Consolidated account management promised with MS Money 2005

Source: Microsoft

Marking the largest development effort for Microsoft® Money since the personal finance software was launched 13 years ago, Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) today announced Microsoft Money 2005 Premium, Deluxe, Standard and Small Business.

Completely rebuilt to simplify daily financial tasks, Money 2005 is designed to answer the growing number of consumer requests for a simple solution that addresses the three primary areas of financial concern: tracking account balances, monitoring spending and paying bills.

Consumers today have less time than ever to spend managing their finances, which has contributed to the number of American households banking online - due to its convenience and efficiency - reaching nearly 33 million.(1) Money 2005 builds on this trend by helping people access all their accounts in one place and providing automated tools that reduce or eliminate the manual entry required by traditional personal finance software.

With Money 2005, account balances and transactions are at people's fingertips, so they can easily download financial information from banks, brokerages and credit card companies nationwide. As the average American holds more than seven credit cards (averaging 2.7 bank cards, 3.8 retail cards and 1.1 debit cards),(2) this powerful connectivity makes it possible for consumers to view all their account information for a more complete financial picture.

"The words 'financial management' can strike fear into the hearts of many people who won't stick with a system if it requires a lot of time, sweat and frustration," said M.P. Dunleavey, Microsoft Money expert and award-winning columnist for CNBC on MSN® Money. "They need a solution that is quick, easy and doesn't involve a lot of ongoing maintenance. Software products such as Money 2005 do so much of the work for you, it couldn't be simpler to create - and stick with - a financial system."

Because everyone approaches financial tasks differently, Money 2005 is flexible, allowing consumers to view top-level basics or drill down into the finer details of their finances:
  • The new Essential Register provides automatically up-to-date statements and balances for consumers seeking a basic view of accounts, while the Advanced Register offers more customization for consumers looking to manage their checkbook electronically.
  • An Essential Budget allows consumers to see how their monthly spending compares with their allotted budget, while the Advanced Budget enables consumers to create multiple budgets, track irregular or one-time expenses, and reallocate specific funds.
  • Focused on spending and budgeting, Essential Reports provides important charts up front for an overview or text-only analyses of spending, debt and overall net worth.

    Money's automated tools make it effortless for consumers to quickly assess their spending habits and identify financial trouble spots so they can get back on track:
  • Spending by Category automatically generates a pie chart of expense categories over various time frames, including percentage breakouts and dollar amounts, to help consumers improve cash flow and get a grip on debt.
  • The new Spending Average shows a monthly dollar average per category, helping consumers build awareness of spending habits to create a realistic budget.
  • Favorite Categories identifies major trouble spots for overspending, and then tracks their daily status and issues alerts when overspending occurs to help consumers get back on budget.

    "Through our extensive research, we've found that people value the speed and convenience of banking online, but still lack the broader understanding of their overall financial situation," said AnnMarie Coe, marketing manager for the Home and Retail Division at Microsoft. "Our goal with Money 2005 was tying these pieces together - pairing consumers' account data with our automated tools to deliver quick, more-complete answers about where their money is going."

    For convenient access to finances on the go, consumers can visit the MSN Money Web site to view account balances and investment holdings, pay bills, and keep an eye on their spending. Through its tight integration with MSN Money, Money 2005 offers the latest news and expert commentary for timely perspectives on relevant financial issues:
  • Money 2005 and MSN Money now share the same award-winning Portfolio Manager, giving consumers unlimited access to investments while they are traveling or at the office. Money users also can directly download account information from brokerages nationwide.
  • The MSN Money News area features headlines from MSN Money, including articles from CNBC, MSNBC, and as well as relevant commentary from MSN Money's experts on topics such as investing, spending and taxes.
  • Consulting the more than 40 MSN Money Decision Centers, consumers will find useful tools, calculators and expert commentary relevant to a specific financial task, such as buying a home, paying down debt or preparing for retirement.
  • The new MSN Stock List allows consumers to set up investment holdings and view them across MSN as well as on mobile devices.
  • With shared access, the primary Money user now can allow other people such as a spouse or child to access the same Microsoft Money file from different locations or at different times without sharing passwords.
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