Microsoft Rings Up Money 2006

Microsoft's Money 2006 has hit the shelves, offering customers a comprehensive financial management suite that can do everything from balance their checkbook to paying their bills online.

This year's release takes into account tightening budgets with improved online banking, as well as better tracking so that users can keep tabs on their spending. At the same time, tools to decipher budgets, understand spending, and manage debt were improved over the previous release.

The revamped spending tracker breaks spending down into categories and provides at a glance notification of when categories are nearing their established limits. Also, bills may now be paid for many accounts using funds from many banks and payments scheduled on the bill calendar.

Those capabilities are a marked improvement over Money 2005 which, initially, left some customers feeling short changed when online bill paying features failed to work as promised.

Another feature new to 2006 is a mechanism to automatically retrieve stock prices on investments. What's more, Money now supports viewing and tracking Exchange Traded Funds (ETF).

"Money 2006 was designed to build on the rising trend of online banking by offering all of the consumer's financial information in one easy-to-use location," said Anne Quaranta, senior product manager for Microsoft Money. "Our goal with Money 2006 was to provide consumers with a complete view of where their money is, has been and where it is going."

The Standard SKU of Money 2006 retails for $29.95 USD; Money deluxe retails for $59.95 USD and Money 2006 Premium is available for $79.95 USD. Microsoft also offers mail-in rebates.

A commercial demo of Money 2006 is available from FileForum.

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