Introducing Quicken 2011
Amid rumors that Quicken 2010 might be the last upgrade of the popular personal financial software, Intuit has released the new version. Compared to the previous version, Quicken 2011 has slightly changed its navigational features, improved bill payment reminders, offered an improved coupon-searching service, and improved help functions.
Navigation: Quicken 2011 includes a series of tabs along the top of the screen, allowing you to jump to commonly accessed areas of the software, such as the Quicken.com Community for finding help and the To Do list of reminders.
Bill tracking: The bill-payment reminders and calendar are easier to use in Quicken 2011. You also can take a look at the bills that are due soon, allowing you to make plans for paying them.
Improved help: There's no excuse for being confused over the new Quicken features, as Quicken 2011 contains several help options on each screen, including links to specific help topics related to the current task. You'll also find links to the Quicken.com community on each page.
Quicken Picks: This feature helps you track down coupons on the Internet that match items you commonly purchase. The Quicken Picks service also will find discounts on the Web for your particular shopping situation or need.
Financial institution access: Quicken 2011 offers the ability to connect with more than 12,000 financial institutions. If previous versions of Quicken did not support the financial institution you needed, the new version of Quicken might. This feature will also allow for automated downloads of all of your transactions.
Six different editions are available for Quicken users.
Mint by Quicken Online: If you only need the most basic personal financial tracking options, Mint gives you the ability to track everything through the Internet. Best of all, Mint Online is free.
Starter Edition: Perfect for those who have never used Quicken before, the Starter Edition costs about $30 and really focuses on providing tips and tricks for new Quicken users. It offers limited, basic features, allowing you to track your spending and to perform some basic tax preparation functions.
Deluxe: The Deluxe version of Quicken 2011 gives you all of the basic financial tracking options you need for about $60. You can track and categorize your spending, set and track basic savings goals, track retirement or college investment accounts, and share income tax data with TurboTax.
Premier: If you need to track investments beyond your 401(k) and other retirement accounts, Quicken 2011 Premier will meet your needs for about $90. It includes all of the features of the Deluxe version, while providing many tools and tips for analyzing your investments.
Home & Business: Small business owners can use some tools, such as tax management and expense tracking, in Quicken 2011 Home & Business, which costs about $100. Otherwise, this edition carries all of the features of Premier.
Rental Property Manager: The most expensive edition (about $150) among the entire Quicken 2011 family, Rental Property Manager makes it easy for you to keep track of your rental properties, track rent due dates, and organize tax ramifications of your rental properties. This edition also contains all of the features found in Home & Business, too.
Should I Upgrade?
According to Business Week, Intuit now draws a small percentage of its profits from Quicken, and the company might decide to no longer offer new versions of Quicken after Quicken 2011. If this rumor turns out to be true, you may want to have the last version of the software, just to ensure the longest amount of time for product support. Intuit typically stops supporting its Quicken products about three years after their release.
However, if you're going to decide to upgrade based on the new features in Quicken 2011 alone, it's tough to recommend an upgrade. Quicken 2011 doesn't appear to be significantly different and improved enough from the past couple of versions to justify an expensive upgrade to software that's only a year or two old.