Americans Recover From Holiday Overspending With The Help Of Microsoft Money 97 And Personal Financial Seminars

REDMOND, WA, February 4, 1997 — Following the traditional end-of-year holiday spending frenzy, Americans have an opportunity to put their personal finances in shape with Microsoft® Money 97 and a series of new personal finance seminars.

A recent survey conducted by Microsoft showed that nearly 50% of those responding said they spend randomly at holiday time, often letting impulse and emotion guide their purchases. But the personal computer and Microsoft’s personal finance software — Money 97 — combined with the knowledge gained in a new financial education seminar are forging the way to a financially fit future for many Americans.

Findings reveal a positive response to trial version and features of Money 97

With features available such as online banking and planning wizards, it’s no wonder tens of thousands of people have downloaded the trial version of Microsoft Money 97, the task-based personal finance software that makes paying bills, managing bank and credit card accounts and tracking finances easy and convenient. According to research conducted by Microsoft, more than 50% of the people who have downloaded the trial version already have acquired, or are planning to acquire, Money 97 once the 90-day trial period expires. “We have had such a tremendous response to the free trial version, that Microsoft has extended the trial offer so more people can see for themselves how Money 97 really does provide the easy way to manage personal finances,” says Arlette Cox, product manager for Money 97.

Of those who have tried Money 97, more than 80 percent said they were “extremely satisfied” with the software program. Three out of four who had previously used other personal finance software said Money 97 is a better, more user-friendly product. (More than one-third of those who have downloaded Money 97 previously used Intuit’s product, Quicken).

Renne Muse, a previous user of Quicken says, “Money 97 is so ‘common sense.’ It’s so easy to enter my data and get my financial tasks done. I just point and click my mouse, so I really can’t make a mistake as with the other personal finance products I’ve used in the past.”

15 million viewers see how easy and convenient it is to get in shape with Money 97

According to Charlene Duke, a chronic overspender who recently was featured on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” the prospect of seeing just where her money goes was a harsh reality. Charlene had been spending much more than she made. By managing her expenses in Money 97 she quickly and easily created easy-to-read graphs and charts, and was able to determine exactly what her largest expenditures were and how to better manage her funds. “I had never even turned on a computer until a month ago. Now I have a handle on my finances and I’m convinced Money 97 has helped me refocus and organize my budget so I am able to achieve my goals, like the swimming pool my husband and I have been wanting,” said Duke.

Growth in Home Banking

A remarkable 57 percent of new users said they intend to use the Money 97 online features for their future banking needs. With more than 60 financial institutions participating with Money 97 across the country, it’s no wonder that the online banking trend is steadily growing. A study by Jupiter Communications shows that over 750,000 households already are using online banking, with over 13 million expected to be banking online by the year 2000.

Seminars Lend Additional Support Additionally, Money 97 has been incorporated into the personal finance course, “The 7 Secrets of Financial Success,” developed by Successful Money Management Seminars, Inc. The seminar educates attendees on both the fundamentals of smart money management and on the basics of computerizing their finances. Seminar attendees receive a free Money 97 trial CD.

Across the country, thousands of people — some computer literate but many not — already have attended The 7 Secrets Seminars. “We are seeing a tremendous interest in the seminars from PC users and non-PC users alike. People really like their comprehensive nature. Those who walk in not knowing much about Money 97, or computers in general, are eager to try the program on their own,” say Beth and Alan Blecker, seminar instructors and financial planners from Suffern, NY.

“Managing your finances with Money 97 is easy and it’s amazing how quickly you can get started with the software. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve ever used personal finance software before, or used someone else’s product. I should know, I’ve converted from Quicken to Money 97 using Money’s Converter Wizard,” said Carla Jiminez, a seminar instructor and financial planner from Charleston, SC.

William Fink, a seminar instructor and portfolio manager added, “Doug Cochran, a host for the radio show ‘Computer Guy’ in the Dallas area was a confirmed Quicken user and put Money 97 to the test. It not only excelled on the tasks tested, but the product seamlessly converted his six years of Quicken data in five minutes. He loved it!”

With more than 35 cities across the country currently scheduled to host a Successful Money Management Seminar within the next few months, even people who overspent their holiday budget will have the opportunity to get on track and begin 1997 with a firmer grasp of their finances.

For more information on The 7 Secrets Seminars, call 1-888/326-7668. Microsoft Money 97 is available through resellers for approximately (U.S.)$34.95. For information on the free trial version and more, go to MoneyZone

Founded in 1981, Successful Money Management Seminars, Inc. is wholly-owned by Minneapolis, MN-based ReliaStar Financial Corp. (NYSE: RLR). SMMS, Inc., is known for its comprehensive personal finance seminars including the Successful Money Management Seminar (for people under age 50), Financial Strategies for Successful Retirement, (for people ages 50 to 65+) and Lifelong Financial Security (for retirees).

Founded in 1975, Microsoft is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

Microsoft is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries. Other products and company names mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

For additional information, contact: Betsy Rosenberg, Edelman Public Relations Worldwide, 312/240-2740, betsyr@edelman.com

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