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Do you find yourself staring at your Excel spread sheet?
Old 06-12-2006, 07:07 AM   #1
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Do you find yourself staring at your Excel spread sheet?

Do you find yourself staring at your Excel spread sheet with your current net worth, spending and investment balances projections?

I look at it and think - yes I have enough money, yes I can do this, yes I don't need all that much money to live the way I want.

How did I get it?
Man, if I didn't make some stupid mistakes I would have more!
If I wasn't so conservative I would have more!
If when I was younger focused on earning money and not doing a good job I would have much much more.
Then I think no use in thinking about regrets - forgive yourself.

Is there a formula calculation somewhere in the spread sheet and I don't really have this money?

I'm estimating my annual spending at 45K (after tax; home paid for) growing at 4% per year. I also estimate I will have $1M investment balance - in current dollars and a house valued at 400K (future dollars) when I die in 34 years from now.


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Re: Do you find yourself staring at your Excel spread sheet?
Old 06-12-2006, 08:57 AM   #2
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Re: Do you find yourself staring at your Excel spread sheet?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dex
Is there a formula calculation somewhere in the spread sheet and I don't really have this money?
I spent a lot of time going from one retirement calculator to another. T. Rowe Price was a great system in the '80s and is still pretty good today. Eventually FIRECalc won out for "Let's see what effect this has" and Financial Engines became the calculator of choice for "I want to spent 10 man-hours exploring this particular scenario."

I also spent a lot of time looking for an "advisor" who'd run our numbers on their proprietary system. After several months of talking to various sales staff advisors I kept getting pointed toward AXA, so I gave them a call.

Their workbook is impressive. If you plow through their checklists & questionnaires you'll reassure yourself that you've covered all the bases.

I visited with their staff for an hour, but the sales guy eventually made the mistake of admitting that their current system was being upgraded to a more powerful version. I suggested that he call me when it was ready...
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Re: Do you find yourself staring at your Excel spread sheet?
Old 06-12-2006, 01:03 PM   #3
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Re: Do you find yourself staring at your Excel spread sheet?

Stared at it intently for about a month or two when I first ER'ed, and then spent another couple of weeks when I found this site and discovered that I might have been doing it all wrong for my first three years of ER.

Something within was eventually satisfied.
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Re: Do you find yourself staring at your Excel spread sheet?
Old 06-12-2006, 04:49 PM   #4
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Re: Do you find yourself staring at your Excel spread sheet?

I stare at mine all the time. I keep telling myself that I need to work for 6 more years. Wow that seems like a life sentence!
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Re: Do you find yourself staring at your Excel spread sheet?
Old 06-12-2006, 11:56 PM   #5
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Re: Do you find yourself staring at your Excel spread sheet?

Less than I used to.

I also check my Vanguard less often than before, too (how many times a day?).

Having analyzed the situation once or twice and learned from pain and some good reading, that particular stress is gone now. I still know that there is a train in the tunnel coming at me, but I know how to get off the tracks now.

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Re: Do you find yourself staring at your Excel spread sheet?
Old 06-13-2006, 02:56 AM   #6
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Re: Do you find yourself staring at your Excel spread sheet?

As I approach nearer and nearer to my predefined goal, I find myself looking at my spreadsheet more and more often. Right now I'm staring at a mere 7k gap, so I'm VERY close. What worries me, is that I have a tendency to "raise the bar" as I approach, or reach, a goal. Thus, even after I "cross the finish line" I may just find myself back in yet another race. I guess I'm still struggling with the 'ol "how much is enough" question. I'd like to reach the day where I no longer feel the urge to stare at "the spreadsheet." I suspect that day won't arrive until I come to grip with my desire to raise the bar and my desire for more padding.
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Re: Do you find yourself staring at your Excel spread sheet?
Old 06-13-2006, 09:26 AM   #7
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Re: Do you find yourself staring at your Excel spread sheet?

I used to look more, but now that I am set up with allocation goals, automatic investing/saving etc, I don't look as often. I was updating my spreadsheet monthly, but I think I might switch to quarterly (I don't want to see June's results when they are finalized...).

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Re: Do you find yourself staring at your Excel spread sheet?
Old 06-13-2006, 01:18 PM   #8
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Re: Do you find yourself staring at your Excel spread sheet?

I am trying to look at it less. I mainly need to update my taxable investment records and I am thinking of only doing that once at the end of the year.
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Re: Do you find yourself staring at your Excel spread sheet?
Old 06-15-2006, 08:51 PM   #9
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Re: Do you find yourself staring at your Excel spread sheet?

Almost a year ago now had my job changed....and as a result looked like I might be able to take a layoff and get severence....took a long hard look at it and between bouts of glee and depression finally came to realize that I didnt' really have much of a life outside of work, the work was not anywhere near as much fun as it was 20 years ago...and if I took the severance I could probably retire at 49.....

ah..but....then...when you finally come to a decision...the rug's pulled and I was refused the layoff!!* So now, a year later, with union indicating could be another year before go to arbitration, am starting to wornder if I shouldn't just leave!

With a little over 600k in savings, rrsps, and pension fund....it looks doable but...click, point, click, point, click, point......staring at the sheet, running those numbers....ahh the wasted time!!

I wonder what I'll be doing in another year....click, point* or bait cast!!
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Re: Do you find yourself staring at your Excel spread sheet?
Old 06-21-2006, 12:14 PM   #10
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Re: Do you find yourself staring at your Excel spread sheet?

Ahh yes..the Spreadsheet Stare. 8)

I have used several calculators on the intenet. I used a couple of "free" Planners about 15 years ago including my CPA who was also a FP. I never paid for any of these and won't in the future but the data was valuable when I was finally starting on my path to FI and I still look back at those initial "estimates" and get a kick out of how off they are today.

I use a series of spreadsheets along with Money to track, trend and forecast expenses, investments and income projections. These have changes a lot in the past 4 years along with the major changes in my life over that same period of time. All of the life changes were incorporated into these projections to see how much will be enough and when will we get there.

I retired in 2002. My late wife retired three months later. I took a short term job and we moved 1500 miles. She died 7 months into her ER. I choose to keep working. I remarried and my current wife and I plan on ER in 13 months. I now have 4 grandkids and we are investing in education funds for each of them. We are slowly upgrading and repairing a large home we plan on selling in a couple of years (for a tidy profit) and then downsize to a fully paid house in a less expensive area. We have tax avoidance considerations to plan around, estate plans, prior Trusts to deal with (late wife) and a cabin in the mountains that we may or may not keep another 5 years. Etc.

Spreadsheets help me keep it all organized and I can easily play What If? games with it to see the real effect of paying off the mortgage early or getting a higher or lower return on our investments. Mine are not all that complex and I don't need them to be....just a nice way to double check the belt and suspenders are working.
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Re: Do you find yourself staring at your Excel spread sheet?
Old 06-22-2006, 09:06 AM   #11
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Re: Do you find yourself staring at your Excel spread sheet?

This month, I have been staring at my excel spreadsheets and wondering, "what is fundamentally different with my investments that makes them worth less than they were worth a few weeks ago."

The more red I see in my investments, the harder it will be to get to RE...
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Re: Do you find yourself staring at your Excel spread sheet?
Old 06-22-2006, 10:48 AM   #12
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Re: Do you find yourself staring at your Excel spread sheet?

I tend to retreat into the spreadsheets after 'incidents' especially teamwork. On Tuesday, I had a meeting with a semi boss about a project that turned into why arenít people happy working here. 3 hours later, I ended up telling her I was pretty happy until she started pushing on why I wasnít happy. The last 2 days, I have locked myself in my office staring at the spreadsheets and listening to margaritaville.com. I am trying to calculate my way out of losing the next 5 years of my life to teamwork.
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Re: Do you find yourself staring at your Excel spread sheet?
Old 06-22-2006, 12:51 PM   #13
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Re: Do you find yourself staring at your Excel spread sheet?

Quote:
Originally Posted by soupcxan
This month, I have been staring at my excel spreadsheets and wondering, "what is fundamentally different with my investments that makes them worth $1000 less than they were worth a few weeks ago."

To some, $1k may not seem like very much, but it's quite a bit to me...the more red I see in my investments, the harder it will be to get to RE...
Remember, it's not what the accounts are worth NOW that matters, but what they are worth when you want to spend the money.* The current value, or the value at the end of 2006, or any other time prior to spending, is just* a marker indicating some sort of estimate of what the value will actually be.* If you are 20 years away from RE, then this estimate is pretty crude, and a 10% fluctuation is just noise noise noise.* If you are 20 days away, then the same 10% is a little more significant.

As an emotional matter, the 10% down tick is hard to deal with.* What works for me is to build a history over several years, so that you can see the trend line of your investments and savings.* If you don't have several years history yet, then realize that you are so far away from FIRE that the first thing to do is to build this history (by saving saving saving and letting a few years go by).
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Re: Do you find yourself staring at your Excel spread sheet?
Old 06-23-2006, 11:53 PM   #14
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Re: Do you find yourself staring at your Excel spread sheet?

when the markets are on a upswing it's alamost everyday, but when the markets have gone south I avoid it for months.................
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Re: Do you find yourself staring at your Excel spread sheet?
Old 06-24-2006, 11:31 AM   #15
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Re: Do you find yourself staring at your Excel spread sheet?

When the markets were up, I starred at the speedsheet to see how much it had gone up. After May 11, I have only updated one or twice since then.
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