Getting Started with Moneywell for macOS
How to get up and running with MoneyWell
MoneyWell for Mac is designed to be a full-featured personal finance app that can handle all your banking and budgeting needs. Our goal was to reduce the clutter and confusion of most personal finance apps and give you a tool you’ll enjoy using every day. Let’s get started using MoneyWell.
Before we dig into actually setting up MoneyWell, let’s go through the process at a higher level, so you understand why each step matters.
The real power of MoneyWell is the way it allows you to manage your spending proactively. To do this, MoneyWell needs to know a few things:
- The bank accounts where you store your money
- How much money you spend on different categories (expense buckets) each month
- How much income you have today to spend
You’ll notice as we go through the setup process that we are giving MoneyWell this information. By creating a new document, you are setting up your bank accounts and downloading some history into MoneyWell. After that, you’ll set up your budget to tell MoneyWell about your average spending. Lastly, you’ll assign the balances in your accounts to your buckets, so MoneyWell knows how much you have to spend today.
Creating a New Document
The first thing that you’ll need to do after installing MoneyWell is to set up your document. When MoneyWell launches, you’ll see a “Welcome to MoneyWell” window giving you three options:
Since you’re already here learning how to use MoneyWell, you don’t need to worry about the third choice and the Sample document is mainly for trying MoneyWell before purchasing the full package, so let’s click on Start a New Document.
A new document window will appear and ask you to give your new MoneyWell document a name to save it. You can also pick where to store your document at this point. If you aren’t sure where to put it, your
Documents folder is a great spot. Click Save to store your new document.
A “New Document Setup” panel will appear giving you two options:
- Import Accounts
- Use New Account Guide
If you have used a personal finance app and have exported your transaction history to one or more QIF files, you can choose Import Accounts to import your existing banking activity and you’ll have a fully populated document (see Importing Transactions for more details about the import process).
Click Use Use New Account Guide to bring up the “New Account” panel.
Create a New Account
If you have Direct Connect Banking enabled for your account, MoneyWell can discover your accounts automatically. If you want to download transactions from your bank’s website or manually enter them, you don’t have to pick a financial institution. Just leave the “No Financial Institution” choice selected.
To select your financial institution you can scroll through the list or type some part of the name to filter the list to a smaller subset, then follow the steps below.
- Enter your username and password (skip this step to add an account manually)
- Click Continue
- When the account list appears, you can optionally click accounts to unselect ones you don’t need
- Click Continue to save your account(s) and download recent transactions
MoneyWell will download any available transactions from your bank. If there are transactions that are not available to be downloaded, MoneyWell will set an initial balance transaction to account for the older transactions.
Web Connect or Manual
- Click Continue without enter any username or password.
- Click the “Type” pop-up to change the type.
- Set the Name (it should be unique)
- Set the Balance and As Of values (see below for details).
- Set other account values (see the full list below).
- Click Continue to save your account
- Type – The choices are checking account, savings account, credit card, loan/line of credit, investment account, cash account, and money market account.
- Name – This is the name you give to the account. It should be descriptive enough for you to identify the account.
- Balance – You can enter the initial bank balance. Pick the balance prior to any transaction activity you will be adding to MoneyWell.
- As Of – You can enter the date of the initial bank balance. This date should be the day before any other transactions in your account.
- Currency – Sets the default register currency for every transaction in that account. It also drives the currency formatting for the accounts list and reports.
- Memo – You can enter a note for informational purposes.
- Routing # – The routing number for your bank.
- Account # – The account number. The “Routing #” and “Account #” values are only necessary if you are using direct connect banking or if you download QFX or OFX files from your bank’s web site.
If you would like to import your transactions from you bank follow the next section other skip to …
Importing Bank Transactions
Why enter all your transactions by hand if you can import them from your financial institution? Even if your bank doesn’t support direct connect banking, the odds are good that it still will allow you to download in one of the formats MoneyWell can read.
Import takes very few steps:
- Open your financial institution’s website in your browser and follow the instructions for downloading transactions.
- Select the account you want to import to in MoneyWell.
- Drag and drop the downloaded file to the MoneyWell icon in the Dock or use File > Import to select the file.
- Adjust any settings that are displayed and click Continue to finish the import.
If your bank gives you a choice of download formats, you should use OFX/QFX if you can. The next best is QIF and then delimited is the final option. Sometimes it’s hard to tell the format by the way a financial institutions list them. Here are other potential names:
- Quicken Web Connect QFX – This is another form of OFX, which typically has a QFX extension.
- Microsoft Money – Even though this software isn’t sold anymore, the OFX format may be given this title.
- Quicken QIF – This is the QIF format and works well if OFX isn’t available.
- Comma Separated Values (CSV) – This is a delimited format and will work as a last result.
There is nothing you need to do for an OFX import. That file format is very complete and MoneyWell reads it without any help from you.
QIF files aren’t quite as sophisticated as OFX and may require you to specify date and number formatting. You can just pick the date format from the popup menu or you can type your own format string. Use ‘M’ or ‘MM’ for the month, ‘d’ or ‘dd’ for the day, and ‘yy’ or ‘yyyy’ for the year. Match the delimiter shown in the sample date except for the special case when a date looks like 05/22’12, then use MM/dd/yy and MoneyWell will handle it.
For the number format, the critical issue is the decimal setting. Make sure that it’s correct more than the thousands separator.
Delimited files are simple text files with a series of values separated by a comma or other character. Each row in the file is a transaction and the values in each row are considered columns.
MoneyWell gives you a lot of control over your import layout. You can select the date and number format in the same way as you would a QIF import, plus you get to assign which fields in MoneyWell correspond to the columns in the delimited file. You can also save a layout and give it a name to reuse it in the future. In fact, MoneyWell will automatically reuse it based on the account you have selected.
Check the “First row is a header” option if the file looks like it has column titles in the first row. These will help you assign fields to your columns.
Change the “Delimiter” until you see all your columns broken out in the “Review Data” table in the lower right. Most files use commas or tabs, but there are some that use semicolons or colons as delimiters
Lastly, assign fields to each relevant column by clicking on the popup in the “Assign Fields” table in the lower left and picking a field. Below are some tips as to which fields are critical:
- Amount – This is a critical field and must be assigned to a transaction unless there are two amount columns (see below).
- Amount (Debit/-) – Use this amount field if you have both credit and debit columns in your file. This is for the debit or negative numbers.
- Amount (Credit/+) – Use this amount field if you have both credit and debit columns in your file. This is for the credit or positive numbers.
- Bucket Name – This is an optional field and is rarely included in delimited files. Using this will assign a bucket to the imported transaction based on the information in the file.
- Check Ref – Only select this field if the column truly contains check numbers. If there is a check number during import, MoneyWell will set the type to Check and force the amount to be negative.
- Date – This is a critical field and must be assigned to a transaction or it will have no date.
- Memo – This is an optional field and will assign the column value to the memo of the transaction.
- Payee – This is a critical field and should be assigned to a transaction.
- Type – This is optional field and rarely used. Do not use it unless the amount is always positive in the file and the type column is the only way to determine debit versus credit.
- Unique ID – This is an optional field and rarely used. If you use this, make sure these values are indeed unique. If not, MoneyWell will discard duplicate transactions with the same value in this field and your imported information will be incomplete. Here are some basic rules to follow:
Don’t assign the same field to more than one column. You may think that using the memo field multiple times concatenates the values, but it won’t.
Don’t use the Amount field if you are also using the Amount (Debit/-) and Amount (Credit/+) fields—pick the one or use the pair.
If you use the Type field, make sure that the common name for the deposit type is in the comma-separated “Deposit Types” string.