Road to FISE: Lesson #1 – Top Excel Spreadsheet
January 1, 20202
To the financially confused or spiritually financially seeking internet. I really have no clue what people read on this blog. In general, there is a good amount of traffic. A lot of it seems to be directed to my Star Trek Fan Fiction post of Trip and T’Pol from the Star Trek Enterprise, and the other hot post is one I wrote about Living Will and Trusts.
As I have explained before, I trust very few people with my money. I trust myself. We have a family member as our accountant. We have a very good trust and estates attorney. Otherwise, I have been our household’s financial CFO since 2009. This coincided with both Mr. Plastic Picker and I having attending level jobs with attending level salaries. The combination of my taking over at CFO, and finally making MD attending incomes contributed to that year being the year we started growing our financial muscle. For us financial independence has never really been about retiring early, it has to do with intellectual and professional freedom.
Our first step to Financial Independence and now trying to Save the Earth, where we are able to comfortably make targeted donations to stop climate change – came with a simple excel spreadsheet. I don’t use MINT. I don’t use Personal Capital, which seems to advertise on every personal finance bloggers website. You can certainly use those. My excel spreadsheets are personalized for our family. Plus, remember I don’t trust anyone with my passwords.
On my excel spreasheet, I have listed
|Bank Account Totals|
|529 Plan Totals|
|Equity Primary Home|
|Equity of Rental Properties|
|Value of Vested Pension|
We have a lot of investments and a good number of properties that are mostly safe. I don’t play the stock market. We don’t invest in anything other than low cost index funds. I update the totals whenever I can, usually at least once a week. I manually do it, because it’s fun for me. It makes me look at all the statements carefully to make sure there are no errors. And then I have another sequence of tables that auto-sum our networth.
We have several reliable cars. Notice I don’t put the values of our cars, and that is because cars always depreciate. I put any liabilities into our debt category but never the value. This is a psychological trick because expensive cars are a waste of money. Honestly, I think people’s conversations are funny. If I see an expensive car and I kind of off hand know people’s networth (I’m usually right), and if it’s beyond your ability to afford it – really it’s kind of watching a financial train wreck about to happen.
|Primary Home Mortgage|
|Rental Property Mortgage|
We have very little debt that is not investment debt. We carry a car loan now as part of our tax plan but again it’s very little. We could pay it off. I always have my interest rates of my mortgages listed. We’ve never had consumer debt, ever. Even as residents. We’ve always paid off our credit cards in full every month.
|Short Term Financial TO DO|
|2020 Fiancial Goals|
Then we have short term financial to do’s with deadlines. Example is pay quarterly taxes, or expected repair cost for some rental property or some downpayment for an expected new investment. And then we have yearly financial goals that we have decided together which usually includes a certain amount we want to put away in the kids’ 529 plan or if we want to buy some kind of big investment like a property.
Notice, there is nothing about saving for a fancy vacation or buying something that will inevitably depreciate. Those are never our goals. This is the first page of my excel book I look at which kind of sums up how I see our financial lives, and our life goals which is building true value. We still go on vacations and spend money, but we can always do it within the money that we spend. Our liquid totals are always at least 6 months of living expenses. It’s currently much more because we are soon to invest in something.
Okay. Hope you enjoyed it! Next lesson will be how we track our monthly finances. See personal finance is really simple. I didn’t pay anyone to build my excle spreadsheet, it comes with microsoft when I bought the computer. Like anything, if it’s homemade its better – including your financial tracking worksheet. The actual worksheet is more complicated because we have lots of investments, but overall – the bare bones is simple. It’s just an excel sheeet.