Best Practices when creating a Personal Finance Setup

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills.
Post Reply
Topic Author
BizMike
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Jul 06, 2024 6:18 am

Best Practices when creating a Personal Finance Setup

Post by BizMike »

So, I'm taking the holiday break to rebuild my personal finance spreadsheets from the ground up. I'm wondering if people have perspectives on the best practices for organizing them:

Do you prefer having separate workbooks for different functions—like a cash flow (budget) workbook, a balance sheet workbook, and an investment workbook?

OR

Do you prefer a single, all-inclusive workbook with multiple sheets for these various functions?

I've tried both approaches in the past but haven't settled on a clear preference. Keeping everything in one workbook is simpler, but having separate workbooks offers more flexibility and reduces clutter.

What do you think works best for personal finance management?
rogue_economist
Posts: 346
Joined: Mon Apr 01, 2024 3:52 pm

Re: Best Practices when creating a Personal Finance Setup

Post by rogue_economist »

Keep it simple, one workbook, a few sheets. Time spent going overboard here is wasted if it cannot actually improve your returns.
Society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they shall never sit in
sailaway
Posts: 8778
Joined: Fri May 12, 2017 1:11 pm

Re: Best Practices when creating a Personal Finance Setup

Post by sailaway »

We have one workbook. Sheets include tracking his Roth IRA contributions and conversions, tracking her Roth IRA contributions (don't remember why these are separate sheets, given that nothing else is), tracking total I bonds and a portfolio balance sheet for tracking total portfolio and rebalancing. There was briefly a savings goals sheet, but it was really just adding up all the tax sheltered space available to us. There is also a cc tracking sheet for to.keeonteackmif bonuses and renewals, but we only have one card with a fee these days, so we don't keep that up to date.
User avatar
mhc
Posts: 5454
Joined: Mon Apr 04, 2011 10:18 pm
Location: NoCo

Re: Best Practices when creating a Personal Finance Setup

Post by mhc »

I use different files because I keep a sheet for each year for expenses and assets. I keep a folder for each year. In that folder is a file for tracking income and taxes paid. I guess I have that in its own folder because a have a folder for each tax year.

You just have to figure out what works for you, and it will probably evolve over time.
52% TSM, 23% TISM, 24.5% TBM, 0.5% cash
jebmke
Posts: 27396
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 2:44 pm
Location: Delmarva Peninsula

Re: Best Practices when creating a Personal Finance Setup

Post by jebmke »

rogue_economist wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 1:15 pm Keep it simple, one workbook, a few sheets. Time spent going overboard here is wasted if it cannot actually improve your returns.
yes; I have two sheets in one work-book. A one-pager summary that my wife and I stare at once a year and for some reason I continue to keep monthly total spending data (very little detail). The rest of it I ditched because it was too labor intensive and proved to be irrelevant.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.
jarjarM
Posts: 2614
Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2018 1:21 pm

Re: Best Practices when creating a Personal Finance Setup

Post by jarjarM »

I have 2 workbook, one for investment/networth tracking, mainly tracking for asset allocation/locations and associated metrics. Another for expense tracking. Between the 2, we have enough data to manage our financial life.
Golf maniac
Posts: 1386
Joined: Wed Dec 27, 2017 1:02 pm
Location: Florida

Re: Best Practices when creating a Personal Finance Setup

Post by Golf maniac »

I have one workbook but have a lot of sheets from various things I looked at over the years. My key spreadsheet is our budget which I have developed over the past 30 years (we began using paper and pencil). Other spreadsheets include our investments and balances at age 90 depending on when I take SS. We have another spreadsheet that projects our expenses in the future based on inflation. We have spreadsheets showing how my DW will do if I die at different ages. We have a spreadsheet that shows what the cost was for various upgrades on our home. We have an estimated RMA spreadsheet for my tax deferred investments. Plus some other ones where I just wanted to see a certain scenario. Probably overkill but they just added up over the years.
radiowave
Posts: 3384
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2015 5:01 pm

Re: Best Practices when creating a Personal Finance Setup

Post by radiowave »

I have one workbook with multiple worksheets. One ws for each calendar year which is the portfolio which I close out on Dec 31 and a current worksheet for YTD. A second summary worksheet for detailed analysis, linked to each annual worksheet to report asset allocation, YTD gains/loss, cash summaries, summary of annual expenses, summary annual tax summary, etc. Each column in this worksheet pulls from each calendar year portfolio worksheet. A third worksheet is the revenue by year and summary of ss, other retirement income, dividends, etc. I mostly use this for planning future income, e.g. what happens when we start RMD in a few years and tax implications, etc. Last sheet is summary of IRA->Roth conversions, estimated taxes paid, headroom in each tax bracket, IRMAA brackets, etc. I usually update the spreadsheet monthly or at least every couple months then an annual summary early January each year.
Bogleheads Wiki: https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Main_Page
Post Reply