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Budgeting software vs my Excel spreadsheets?
Old 03-11-2021, 06:09 AM   #1
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Budgeting software vs my Excel spreadsheets?

Getting closer to retirement and want to simplify my tracking and budgeting methodology. For years I have maintained multiple spreadsheets following my investments, real estate, cash flow, proposed budget, buckets of funds, etc..
It's a bit convoluted and going forward I want to simplify.

Does anyone have any favorite software for post retirement budgets, cash flow, etc.. I 'm not a fan of things like Personal Capital that link into my brokerage and banking accounts..I worry about the security risk if there is a data breach. Or do I just try to create a simpler excel sheet?

Thanks
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Old 03-11-2021, 06:16 AM   #2
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The thing that's nice with your custom Excel spreadsheets is that it is put together in a way that works and makes sense for you, not a generic format intended for the masses using the most common factors.

So, my vote is to update what you have to be what you want it to be going forward.
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Old 03-11-2021, 06:30 AM   #3
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I'm a spreadsheet guy - I love playing in Excel. I use 3 workbooks. One for income and expenses which I break out by item and major and sub categories as well as payment methods. I also capture the sales tax too... came in handy a couple times for taxes but as a low spender I usually use IRS default. The second is a simple balance sheet I manually update (investments are on separate tabs and also give me cost basis information). I prefer manually updating as it is hands-on and I am intimately familiar with my accounts and also any unexpected transactions will be noticed quickly. The third is more of a projection tool that I play with from time to time that pulls information from my balance sheet and expenses to project out my FIRE cashflow.


Bottom line, use whatever works for you. I never liked some of the hidden calculations in the software packages and with a spreadsheet I know exactly how and what assumptions were used... I also don't need to worry so much about ongoing upgrades or fees or the account being hacked and getting access to multiple accounts.
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Old 03-11-2021, 06:37 AM   #4
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I enjoy You Need A Budget (YNAB). It can either link to your accounts or you can keep it manual. You can create separate budgets for your living expenses and real estate, etc. Customer service and training are good. Their reports provide what I need. They make it kind of fun.
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Old 03-11-2021, 06:42 AM   #5
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My first thought was: What are you going to do with your time in retirement if you don't have a bunch of Excel spreadsheets to fool with?
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Old 03-11-2021, 06:43 AM   #6
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+1 on designing your own. Mine has morphed into a monster of data that's important to me. Back in 2015, very simple. Now, colored up & multiple pages for 40 years into the future and 6 years of spending data (monthly) for analysis and discussion with DW.

We also keep a column of "what happened" in any given month that explains the big spends months. Being able to manipulate the data is important to me. I use MINT for data collection...
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Old 03-11-2021, 06:44 AM   #7
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I like my customized spreadsheets too. I doubt I could find software that tracks all of the things that my spreadsheet does, particularly the interconnectivity that my fine tuned group of sheets now accommodates. I did convert my excel sheets to Google sheets a couple of years ago, which I am happy with, as it now lives in the cloud accessible from anywhere.
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Old 03-11-2021, 06:49 AM   #8
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I've used spreadsheets for years and they've morphed to fit our financial situation hand in glove. I'd stick with spreadsheets.
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Old 03-11-2021, 06:51 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by racy View Post
My first thought was: What are you going to do with your time in retirement if you don't have a bunch of Excel spreadsheets to fool with?
Good point!
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Old 03-11-2021, 07:05 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Golden sunsets View Post
I like my customized spreadsheets too. I doubt I could find software that tracks all of the things that my spreadsheet does, particularly the interconnectivity that my fine tuned group of sheets now accommodates. I did convert my excel sheets to Google sheets a couple of years ago, which I am happy with, as it now lives in the cloud accessible from anywhere.

Hmm.. that's a good idea. I think I pay for the privilege of using Microsoft Office Suite.
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Old 03-11-2021, 07:07 AM   #11
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If you were starting from scratch, I would recommend Quicken, but you already have the spreadsheets built so I would just adjust them and continue to use them.
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Old 03-11-2021, 07:08 AM   #12
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I also use Excel spreadsheets for tax planning, tracking interest, dividends, capital gains and losses, rental income and expenses, charitable deductions, medical expenses, tax payments and 401k/tIRA withdrawals or Roth conversions. I also track my net worth quarterly. I recently started recording all of my cryptocurrency transactions so I can see if Iím making any money, since crypto accounts donít show gains or losses.
I donít track daily expenses, but I do watch my total monthly spending and checking account balances. Our biggest expenses are taxes and charitable contributions. I donít see a reason to track every penny.
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Old 03-11-2021, 07:58 AM   #13
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I too am an excel fan with workbooks for all the parts of my financial life. Many times I have better understood a particular financial detail by "tweaking" my forecasting spreadsheet to model that detail.
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Old 03-11-2021, 08:06 AM   #14
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I'm a spreadsheet guy too... was referred to as an Excel jockey when I was working, but I use Quicken for my personal finances and have for years.

I have all of my assets and liabilities in Quicken and most are linked electronically. I run One Step Update weekly or so and review and accept transactions.

I use the Lifetime Planner for retirement planning ( it's a deterministic plan... I then periodically stress test with FIRECalc).

I also have most of my monthly income, transfers and bills defined in Quicken and use the Projected Balances graph of cash management.

IMO it is a lot easier to do this in Quicken than in Excel... Quicken is a huge time saver for me.
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Old 03-11-2021, 08:14 AM   #15
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I have "one" Excel spreadsheet, but it has several Tabs. 95% of the time I only use the first 2 Tabs, the others just have auxiliary information. Excel has been my go-to since it first came out, and has been all that I need.
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Old 03-11-2021, 10:02 AM   #16
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Another personal spreadsheet aficionado here. I just substantially modified my major spending tracker spreadsheet this year to better suit my needs in retirement. It had the added benefit of reducing the number of spreadsheets I use. I doubt that I would find a commercial product that would do the same things in a format I like. I did try Quicken about 25 years ago, but abandoned it.
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Old 03-11-2021, 10:29 AM   #17
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I use a combination of quicken and a custom spreadsheet. I also converted everything to google sheets so I didn’t have to continue paying for excel.
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Old 03-11-2021, 10:38 AM   #18
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If you don't want sensitive data living in the cloud, I assume everybody knows about LibreOffice, right?
https://www.libreoffice.org/
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Old 03-11-2021, 10:53 AM   #19
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-1 for Excel. Why? Well, to apply my personal experience, I asked myself “if I were struck and killed by a bus tomorrow, would my wife be able to carry on using my Excel spreadsheets?” The answer was a resounding NO, so that made up my mind to switch to something simpler - which for us is YNAB (for spending/budgeting) and one single brokerage for our investments/retirement accounts. It’s taken a year or so to complete the switch-over to the new, simplified model, but we can securely view our invested assets in one place, and handle all our spending/budgeting in another. Seems to work pretty well for both of us.
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Old 03-11-2021, 10:57 AM   #20
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Good point. DW and DD will easily pickup Quicken. DD is a CPA and could easily pick up if I did Excel (actually Libre office but saved in Excel format) but Quicken will beat lot easier for her
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