Australian company Manaccom has produced three programs that cover major aspects of personal investment - general financial management, shares, and property.
Personal Finance Analyser
This excellent value program can help you control your budget, increase investments and plan your future. The program starts by running through your current situation. You enter all your assets (house, car and so on), your liabilities (loans and credit card), your income and your expenses. The program then models a cash flow.
From here, the Analyser looks at combining some or all of the loans into one line of credit loan. The program calculates the advantages to you, and makes recommendations on whether going ahead with such a loan would be worthwhile.
You can generate a number of reports and graphs to see whether you are keeping to your specified budget, check growth of your assets and other financial areas. One of the nice features of this program is the ability to run scenarios to see the effects of interest rate changes, extra payments and so on. This includes the ability to enter different banks' offerings to determine which loan is the best on the market.
As you would expect at its low price, the program offers only basic analysis.
Property Manager Pro
Many investors buy on the basis of a property's appearance, without checking its profit and loss. This is where Property Manager Pro is handy. Using its projection feature, you can test the effects of different mortgage payment frequencies, amounts or interest rates to see whether a property could be positively or negatively geared. Then you can run multiple what-if scenarios on each property to evaluate the effects of different mortgage or investment plans.
Various reports and graphs run from the expected profit/loss statements on properties, assessing likely capital gains tax (both actual gain for taxation purposes and indexed gain for investment), or verifying different investment possibilities.
Once the property has been purchased, you can use the program to keep track of costs and income records. You can also keep track of GST, should you be eligible to claim it.
Another facet of property management is keeping tabs on the agency you appoint. The software can help you with this by running parallel checks on performance to verify an agency's efficiency (or lack thereof).
Share Express is a good base-level portfolio manager. The program will hold all the trading information, and you can then monitor the entire portfolio's performance and the accumulated (realised) profits and/or losses of individual shares.
Calculators are included to work out whether a scenario might be profitable, or to anticipate profit on specific sales and various share ratios. All of the data can be exported to other applications for further analysis.
One nice feature of Share Express is that you can set up reminders to buy or sell; they load with Windows, so the program doesn't have to be running for reminders to take effect. There is also an in-built browser with which you can you can log onto the associated Web site and discuss shares and options with other users (other investment sites are bookmarked in the browser, as well). Part of the package includes six months of automatic quotes from the Web site, after which time you are charged for the quotes.
While basic in some respects, all these programs have the features that novices require.
Manaccom Personal "Finance Analyser, "Property Manager Pro and Share Express; Price: Personal Finance Analyser $39.95, Property Manager Pro $89.95, "Share Express $79.95; Phone: (07) 3870 4900; URL: www.manac.com.au