Converting data from MYM and other personal finance programs using QIF files

What follows is some information that will help if you are working with QIF files to exchange data between personal finance programs....with an emphasis on converting from Manage Your Money (MYM) to Quicken.
I've been a long-time user of Andrew Tobias's Manage Your Money (MYM) personal finance software. I first started using the DOS-based version in the '80s and then switched to the Windows version in the '90s. While Meca Software sold MYM directly to consumers, their primary business was in developing branded versions of the product for various banks and in developing other branded financial management products for the financial services industry. With the rise of Intuit/Quicken and the use of web-based applications, MYM faded out of existence after changing owners from H&R Block, Nationsbank and BankAmerica, and New England Life in fairly short order. So, I eventually found myself looking for a migration path for my personal finance data.
Conveniently enough, my other connection to MYM was as a consultant in the financial services industry in the '90s working at many of those firms who were Meca's primary customers. As a result, I spent a good bit of time working with the underlying data structures and exporting that information into other data sources. For commercial uses, those formats generally were XML or a commercial database product but for individual use the most common approach was to convert to QIF files for import to Quicken, Microsoft Money, etc.
Intuit announced a couple of years ago that they would start to phase out support for QIF files in Quicken in favor of other file formats for importing data. So, for people trying to migrate or convert data to Quicken, this is rapidly an option that is fading away. However, older versions of Quicken still support this and that may be part of your migration path - i.e. convert from MYM to Quicken '99 and then upgrade the Quicken '99 file to Quicken 2005. Microsoft Money also still supports QIF pretty well.
There is a tool available from Response Mechanics specifically to convert some versions of MYM to some versions of Quicken. It works pretty well for those versions of the products - not so well if what you really want is to convert to MS Money and not at all if your are converting out of something other than MYM. Warning!: The tool from Response Mechanics uses a license key mechanism that ties the tool to a particular PC and a particular configuration of that PC - you should view it as a tool that you will get to use temporarily. However, it is free to try and cheap to buy (or re-buy). It strangely doesn't work well with the very last Windows version of MYM and also doesn't work that well with some of the bank branded versions of MYM.
There are also a few people out there who have small businesses around helping MYM users. Andrew Tobias on his website recommends Mike Starkey for MYM emergencies.
Before you embark upon converting MYM data (or any other), you should consider if this is "good" data that you want in your new personal finance program.
  • For example, MYM pre-dates 401(k) plans which are now common. I used to store this as a "savings" account and used reports to segregate my long-term, and non-taxable, accounts from my regular savings, checking, and credit card accounts. Quicken and Money both provide excellent support for 401(k) and other non-taxable accounts and so you will probably want to use those accounts going forward - if you convert this data from your old (e.g. MYM) system, you may want to consider keeping it only as a legacy account.
  • Another wrinkle can be how budget categories are supported. MYM only supported 2-levels of nested categories - some other programs may support more and others none. Programs also differ on if transaction amounts can be allocated to a "parent" category or only to "child" categories.
My MYM data covers from 1986 to 2006. It was converted from MYM DOS to MYM Windows in the early '90s (I think about 1992). For me, even though I have the technical information to convert, I didn't. I still have MYM on my PC but stopped using it after Dec 2005 and I setup reports to print to PDF as an archive of my MYM data. MYM is a Windows 3.x program and only works so-so with Windows XP...maybe not at all with Vista. For the 2006 year, it worked better for me to start with the proverbial clean slate using the latest version of Quicken Premier.
However, if you need to convert, you'll need to learn a bit about the structure of QIF files. From the examples below, you should be able to setup a basic conversion.
One part of converting financial data is to convert the budget categories - e.g. "Rent", "Auto Insurance", etc. Here is a sample QIF file for budget categories:
!Type:Cat NGifts DGifts received I ^ NSalary DSalary earned T I ^ NInterest and Dividends T I ^ NInterest and Dividends:Interest T I ^ NInterest and Dividends:Dividends T I ^ NAuto DAutomobile expenses E ^ NMisc expense E ^ NMisc income I ^
The next step is to convert accounts - e.g. the checking account, the savings account, etc. Here is a sample QIF for basic accounts:
!Account NBank of America Savings TBank DMy personal savings account ^ NBank of America Checking TBank DMy personal checking account ^ NUSAA Mastercard TCCard DMy personal credit card account ^
Note that these are savings, checking and credit cards accounts. These are not investment accounts - brokerage, 401(k), etc. Also, note this just creates the accounts and not the transactions....those are next.
Once you have categories loaded and accounts loaded, you can then load the transactions which occur within those accounts and which allocate expenses (and income) to those budget categories. Here is a sample QIF file for some basic transactions:
!Account NBank of America Checking ^ !Type:Bank D1/1/1995 T1000.50 PACME Corp. MWeekly paycheck LSalary C* ^ D1/2/1995 T-21.34 PExxon MGas for car LAuto ^ D1/5/1995 T-14.34 N1001 PExxon MGas for car LAuto ^ !Account NCitiBank Visa ^ !Type:CCard D5/2/1995 T-55.12 PExxon MGas for car LTravel expenses ^
The part I haven't touched on is the format of the MYM data. The QIF files above can be imported into Quicken or MS Money but how to get the data out of MYM. MYM used a dBase file system to store it's data. You can open these up using Excel, Access, or other tools. If you setup a small sample fileset in MYM, it isn't to hard to figure out the tables, columns, etc. of where data is stored in MYM.
- Brian

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