make me happy. I developed a passion for them about 15 years ago when I worked as a Business Analyst. Since then, I’ve applied them to countless projects in the office and some personal projects as well. The spreadsheet that I’m most proud of is one that I’ve been maintaining for just over five years.

It Started

when I decided I needed a more formal plan for retirement. At the time, I wasn’t as in tune with some of the websites and apps available to help plan. Side note – I’m still a little leery of apps where you link all of your financial accounts to get a complete view of your financial picture. I love the concept but haven’t brought myself to take advantage of them just yet.

The Setup

is pretty basic. I’ve created a tab for each retirement account I have. One is a rollover, one is a pension, and one is the current 401k account. In each tab, I have a column for the year, balance as of Jan 1, the planned contribution amount for the year, and then a planned running total which accounts for an approximate annual return of 6%. I compare the actual amount for each year against the planned amount. I can then see for each account the planned vs. actual balances for the next 35 years. Finally, I summarize all three accounts in a Summary tab, throwing in a graph to add a visual.

I Was Missing

something on the spreadsheet though. I was excited to hit my 5 year goal. Technically speaking, I exceeded the five year goal by $17,091. Then I had a thought – I hadn’t accounted for my non-retirement accounts in the same way. So, with the little one napping this past weekend, I spent about 45 minutes checking balances, adding a tab, and updating formulas to get my spreadsheet showing a more comprehensive picture. It was a satisfying feeling to have everything consolidated AND it brought additional focus to where I currently stand and what I have to do to stay on track for FI. Most of you interested in FIRE are likely already using apps and/or spreadsheets to help you reach your goals. Just a reminder that a regular review and tweaking never hurts. Here’s to staying on track for the next 5 years!