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Planning Fetish?
Old 03-12-2011, 09:51 AM   #1
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Planning Fetish?

My DW and I are were both accountants when we worked. She was a project manager and I a senior bank exec. Planning was a cornerstone of our working lives. We have been retired for almost 5 years and we may have taken planning to an extreme. We track everything on spreadsheets: where we sleep(to ensure we have tax and other data); travel expenses by trip per night; workouts including calories burned, type, location, duration, weight before and after; very detailed expense budgets going out 3 years; portfolio returns; income sources; calendars going out a year with projected trips, flights, use of our various vacation properties,etc. Our friends think we are nuts but we both love this stuff. What do you guys think? Maybe too much? But can't imagine doing it otherwise.
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Old 03-12-2011, 10:00 AM   #2
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If it suits your lifestyle and you enjoy it then what others think is irrelevant.
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Old 03-12-2011, 10:05 AM   #3
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If it cuts into the rest of your life, you'll make adjustments without the suggestion of others. If you're retired, you probably have no shortage of time, so I doubt it. Not sure why you care what others think.

I don't plan to the extent you apparently do, but I do more than anyone else I know personally. Most of them will never be able to retire, or retire poorly, as a result of their lack or planning. Why would I ask or care what they think?

If we tell you you're nuts, what will you do anyway?

IOW, you're fine...
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Old 03-12-2011, 10:05 AM   #4
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As you long as you are happy and you do nothing illegal or unethical with your spreadsheet files, I'd say go for it !
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Old 03-12-2011, 10:07 AM   #5
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You are both consenting adults.
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Old 03-12-2011, 10:07 AM   #6
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Well, it makes me feel better.

I loooove spreadsheets. I use them to keep records of my finances, hobbies, diet, gift giving, etc... I am a scientist after all and my mom was an accountant so precise record keeping is in my blood. My iPad has become a great enabler. My spreadsheets now travel with me.
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Old 03-12-2011, 10:14 AM   #7
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Thanks for the replies. I was wondering if we were really that far off the norm? What others think isn't that important to us for something like this but I am always surprised how unplanned/unprepared some of our friends and relatives are.
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Old 03-12-2011, 10:15 AM   #8
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Hello FD - do you enter your calorie intake everyday ? What diet-related data do you enter in your files ?
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I use them to keep records of my finances, hobbies, diet, gift giving, etc
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Old 03-12-2011, 10:24 AM   #9
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It's your time and your choice. Who cares what other people do? My question would be, what type of analysis do you do on all this data? Can you tell me the mean and standard deviation of your monthly electricity bills at all your homes for the period 1997 to 2010, for example?
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Old 03-12-2011, 10:42 AM   #10
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Hello FD - do you enter your calorie intake everyday ? What diet-related data do you enter in your files ?
I am on the DASH diet (to lower BP and bad cholesterol). I don't track calorie intake because I don't have a weight problem, but I track servings of fruits, vegetable, grain, dairies, etc... to make sure that I am more or less on target with the DASH guideline.
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Old 03-12-2011, 10:43 AM   #11
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Thank you for clarifying.
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Old 03-12-2011, 10:51 AM   #12
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Our friends think we are nuts but we both love this stuff. What do you guys think? Maybe too much? But can't imagine doing it otherwise.
As long as you two aren't the people who drag out your iPad and start a monologue on some irrelevant piece of information that you alone have captured in your spreadsheet. Or, the ones who use your data-tracking to prove that you are 'always right'.

Those behaviors can shut down interesting conversations in a hurry.

omni
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Old 03-12-2011, 10:54 AM   #13
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It's your time and your choice. Who cares what other people do? My question would be, what type of analysis do you do on all this data? Can you tell me the mean and standard deviation of your monthly electricity bills at all your homes for the period 1997 to 2010, for example?
Well no can't tell you that. Can tell you what the utilities were for all places each month from purchase. Can tell you what work out I did on Feb 10, 2007. But I think the most useful planning relates to retirement finances/cash flow and our travel schedule. We fly somewhere every month(at least) and if you don't book well in advance you can't use frequent flier points or it costs too much. Some of the other spreadsheets like workouts or diets are motivational. Some are for taxes like cost basis or time spent out of country. We don't use any financial planners or tax accountants or invest in ETF's or mutual funds so we have to ensure we have all our required data.
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Old 03-12-2011, 10:57 AM   #14
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As long as you two aren't the people who drag out your iPad and start a monologue on some irrelevant piece of information that you alone have captured in your spreadsheet. Or, the ones who use your data-tracking to prove that you are 'always right'.

Those behaviors can shut down interesting conversations in a hurry.

omni
No never thought of that....
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Old 03-12-2011, 11:04 AM   #15
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Sounds like you and your wife have the kind of useful "fetish" that helped you be successful in the first place. I am actually working to be more like you in the tracking department.

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Old 03-12-2011, 11:13 AM   #16
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Our friends think we are nuts but we both love this stuff. What do you guys think? Maybe too much? But can't imagine doing it otherwise.
You friends are right but who cares?
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Old 03-12-2011, 11:20 AM   #17
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Ooooo...wanna do my spreadsheets for me?

Just kidding.

I am just the opposite. I had to do R&D project funding records and timelines (can you say "milestone"? ) ad nauseum while I w*rked. You wouldn't catch me doing any of that these days.

I do however keep a detailed appointment schedule and ToDo reminders using my email calendar function.
Those reminders keep me from getting bored or saying silly things like...
"so what should I do now?"
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Old 03-12-2011, 11:45 AM   #18
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I love Excel (and Open Office which I now use). I have spreadsheets for everything. My retirement and personal finance Excel workbook has 17 spreadsheets that have evolved over the years and are each pretty full of computations. I work on it every day.
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Old 03-12-2011, 11:57 AM   #19
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What's that term, paralysis by analysis? DH loves to plan but it often gets in the way of his acting. Very frustrating sometimes (a simple "want to go to a movie?" ends up with way too many scenarios). Spontaneity can be your friend.

You don't sound like paralysis is an issue for you, and it's obviously ingrained in both of you. This sentence, however, is interesting:

Quote:
What others think isn't that important to us for something like this but I am always surprised how unplanned/unprepared some of our friends and relatives are.
Although you are very successful, I don't think liking to plan and track is intrinsically good or bad but it sounds like you might be looking down on your friends and family who don't share your enjoyment of it.
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Old 03-12-2011, 12:01 PM   #20
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You remind me of my niece Danmar. She loves the whole process of planning anything, and makes copious use of spreadsheets. She works as a solicitor, is very energetic and fun-loving (big soccer player and fan), and just loves to organize.

Sounds like you guys should continue doing what you're doing. As long as you have an instinct for knowing when you're overdoing it and just need to cut loose, I think you'll be just fine.
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