More Money woes


G*-d* m*-f* software

There seems to be no end to the torment inflicted upon me by my upgrade to Microsoft Money 2005 Deluxe. The initial battles were ugly and demented. It has only gotten worse.

Case in point. Microsoft owns MSN, one of the worst offenders on the net for ads, pop-up, pop-under, inline, and otherwise. And because of all those "partners" Money chides me every time I open the program: "It appears you have not successfully signed up for special offers. Do you want to sign up for special offers now?"

No, I do not want to sign up for special offers — now or ever! But the program just won't take "no" for an answer.

Case in point. I recently signed up for a United Mileage Plus Visa card. I certainly didn't need another credit card. But they kept sending me offers to sign up — pretty please, with sugar on it — and they would give me enough miles as a bonus to qualify for a free ticket. In dollars and cents, that works out to a domestic round trip ticket for $60, the annual fee on the card. That's a pretty good deal. Once I've taken my free trip, I'll cancel the card.

Where does Microsoft Money come in? Every time I do my online updates, Money insists that I should provide sign-in information so it can update transactions on that credit card. Fine.

• The first thing Money did was insist that it needed my .Net passport login and password in order to do the updates. That's a pile of crap, but I played along. What did Money do? It attached my .Net password to my Money file! I do not need to protect my own Money file with a password!!!!

• The back of my Mileage Plus Visa card says it is issued by Bank One, so I selected "Bank One Visa" as the financial institution during online setup. Money insisted that I was not providing the correct logon information.

• So, I went to the Mileage Plus Visa card website and it said I should select "FirstUSA" as the financial institution (FirstUSA was bought out by Bank One long ago). OK, fine. This time it accepted the logon information, but again insisted on creating a brand new account! Just like it had done with the credit union.

Fine. I'll "merge" them. This time Money warned that I "might" have duplicate transactions after the merge and I should review them. Of course everything was duplicated!

Case in point. After I sorted out the duplicate entries in the Mileage Plus credit card account, I went back to the main Money screen where it lists all my "favorite" accounts and shows a chart forecasting my cash flow for the next three months — both useful features.

What! What do you mean the balance in my checking account is minus $25,500? For no apparent reason, Money had set the "starting balance" of my checking account to -$56,000.

I decided this morning to open a backup file to see what the starting balance should be. Of course, Money insisted on first backing up the file with the bogus balance. Then, after a very long period of disk activity, it finally announced that it was restoring my backup file and would replace my existing file. No! No! No!

Too late! My "restored" file appeared on my screen.

cash flow
Cash flow chart. I think those numbers are trillions.

Oh, this is certainly helpful. I've gone from being $25,000 in the hole to having a surplus in the trillions of dollars. Better see what the account balances are.

favorite accounts
My favorite accounts. Interesting how all the accounts have a value that starts with $608 trillion.

When I go back to my original file, the one with the bogus balance, I find that the password is still attached. Again!

I find the "Manage passwords" item in the menu. But no! First I must "turn off remote access"

manage passwords
Of course, "turn off remote access" will not be among the choices seen after following these instructions.

Are you sure you want to do that? You're going to lose important benefits!!!

Having my Money data on an MSN server is not my idea of a feature or a benefit

I suppose that there must be someone somewhere who thinks software like this is the best thing since sliced bread. But, I'd surely like to meet that person!