Excel’s pivot tables reorganize, categorize, and summarize your data dynamically however you want. Look at it one way, then in seconds, look at it another way. It has a lot of features, but the basics alone are powerful. Today I’ll show you how to use it on a simple example. Let’s take the example from … Continue reading A new view on your data: Pivot Tables
Have you ever been overwhelmed with data? How can you organize it? How can you make sense of it all? I’ve tried a lot of databases, and I keep coming back to Excel. The main reason is that databases are designed to give you fixed reports, and the whole thing is structured to give … Continue reading Dealing with data: Sort and Filter
I have $10,000 to invest over the next six years. I have a chance to buy equipment that will save me $2000 a year for five years and after that I could sell it for $3000. Looks like $3000 ahead! But before I jump into this, I should compare it with other investment opportunities. Maybe … Continue reading Which investment is better?
Happy new year! This is a time for looking back and for looking ahead. How did you do financially this past year? Was it what you expected? What do you expect in the coming year, and the years ahead? If you could magically produce a spreadsheet that could help you look ahead, what would you … Continue reading What if you could visualize your financial future for the coming year?
When you can visualize your financial future using one of the spreadsheets I’ve included recently, it’s fun to put in some really high rate of return and watch your future self get rich. Before the great recession a few years ago, there were a lot of people touting 18% returns, and a lot more people … Continue reading Volatility is not your friend
A couple posts back, I looked at how much you could spend each year if you retired with 2 million dollars invested at 4%. (Answer: About $80,000, increasing each year for inflation). But how do you know you can get 4% year-after-year for 30 or 40 years? You don’t. Any investment has good years and … Continue reading Investment returns are uncertain. How much savings do I really need to retire?
Isn’t it hard to build a spreadsheet to analyze financial issues? Don’t you need to be a math whiz? Don't you need to write complicated formulas into all those cells? No, no, and no! You can do a lot with just addition, subtraction, and multiplication, and Excel will do all the arithmetic for you. The … Continue reading Simple spreadsheets for complex questions
Are you saving enough to retire? That depends on how much you need to have when you enter retirement. Last time I showed you a spreadsheet to help one of my clients amass $2,000,000 by the time he retires. But will that be enough? We can build a simple spreadsheet that gives you a start on … Continue reading How much money do I need to retire?
This is a question I get a lot. A man in one of my classes asked this recently. He was putting $2000 a month into a 401(k) and planned to work another 30 years. Would you believe that you can answer this question in Excel using only addition, subtraction and multiplication? We can build a … Continue reading Am I saving enough for retirement?
Do you think a financial planner will give you the answers you need? Possibly, but only if you understand and contribute. Don Shaughnessy addressed this recently in his daily and thoughtful MoneyFYI blog, The Client Is the Planner and the Planner Has Responsibilities. Addressing financial planners, he writes, The key point is a client must … Continue reading You Are Your Own Financial Planner