Like most people on the journey to Financial Independence, I have a series of spreadsheets filled with a lot of data and formulas. These documents allow me to track my progress on the Amber Index and in play money. Are they helping me to communicate with my wife? How could the cloud help me even more?
When looking into leaving my corporate job for a startup life, the spreadsheets came in handy. I was able to tell my wife what our cash balance was, how many months of full unemployment that represented, how much more money we could make available by selling our investments,… You get the point. At that time, I was very happy to have that data at hand.
After the FIWE meeting in Budapest, my wife had an increased interest in the status of our finances and the way I track my progress. So far, so good….
In order to compile the data into a nice table and an overview chart, a lot of copy paste across different spreadsheet and tabs is needed. The sheets have grown in an organic way from me – single, just bought aan apartment – doing my first budget in 2002 till where we are now – married, 2 kids, a house an investment portfolio, fun money, play money. Easy and accessible is something else.
Time for a refactor… and then missing a burning platform to do so. Some call it procrastination. It was not until I came across the post from Geldnerd on spreadsheets that I started to think more serious about the refactor.
Fast forward to today, the refactor is done and all data is now in one document, all unneeded copy/past is removed and some sheets are now reorganised to maximise the understanding by non financial nerdy geeks (as this is me, no insult intended). My wife start to see the key messages that can come out of the sheets. All of this is done in a high level summary, outlining our net worth in categories that make sense for us.
A final next step is to include a sheet with the isolated accounts from my wife. As these are static accounts that hardly mover in a year, this is low on my priority list.
One thing that I consider is putting the spreadsheet in the Google docs. I do have some reservations
- some handy pivot table features are not available.Especially the one where you can reference a cell not by a fixed cell position, rather via a variable. (You point to the pivot table, looking for the asset category ETF, rather than to cell A45). Any thoughts on this? I was thinking to use sumif.
- privacy of the cloud. What is the likelihood of someone getting access to my file with my full net worth? Would that make me happy? I could omit this by putting the file on my blog email and putting 2 factor access. That creates a barrier, and when someone has the data, he still does not know who I am.
- backup: How often would you back up the cloud?