Mega-misery from MS Money

MS Money update

Preview of Hell?

It's a good thing I don't believe in Heaven nor Hell, because if I did believe, my experience with Microsoft Money would surely be a preview of what's to come in Hell.

I recently updated to Money 2005 and was beset with problems. It only gets worse.

Last Thursday Money announced that "to serve [me] better" there would be an update — and by the way, it is being downloaded now, whether you want it or not!

When it finished downloading, I was informed that I would have to RESTART WINDOWS and then RESTART MONEY!!! Right away I knew there was going to be trouble. Nothing short of a major upgrade to the operating system should require you to restart the OS.

This is trouble for sure!

Saturday, I opened up Money again. It did the "updating Money" routine three times (THREE TIMES!!!) before an obnoxiously self-congratulatory screen announced it was finished.

Below, in wee small type was the observation that "further action may be required" and that I could "learn more."

The link led to a Microsoft Knowledge Base article which should be read for comic relief — except that it too-obviously applied to me!!!

This update addresses the following "unexpected behavior":

After you convert your data file to Microsoft Money 2005, you may experience one or more of the following issues:

  • The cost basis for your investments that have different currencies are incorrect.
  • Duplicate or incorrect splits have been added to your investment history.
  • The starting balances for your accounts are different in Money 2005 than the starting balances in your earlier version of Microsoft Money.
  • Investment accounts are off by large dollar amounts.
  • When you try to set up your accounts for Online services, you receive a message that states that you should try again later.
  • You may receive the following error message when you try to connect to MSN Billpay:
Your last call encountered an error. Your account information is being updated, which may take a few minutes. If this message appears for more than 5 minutes, try again.
  • Your downloaded payment does not match the bill that is already located in Money.
  • Investment prices appear incorrect.
  • The market value of your investment appears incorrect.
  • Your sell transactions are categorized as expenses.
  • You cannot sign in to your Experian account information.

It's hard to imagine a more-damning list of "issues" for financial management software than this. Yeah, I think having one's stock trading account show a value of $608 trillion qualifies! Yep, having the starting balance for one's checking account suddenly change to minus $56,000 pretty much fits the profile.

In days of yore, school children were often made to read a passage and then identify the "main idea." How's this for the main idea of this KB article: We fucked up big time.

I dutifully followed the 8 steps — 27 if you count the sub-steps — of the "resolution," which translated to "Start over from when you first installed Money 2005." In my case, that meant un-doing more than a month of financial transactions. Oh well.

I set Microsoft Money 2005 to converting a copy of the last Money 2003 backup file I had. It announced "converting file..." 5 times, once for each .mny file it found, including the current file and all the archive files dating back to 1999. Never mind that all of these files had already been converted when I installed Money 2005. It did it all again!

I ran, screaming, from the room. I could not bear to watch as it opened my file.

When I returned and dared to peek at the screen, I noticed something quite interesting: My checking account register showed a car payment on 21-November — six weeks after the file-modified date on the backup file I had converted!!!!

I held my breath. I clicked on "Update online accounts." Ka-ching, ka-ching, ka-ching! Money presented my Trader Paul account transactions for review: To my complete surprise, I found that in the interim I had sold 500 shares of Leu Swiss Franc Foreign Bonds. Of course I had done no such thing. E-e-e-e-e-e-k!

Fortunately, there were a few of shots of Gentleman Jack whiskey left in the liquor cabinet. These I consumed while I considered what to do.

In the end, I decided that the only sane thing to do was to simply accept that fact that my Trader Paul account was worth $608 trillion, accept the fact that my checking account was $25,000 overdrawn, and revert to all the paper copies of all statements and transactions that I had carefully and obsessively made over the past eleven months.

Come January 1, I'll be trying Moneydance, #3 behind Quicken and Microsoft Money.

Oh, yes. I'll be keeping meticulous paper back-up.