my pension this year, which makes the money slowly move from my main account to my pension account every day.)

Here's the main thing I want that I don't currently have in my Excel file: I want to mark some money as pure cash, and some money as allowed to be held in stocks. For example, I hold 50K ILS in my emergency account and I want that to be in cash, but I also have 50K ILS in my "do a cool project" account and I'm happy to hold that entirely in stocks, because I won't be too sad about losing some of it, and I'll be super-happy if it grows.

Basically I want the program to sum everything up and tell me how much money I should have in stock and how much in cash, and then I ensure that I have enough in my actual bank account and broker account.

Do you know a program that could fit my usage?

migrated from money.stackexchange.com Dec 6 '16 at 17:49

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    Quicken? GnuCash? – Pete B. Dec 6 '16 at 16:23
  • Never tried them. Do they answer these needs? – Ram Rachum Dec 6 '16 at 16:24
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I would suggest checking out GnuCash it has at least most of the features that you have asked for and a couple that are probably more important than the rest:

  • Stable - First full release in 1998 latest release at the time of writing 2.6.14 Sept 2016 - so it has been about for 18 years so far with over 2.7 million downloads.
  • Cross platform: Runs on Windows 2000 -> 10, OS-X, Linux, GNU, OpenBSD, FreeBSD, Solaris - so you can use it on your current machine and on future ones.
  • Open Standards for data storage - your data is not stored in a format that some company may decide to change or stop supporting. Includes support for OFX (Open Financial Exchange) protocol.
  • Open Source - so regularly and independently inspected for things like back doors, reporting to authorities, etc.
  • Fixed point arithmatic - so no rounding errors, ever.
  • Track stock prices and investment accounts in addition to normal cash based accounts.

A good, if slightly dated, write up of a similar workflow to yours is available here.

As it is Free, gratis & Open Source, it has to be worth spending a little time having a play with it to see how well it fits your needs.

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    People complain about the learning curve associated with double entry accounting, however I've found that it wasn't nearly as difficult as many make it sound. One afternoon spent with the gnucash wikis / howtos and stepping through the process of importing bank & credit card data, setting up the associated income & expense accounts, will teach you more about accounting than most people have learned in their entire lives up to that point. – Derek_6424246 Dec 6 '16 at 21:01
  • I tried it now, but it doesn't allow a dark theme, which is a dealbreaker for me. I'll look at a couple of other programs. – Ram Rachum Dec 9 '16 at 23:39
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    @RamRachum: Problems with dark themes was reported as bugzilla.gnome.org/show_bug.cgi?id=707243 and should have been fixed from 2.6.4 see also wiki.gnucash.org/wiki/… for how to set/customise themes so if that was the only deal breaker it might be work raising another issue. – Steve Barnes Dec 10 '16 at 7:17
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    @SteveBarnes Thank you so much for catching that! I missed it because it was separate from that settings menu. Now I can give gnucash a try. – Ram Rachum Dec 10 '16 at 12:33

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