Alternative Investment Report

Simplifi vs. Quicken: Understanding the Difference

If you’ve searched for a budgeting app before, then you’ve almost certainly heard the name Quicken before. It’s one of the biggest names in budgeting — and one of the oldest. Quicken, which was originally owned by Intuit, was first released as Quicken for Windows in 1991. It’s evolved considerably since then but still remains a favorite budgeting app for many people.

But if you search for Quicken’s budgeting app, you might run into some confusion. The company actually offers two different programs: Quicken and Simplifi by Quicken. While the two have a few things in common, including the company that owns them, there are many important differences, which we’ll discuss in this article.

Get a handle on your money with Personal Capital’s free financial dashboard. You get a quick overview of your net worth, cash flow, investment allocation, and more. You can also plan for long-term goals like funding a child’s education or retiring.

What is Quicken?

Quicken is a budgeting platform that’s been around for more than 30 years. Over its time in business, Quicken has taken on several different forms, starting as Quicken for Windows, then evolving into its current desktop-based platform, and, finally, its mobile app.

Quicken is one of the most robust budgeting software on the market. It’s a desktop-based program that offers several different plans to help users best meet their needs. The program is designed to help users manage just about every area of their finances and is well-suited to those who want the most tools available. It includes many helpful tools, including:

Spending and savings tracking
Budgeting
Income and expense tracking
Debt management
Mortgage tracking
Investment tracking
Net worth tracking
Bill management and bill pay
Tax planning
Investment analysis
Advanced reporting
Business and rental property financial management

What is Simplifi?

Simplifi by Quicken is a budgeting app offered by the popular personal finance company. Simplifi was recently launched in 2020 as an app-based alternative to the company’s more robust budgeting program as a way to compete with other popular app-based products like Mint.

Simplifi isn’t designed to give you every personal finance tool on the market. Instead, it’s designed to be a quick and easy solution that allows users to manage their personal finances in just five minutes per week. Features available on Simplifi include:

Spending and savings tracking
Budgeting
Income and expense tracking
Investment tracking
Bill tracking
Simple reporting

How Are They Similar?

Despite being two very different services, Quicken and Simplifi have a few important characteristics in common.

Budgeting Capabilities

First and foremost, Quicken and Simplifi are both designed to help you manage your budget. While the two platforms take two very different approaches to budget — we’ll talk more about that later — they both still allow you to set a monthly budget based on your income and expenses.

Expense Tracking

Both Quicken and Simplifi allow you to connect your bank account to your budgeting app to more seamlessly track your expenses. Both can connect to more than 14,000 supported banks, so there’s a good chance yours is included. Transactions are automatically imported from your linked account, and the apps can even automatically categorize them based on your past spending.

Savings Goals

Both Quicken and Simplifi are designed to help you reach your financial goals. Not only can you add a line item in your budget for your savings goals, but both platforms allow you to create custom savings goals and track your progress along the way.

Investment Tracking

Let’s preface this by saying that the investment capabilities of Quicken and Simplifi are very different, as we’ll discuss in a later section. But at the very least, both platforms allow you to connect your investment accounts to your budgeting app to track the value of your investment portfolio.

Reporting

Both Quicken and Simplifi allow you to create custom reports to see what’s going on with your money over time. Both platforms offer banking reports, net worth reports, comparison reports, and spending reports. Quicken does offer more advanced reporting, which includes reports for your taxes, investments, business, and rental properties.

What’s the Difference between Quicken and Simplifi?

We’ve talked about a handful of similarities between Quicken and Simplifi, but even more important are their differences.

Desktop-Based vs. Cloud-Based

The first key difference between Quicken and Simplifi is how the programs are designed. Quicken is a desktop app, so while it does offer a mobile app for you to manage your budget, it’s primarily designed to be downloaded onto your computer. And while a mobile app is available, it doesn’t quite offer all of the features that Quicken has to offer.

Simplifi, on the other hand, is a cloud-based platform. You can use the website to manage your budget from your computer, but you can also access all of the features on the mobile app.

Availability of Tools

Another important difference between Quicken and Simplifi is the availability of tools. As we’ve mentioned, Quicken is one of the most robust personal finance platforms on the market, while Simplifi is designed to offer a simpler approach. Some of the tools and features Quicken offers that Simplifi doesn’t include:

What-if scenarios for your budget and investments
Multiple budgets
Rollover budgeting
Calendar/fiscal year budgeting
Zillow home value tracking
Bill pay
Tax planning
Advanced investment tracking
Investment analysis
Advanced reporting
Business and rental property financial management

Budgeting Approach

Both Quicken and Simplifi are budgeting apps, but they take very different approaches to budgeting. Quicken offers traditional category-based budgeting. You set a spending limit for each category, and throughout the month, you can adjust the values, roll money over to the next month, and more.

Simplifi doesn’t actually use the term “budget.” Instead. It helps you create a monthly spending plan that’s automatically generated based on your income, bills & subscriptions, and the money that’s left to spend. You can track your progress throughout the money and create watchlists, so you only keep an eye on the spending in certain categories.

Ease of Use

As we’ve mentioned, Quicken is one of the most robust personal finance tools on the market. As a result, it comes with quite a learning curve to take advantage of all its features. Simplifi, on the other hand, is designed to be simple. Getting set up on the app is no more difficult than getting started with Mint or any other budgeting app.

Cost

A final key difference between Quicken and Simplifi is their cost and bill options. Simplifi allows you to choose between monthly or annual billing. You’ll pay $5.99 per month for monthly billing. However, you can save 33% by option for annual billing, which comes down to $3.99 per month.

Quicken has four different plans to choose from, ranging from its simplest plan that offers just the basics to its home and business plan. As the plans progress, you’ll have more features to use. Unlike Simplifi, you can only choose an annual plan. The table below shows the monthly price of the annual plan for each of Quicken’s plans, including Simplifi.

Monthly Price
Annual Price

Simplifi by Quicken
$5.99/month
$47.88/year

Quicken Starter
$3.49/month
$41.88/year

Quicken Deluxe
$3.99/month
$47.88/year

Quicken Premier
$5.99/month
$71.88/year

Quicken Home & Business
$8.99/month
$107.88/year

Which is Right For You?

Quicken and Simplifi are both excellent budgeting apps offered by the same company, and each platform is designed for a certain type of user.

First, Quicken might be best for those who want a more robust financial management solution. You might like Quicken if you spend a lot of time in your budget, want lots of tracking and reporting options, and want the most customization for your home and business finances.

Simplifi might be better for users who want a mobile-first experience. This budgeting app allows you to manage your personal finances in as little as five minutes per week. It allows for a looser spending plan than Quicken does, which offers more flexibility. You’ll likely love Quicken if you like other mobile budgeting apps like Mint.

Our Take

Quicken and Simplifi are two of the most popular budgeting platforms on the market and are designed for very different consumers. No matter which platform you choose, you can pair it with your Personal Capital Financial Dashboard. Not only does it feature budgeting and cash flow tools, but you’ll also have access to a retirement planner, investment checkup tool, investment fee analyzer, and more. Sign up for free today.

Get Started with Personal Capital’s Free Financial Tools

 

Author is not a client of Personal Capital Advisors Corporation and is compensated as a freelance writer.

The content contained in this blog post is intended for general informational purposes only and is not meant to constitute legal, tax, accounting or investment advice. Compensation not to exceed $500. You should consult a qualified legal or tax professional regarding your specific situation. Keep in mind that investing involves risk. The value of your investment will fluctuate over time and you may gain or lose money. Any reference to the advisory services refers to Personal Capital Advisors Corporation, a subsidiary of Personal Capital. Personal Capital Advisors Corporation is an investment adviser registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training nor does it imply endorsement by the SEC. Analysis is conducted at the time of publication and may change over time, please see each company’s website for updated information. As of August 2022.