Managing Your Finances on a Mac

For the last ten years, I’ve used Quicken to manage our finances. Last summer when I switched to a Mac, I discovered that the Mac version of Quicken is a much reduced version that is just not up to snuff. So rather than downgrading, I continued to run the Windows version of Quicken on my Mac via VMWare Fusion (which, in my opinion, is the best way to run Windows on your Mac).

This works well enough, but I still find myself wishing that I didn’t have to boot up Windows on my Mac just to manage my finances.

Here’s some possible good news: It looks like Quicken may soon be coming out with a much improved program for the Mac, called Quicken Financial Life for Mac. It’s due out this summer. The website states:

If you know your Mac, you know Quicken Financial Life. Designed from the ground up to unleash the power of the Mac, Quicken Financial Life for Mac brings you the clean graphics and intuitive functionality you expect from Apple software. Built for Mac OS X v10.5 Leopard and newer operating systems.

Hopefully this will be good. Although I don’t know why they didn’t just do it right the first time.

What financial management software do you recommend for the Mac?

  • Shawn

    I use, but it doesn’t offer the functionality of said programs. Excel is my daily driver. I also tried quicken for mac, but found it oversimplified and lacking. Also difficult to figure out on some accounts.

    I’d love to see the new revision!

  • Chris
  • Shawn

    Nice. Thanks!

  • Brance

    I use MYOB (Mind Your Own Business) for my small business. For personal use I’m kind of old fashioned. I use a Numbers spreadsheet for our budget and do everything else on paper!

  • J.J.

    You should check out MyMoney from MTH Software. They are continuing to make improvements and are extremely responsive to customer feedback through their “forums.”

  • Phil

    Have you checked out, Matt?

  • Chris

    Phil- do you vouch for the security of Mint? Their reviews look great, but I have been curious to ask a user if they have been satisfied with the security features.

  • Matt

    Phil: I haven’t seen before. Just went to the site, and it looks really promising. And, they also have an iPhone app.

  • Shawn

    What I like about is the automated trends and charts. It makes it super easy to track specific parts of the budget. For instance I can track how much money our family spent at a certain grocery store in the month of December. I’ve used it to curtail superfluous spending, and start hitting my budget more regularly.

    iPhone app is solid.

  • Bryce

    I became so frustrated with Quicken that I had given up reconciling my finances at all! But I’ve been using for a month or so and love it. It has really helped my identify and cut out extraneous expenses. And I haven’t had any security problems.

  • Matt

    Chris: I just read this about the security of Mint. Looks good — they do not keep any of your account numbers or such in their system.

  • Matt

    To all Mint users: Mint is sounding better and better. Here’s a big question for me. Let’s say you go to Target and buy some groceries, gifts, household furnishings, and toys for the kids.

    Is it possible to split that transaction into multiple categories? If so, how easy is it? Also, do you have to manually remember to go look for that Target transaction and others like it every so often in order to divide them out?

  • Tim Challies

    I’m new to the Mac and did quite a bit of looking around. Eventually I settled on Fortora. It’s probably not the slickest-looking application out there, but it’s powerful enough and does all that I wanted…and not a whole lot more. It wasn’t full of crazy features I had no use for and that appealed to me!

  • Shawn

    It’s pretty easy to split purchases under the “Transactions” tab. Click the purchase and look for the grey “edit details” box under the purchase. When the drop down box comes up, click the split button in the upper right. You can split a couple times. Not sure if they limit. I assume you can split until the entire amount of the transaction is allocated.

  • Tim Challies

    The CAPTCHA to post a comment here tells me I’m “A BUM.” I’m hurt.

    I gave Quicken Financial Life a fifteen minute test run. It looks okay but it’s really hard to get a feel for it with most of the reporting functionality still missing. After all, any program can take in your financial data. It’s a special program that can display it in useful and intuitive ways. I do think the tag cloud is a nice little innovation, but they’ve got a long way to go before I’d be willing to go to the program…

  • Chris

    There aren’t many great options for Mac users, but there are even fewer for Canadian Mac users! I use Microsoft Money in Parallels, and I keep a watchful eye on

    Quicken has a free web product as well, but it has some quirks that squelch any desire I had to switch.

  • Matt

    Tim: Thanks for pointing out Fortora. It’s good to hear what you landed on for this, since you also have just recently switching to the Mac.

    I enjoyed your post last week, by the way, on your decision to switch over. I had a similar experience. Initially I wasn’t looking to move over to a Mac. But when I really ended up giving it a serious look, the quality (and ease) won me over — and I’m really glad I switched.

  • Steve

    Does anyone know if there is a uk version of mint? i need a basic financial mgmt program that handles £’s as well as $’s. I love my mac, but the lack of decent personal accounting software was a disappointment.

  • Jeremy

    I jettisoned Quicken on the Mac about 5 years ago and have been using MoneyDance. Gets the job done. It’s a very un-Mac-like app, being a cross platform Java app. For the longest time it has been the only app I know of on the Mac that supports direct downloads from banks.

    I’ve been looking at iBank now that they support direct downloads. Very nice looking application and I may kick the tires after tax season…

    I’ve also looked at Mint, but it just doesn’t have the features…

  • Luke

    After using Quicken for years on the PC, trying it on the Mac and then searching for something better I have finally found the financial management app I’ve wanted: Moneywell from The main reason is its awesome implementation of Envelope-style budgeting, but with a great paradigm for your “money flows” using water and buckets. With Quicken and other apps, you need to continually run reports to see whether you met your budget, after the fact. With Moneywell it is always “in your face”.

    With version 1.4 the developer brought what I had been holding off on buying it for: direct-connect. One window interface (which just received a nice makeover), intuitive paradigm, great tutorials, and just a really solid set of principles that actually helps protect yourself from going over budget. The developer, Kevin Hoctor, responds to my emails the same day and is continually improving the app and involving others via the beta mail list.

    I have no affiliation with No Thirst, other than being a happy customer and a fan of Kevin’s sound approach to financial management and the somewhat-rare ability in the mac indie dev world to provide both a great app and top-notch customer service.

  • Jay

    Just found this blog and I have found it to be very helpful. This is a second vote for Moneywell. I love it for all the reasons Luke mentions. The bottom line is that I need help during the month, BEFORE I go over budget, not so much after the fact. Moneywell excels in this area. And I have found it to be very flexible with not only splitting transactions, but shifting money around within your budget (for months you need to spend more on groceries and less on entertainment, for example).

  • Terra

    I just found your blog by googling, “managing finances with mac”. Did you find what you were looking for? If not, I recommend CheckBook Pro. (Yes, I work for the company that created it, but it is a great product :)

  • Doug Welliver

    Has anybody tried “You Need A Budget” from