Archive for the ‘Personal Finance’ Category

The American Dream

Money Tree

The following is a staff writer post from MikeS.  He is a married father of 2.  So, with the cat, he ranks number 5 in the house.  He loves numbers and helping people. Please leave any questions or comments below for either Mike or Crystal.

The headline, as designed, caught my attention. “The American Dream is out of reach.”  It being a CNN Money article, I was curious to see what is was about.  Apparently, CNN Money had conducted a poll and about 60% of the respondents said the American dream was out of reach.  I think there are a lot of pessimistic people in this country.

The American Dream

The simplest I way to describe the American dream is that children generally end up in a better position financially than their parents.  I am sure that is what my parents wanted for me and it is also what I want for my children.  Now, better is of course a relative term.  My dream is certainly not for them to become the next Bill Gates or Warren Buffet.  That would be nice though.  No, my dream is that they are more financially secure.  My hope is that I can teach them the necessary tools to achieve it.  I think in the future, the emphasis should be on how you manage your money, not necessarily how much salary you can earn.  I don’t think that was the case as I was growing up.

Now versus Then

I’ve talked about the differences between my parents and myself previously.  They were blue-collar hard-working people.  Learning that work-ethic from my parents and being blessed with a certain skill set, I have managed to obtain a nice white-collar job.  The job pays me quite well.  Not Bill Gates or Warren Buffet well, but well enough that my wife does not have to work.  The job alone has allowed me to be in a better position financially than my parents.  This is why I think it will require more than just a job for my children and other children today to end up in a better position than their parents.  There are more people today working in cubicles than ever.  Most of them are probably earning more now than their parents.  In addition to that, there are a lot more dual income households, which the article touches on, making it that much harder for children today to out earn their parents.

Keys Going Forward

The article only mentions this statement in passing, but I think it is probably the biggest key.  The article mentions that the savings rate today is low.  No wonder people think the dream is unachievable; they aren’t doing anything to achieve it.  They aren’t setting aside money for retirement, for college, for anything.  People are just consuming.  Companies have become very sophisticated at separating people from their money for the latest products.  Smart phones, TV’s, computers, cable TV and even cars are being advertised so effectively, that people feel they can’t live without them.  This means they spend their money on these products, instead of saving, and wonder why they can’t get ahead.  I have learned this lesson the hard way.  I was in a financial hole.  The only way I was able to dig myself out was to stop spending more than I made.  This has meant no smart phone, no new car, limited cable and until recently, no new TV.  Discipline is going to be needed to get ahead in the future.  Without it, people will go through life complaining how they never get ahead, all the while buying the latest fad.

My Hope

My hope is that my children are able to find a job that they enjoy.  I won’t even mind if they don’t go to college.  My plan is to have money set aside for them in case they do attend college.  I want them to start out in the best position that I can possible put them in. I don’t really care whether their job pays them a higher salary than what I currently earn.  I care that they will be able to manage their finances and be happy.  By accomplishing this, they will be able to achieve the dream.

Time to Switch Again – AT&T Uverse vs Comcast

Money Tree

The following is a staff writer post from MikeS.  He is a married father of 2.  So, with the cat, he ranks number 5 in the house.  He loves numbers and helping people. Please leave any questions or comments below for either Mike or Crystal.

I came home from work the other day and my wife said a gentleman had stopped by from Comcast. He informed her about a potential deal we could receive if we switched.  We currently have AT&T U-Verse.  We’ve been with AT&T about 9 months after switching over from Comcast.  When it comes to cable and internet service, I go with the least expensive.  This has meant switching every few years between the companies.  This might seem like a hassle to some, but for me, it’s how I keep my costs down.  My wife told the gentleman that I handled all of that; he said he would be back in the area on Saturday and would stop back.

The Deal

Sure enough, Saturday afternoon the doorbell rang.  The deal was basically $89 a month for cable, phone and internet.  I’m usually skeptical of deals because they usually are too good to be true.  Included in this deal would be a $150 credit for switching over.  It would also include a couple movie channels and faster internet speeds.  Ok, I’m now interested.

We talk some more and I learn that a HD DVR receiver is included and that I would be looking at about $122 a month when taxes and fees are included for the first year.   The second year would be $25 more.  Being in charge of the finances, I know I pay $157 a month now for those 3 services.  So, even in the second year of the deal, this is less than I pay now.  This deal is looking better and better.  However, I know that I have a termination penalty with AT&T; I just can’t remember the amount.  I also want to compare the channel line ups to make sure I have the channels that I currently watch included in the new deal.

I asked if I could get back to him after I compared the channel lineups and determined my termination penalty.  He left his contact information and the channel lineup and informed me that the $150 credit would be expiring on Monday.

Upon Further Review

First, I compare the channels and don’t see anything missing.  The biggest difference is that I am swapping Showtime for HBO.  Not a big deal for us as we only watch Showtime occasionally anyway.  Next, I need to contact AT&T to find out what my termination penalty is and when does it end.  Rather than call on the phone, I use the on-line chat feature.  The service representative looks up my information and says that my contract is up in August of 2014 and that early termination results in a $15 a month charge for each early month.  This is actually better than I thought.  I thought my contract did not end until 2015 and that there was a $300 termination fee.  The representative informs me they don’t want me to cancel and offer to lower my bill by $10 a month.  This deal is working out in all the right ways.

Signing on the Dotted Line

I call the Comcast guy back Monday morning and tell him I want to go ahead with the deal.  Even by cancelling AT&T early and paying the $15 a month fee, I still come out ahead by about $30 a month.  There is a termination fee with the agreement, which is no surprise to me, there always is with this type of deal.  It is $230 if I terminate before the end of 2 years.  Since my prices are looked in for the two years, I don’t really care.  The one item that did catch me by surprise was the $30 installation fee.  In all of my past experiences, this has been waived.  The fee is offset by the $150 bonus in my mind.  So, I only net $120.

I have had both AT&T and Comcast in the past.  I’m not really partial to either one, which is why I probably switch so easily.  Price is my deciding factor.  Whichever one gives me the best deal has my business.  In 2 years, I will go through the same dance and see if I can score another deal.

Have you been able to lower your cable bill recently?

My Cousin Thinks I’m Cheap

Don't Lend

Have you ever gotten into a fight with a family member over money? I did, and it may have cost me a relationship with a cousin who lives overseas.

I want to start off by saying that we should generally try to help family members when they are struggling. I will also say that we should never loan money to family members, or otherwise mix money into our family. I know what you are thinking, this sounds like a contradiction. That’s because it is. Mixing money with family is something that can easily happen, and a scenario that can easily go wrong. Whether it is loaning money to a relative or going into business with them, what you have is an almost foolproof recipe for disaster.

How I Lost a Relationship Over $100

In two weeks I am taking my wife, daughter, and a small group of friends (including my boss and supervisor) on a 10 day vacation to Croatia. The flights we purchased took us to Trieste, Italy, where we planned to rent a car and drive the remaining two hours to Istria. I was having trouble finding a large car that would fit five people and their luggage, mainly because there aren’t many options with an automatic transmission in Europe. I finally settled on a VW Golf that was a bit small, for $600.

When I told my cousin in Croatia, he felt that he could get me a bigger car if he rented it for me and drove to pick us up. He convinced me to cancel my reservation and we made new arrangements. About a week later, he asked me to do something for him in return for his favor, to purchase an unlocked mobile phone in the USA and bring it to him in Croatia. In explaining the request, he mentioned that he would incur expenses in renting the car for me, despite the fact that it had already been arranged that I would visit the agency the day after he picked it up and pay the entire bill. He said that he would not receive the car with a full tank of fuel, and that there would be tolls through Slovenia to Italy.

My thoughts returned to two years prior, when he convinced me to buy him a $700 phone, which he then proceeded to pay me back over the course of the year. I did not mind loaning him $700, but constantly having to deal with PayPal and having him ask me to let him know how much he still owed made the arrangment feel more like business than family. There was even a few month period where he wasn’t getting a paycheck and I let him pause the repayment plan.

With this all in mind when he asked me again, I told him I was happy to bring him a phone if he prepaid for it and had it shipped to my house. I also mentioned to him that I was myself getting a new phone, and he then suggested that if I gave him my old phone, after purchasing a new battery, that it would be an even trade. I agreed to this transaction, and added that the phone was “worth” about $150 if I were to sell it on eBay. I said this not to suggest that was what I wanted for the phone, but to let him know that it did have some value. He then mentioned that he could get a new version of my phone for $220, then after some radio silence (this all transpired over Gchat), he said that he changed his mind and I could just reimburse him for his expenses in cash.

The next day he sent me a note saying he was uncomfortable that I wanted to “charge” him an “almost new” price for the phone. But instead of asking me why I wanted to do that, he let forth some insults, saying that I was ungrateful for his work to find me a rental car, ungrateful for the past vacations where he allowed me to stay at his home, and “stingy,” because I earn a nice income and didn’t want to spend the money to reimburse him for his expenses.

I informed him that he misunderstood me, and reminded him that we had also agreed that we would settle up the expenses when we got to Croatia. I will admit that I was being evasive with him because I did not want to enter into another long-term financial arrangement with a family member. I could also tell that he waited to inform me of the fact that he would incur expenses until he could find a phone he wanted, or some way to use this fact to his advantage. But instead of apologizing for the misunderstanding, he continued to insult me, mad because he wasn’t getting his way. He told me that he expected to be paid back for his expenses, and told him I didn’t appreciate the insinuation that I would not. I then told him that he wasn’t very grateful when I loaned him $700, and he then said if he knew that I had paid all the money up front and not monthly on a credit card, he would not have asked me to do that. I told him that I wasn’t the type of person that holds money over people’s heads, and that if he were visiting me in America, I’d drive 6 hours if necessary to pick him up and never ask for a dime.

Just a Bad Idea

That’s why entering into financial arrangements, or loaning money to family, is a bad deal. It is a business arrangment where the parties cannot behave as if it were an simple transaction. This allows at least one of the parties to gain unfair advantage. In my situation, he thought because I make a good salary that I have money to burn, and that caring about new cell phones is something I’d naturally understand. He couldn’t fathom why when I told him that I was getting a new cell phone that was a downgrade from the one I currently have, and that I was doing it to save money. He couldn’t fathom the fact that yes, I am cheap in most parts of my life, so I can afford to splurge on the things that matter to me – like traveling to visit my family. He thought he understood the situation, and when he realized that he didn’t have control of it, he reacted like a child and insulted me to the point where the damage cannot be undone.

I had forseen this happening, and tried my best to avoid it, but that didn’t work. So my cousin has thrown away our relationship over $100, but maybe it is really over more than that. This is about him wanting to manipulate and control me. It has allowed me to see him for who he truly is, someone who can’t hear you say “please pass the butter” without thinking what favor he can extract in return. This further shows that money should not be allowed to mix with family, because there is nothing about blood that makes someone beyond reproach. Maybe brothers, mothers and such deserve some leeway, but we should not be afraid to disassociate with those who abuse us and treat us poorly.

Life is too short to allow these people to hurt us. This post was me putting this behind me. I will not allow him to ruin my vacation, and am looking forward to the extra free time I will not have to spend listening to his manipulations.

 

Paying For Past Mistakes

Money Tree

The following is a staff writer post from MikeS.  He is a married father of 2.  So, with the cat, he ranks number 5 in the house.  He loves numbers and helping people. Please leave any questions or comments below for either Mike or Crystal.

There have been a couple of instances recently where past actions or decisions have come to back to haunt me financially.  One instance is me now having to pay for not taking care of my health in years past.  In the other instance, I was not able to take advantage of the best financial option and as such, incurred increased expenses.

Sweet Tooth

I have always enjoyed sweets.  For as long as I can remember, I have had an addiction to sugar.  Unfortunately, I was not diligent in taking care of my teeth.  I brushed, probably not very well, didn’t floss nor did I visit the dentist regularly.  As a result, I have had numerous cavities and subsequent fillings.  I shudder to think what the lifetime cost has been for me.  This came up recently because I had a filling that began to fail.  The filling represented such a large percentage of my tooth, that another filling wasn’t possible.  So, I need at least a crown and possibly a root canal.  What does this mean financially?  The cost is probably about $600 after the insurance covers 50%.  It is annoying more than anything to me.  I have the money to cover the cost from my HSA.  The annoying thing to me is I didn’t understand the implications of my actions in the past.  Had I simply been on top of my health in years past, I would not have to incur this expense today nor would I have incurred all the other expenses through the years.

Increased Costs

Included with my inheritance was an IRA.  I did have the option of rolling this IRA into what is known as a stretch IRA.  A stretch IRA is one in which I would have been required only to take annual distributions, but the distributions would be based upon my life expectancy.  Since I am only 38, the IRS would expect me to live on average another 45 years.  So, my RMD (Required Minimum Distribution) would have only been about 2% (1/45) of the account value.  Chances are I would have been able to produce investment returns of greater than 2% and grown the account.  The RMD would grow every year, but it would be a significant time until the distribution would be a high percentage of the account value.  So, one of the costs that I incurred was the opportunity cost of not rolling the IRA into a stretch IRA.  Because of past mistakes I made with my finances, I was not in a strong enough position financially to take advantage of this opportunity.

The other costs I incurred with the inheritance were taxes, both federal and state.  I had anticipated some of the impact to my federal taxes.  I knew the money would be taxable, but the one impact I didn’t anticipate, was the additional income pushed my income up such that I lost one of my deductions which caused my taxable income to be greater than I thought.  So, rather than receiving a few hundred dollars back as my refund, I only received $161.  The biggest tax impact was to my state income taxes.  The increased income due to the IRA caused a significant tax liability.  I ended up owing about $1,200 to the state.  Just to give you some context, my income for 2012, 2013 and 2014 are all in the same general range give or take a few thousand dollars.  In 2012, I received a $237 refund and 2014 I expect to receive a roughly $300 refund.  That is a pretty big swing.  Thankfully, I had the money in my savings to handle it.

Looking Towards the Future

What both of these situations have shown me is to pay attention.  Due to the lack of attention to my health and finances in the past, I caused myself to incur costs in the future.  It is reminders like this that keep me dedicated today.  To make sure that I keep my financial position as strong as possible, so that I can take advantage of opportunities when they present themselves.  To make sure that I pay attention to the little things that could turn into major future expenses.  I guess I could say that these lessons have made me smarter and that’s the bright side.  I can pass this knowledge, hopefully, onto my children and maybe they won’t repeat the same mistakes.  Still doesn’t make me like the incurred costs any more.

5-Year Progress Check

Money Tree

The following is a staff writer post from MikeS.  He is a married father of 2.  So, with the cat, he ranks number 5 in the house.  He loves numbers and helping people. Please leave any questions or comments below for either Mike or Crystal.

Just for fun, I decided to compare my budget today; to the budget I had in place 5-years ago.  This exercise isn’t something that I do on a regular basis.  It was prompted by a discussion I had with a coworker.  She is in the process of buying a house and that got me to thinking back on saving and buying my first house.  As I have said before, I have made decent progress over the past several years in managing my finances better.  How much better you might ask?  Let’s take a look.

Income

Five years ago, I had been with my current company for about 5 months.  My salary at the time was $79,000 a year.  Having a dependable income was precisely why I had left my previous job 5 months earlier.  The old job was commission based and I wasn’t a very good salesman.  Today, my annual salary is $95,000 a year and this year I received a bonus of $20,000.  So, I have managed to increase my income quite a bit over the last 5 years.  I wish I could say that this was deliberate on my part, but I can’t.  All I’ve done is simply work hard and changed positions internally when necessary.  I will say that I was surprised that my net take-home pay has not changed as dramatically in those 5 years.  Back in 2009 my monthly take-home was $4,776.  That is after taxes and benefits.  Today, my take-home is $5,267.  That is a difference of only $491 a month.  Where is the rest of it you might ask?  The rest of it is being saved.  Back in 2009 I was still trying to dig out of the hole that I had placed myself in, so I was not contributing much, if anything, to my 401k.  Today, I am contributing 7%; my employer is contributing 8%.  I am also maxing out my HSA account at $6,550.  That means I am saving over $12,000 a year.  That’s how you dig out of the hole.

Savings

No surprise, I had very little in the way of savings 5 years ago.  The best I could find for my bank savings and brokerage account were the year-end balances.  I had $3,300 in cash savings and $200 in the brokerage account.  Today, I have just over $26,000 in the bank and about $5,000 in the brokerage account.  The 401k balance is just as dramatic.  I was able to find the balance from April 2009, it was $407.  I had contributed for one month and then had stopped in order to eliminate my debt.  Today, my balance is just over $41,000.  I have become much more disciplined in my contributions and trying to increase my contribution whenever possible.

Net Worth

As I said, I was still digging out of a hole 5 years ago.  My net worth at the time was about -$18,000 or so.  I had credit card debt payments at the time of $400 a month and student loan payments of $140 a month, along with a car payment and mortgage.  Today, I just have the car payment and mortgage.  Both the car and mortgage have such low interest rates, that I have no desire to pay them early.  My net worth today is over $123,000.

Progress

I still can’t believe the progress that I have been able to make in just 5 years.  Certainly, the increased salary has made life a lot easier, but discipline was also needed and a change in mindset.  My wife and I had to change our thinking on wants versus needs.  We had spent too much on wants in the past.  We were tired of playing catch up.  By taking advantage of the increasing salary and saving more, we have built up a larger safety net.  The unexpected car repair or tax bill, no longer puts us back in the hole.  We plan for major purchases and save the money ahead of time.  This has allowed us to make the progress over the last 5 years.  I’m curious to see what kind of progress I can make in the next 5 years.

The Retirement Industrial Complex

billion dollar lottery

A few weeks ago I was perusing one of my favorite forums – the Bogleheads – and saw a post about one of my other favorite online places, Mr. Money Mustache.

The gist of the post was questioning whether he was a hero or some sort of scam artist, and what played out in the commentary revealed a lot about the people who are active Bogleheads. It started like this:

 

Mr. Money Mustache: Hero or Foolish?

Postby StarbuxInvestor » Mon Mar 31, 2014 10:10 am

Personally I don’t get this guy or want his lifestyle and see no way this is going to end well when he is older. Am I missing something? That said if he and his family are happy then more power to them.

 

It had become clear to me lately that most Bogleheads aren’t like me. First off, they are doing way better in their financial lives. The ones who post frequently seem to have worked many years in high paying jobs. Though they are extremely in touch with their finances, I am a bit sad to find out that they seem to be out of touch with “normal” people. I still haven’t yet been able to figure out the younger ones who report decent incomes (~$100k), have only been in the workforce for a few years, yet have 401k and IRA balances in the six figures. I hesitate to use the term “trust funders,” but I suspect a lot of them have either inherited money or had their expensive degrees paid for by their parents.

After reading the Bogleheads Guide to Investing, which I love and recommend, the Bogleheads forum is the last place where I’d see a champion of frugality attacked. But I am not surprised. The Retirement Industrial Complex has infected most of our brains with its ideas: retirement is out of reach for almost everyone, you need at least two million to retire, safety net social programs will not be there, you will have to work until you die.

 

Re: Mr. Money Mustache: Hero or Foolish?

Postby KyleAAA » Fri Apr 11, 2014 2:15 pm

physicsgal wrote:Everyone says we need to all be consumers to keep our economy going, but what if we could all just have less stuff, all work less, and all be happier, have more time with our families and strengthen our local communities.

I think this would actually make people less happy, but that’s another discussion. Despite all their complaining, people like working.

 

When I posted on Twitter about the Retirement Industrial Complex in this thread, I got a reply from a financial planner (he is fee-based, which makes him one of the “better” ones), asking what it was.

 

 

 

 

While these points made by the Retirement Industrial Complex are legitimate points of debate, I’m afraid they have morphed into hammers to beat us into retirement submission. Cleverly wielded by money magazines owned my multinational financial conglomerates, their propaganda corps does not exist to give you sound financial advice. They exist to put forth, amplify and endlessly repeat their shadowy goals: to trap you in a cycle of wage slavery and debt that you voluntarily accept.

Every survey, every blog post, every person you talk to confirms this. They don’t believe there is any point in putting money away and spending less than they earn because they will have to work until they die anyway. The Retirement Industrial Complex has fully succeeded, turning a nation of historically thrifty and hardworking people into a nation of consumers, people who exist only to consume things like Android Jelly Beans, Google Glass, and face razors built with Dyson balls.

That’s not to say that there isn’t some fun and wisdom in this lifestyle, minus the working until 70 part. The healthcare industry is dutifully managing their department, inventing new ways not to give us more years of relaxed enjoyment, but new knees, new hips and hearts to keep us working, earning and consuming.

The success has been so profound that we have become their unwitting militia. People who talk about retiring “early” are scoffed at, both because no one thinks they can do it, but because they aren’t viewed as a team player, planning their escape from the world of collective punishment. If you were trapped in a prison you thought was impossible to escape, or that escape was even an option, you would react with disgust to your cellmate who talks about escape.

I get that, I really do.

And you see those attacks on the Bogleheads forum. I think
it is more rooted in the notion that their very life plans are being questioned. Though they made all the right moves, many of them were made to ensure they could keep an 80 percent consumption level in retirement. They are afraid of losing their stuff. They are afraid their grandkids won’t think they are cool if they don’t get the iPhone 8.

Like I said, I get it, I really do. And I try not to judge individuals on how they live their lives. But I really think it’s time for a wholesale change in how we view our lives. Since the 1970s, our productivity has been spiking; wages have been flat in America since the 50s. A recent study showed that the American middle class was not keeping pace with places like Canada. We are breaking our backs working to support a myth that is no longer true. I’m not saying this isn’t the best country in the world – it’s a great place to live and raise a family. But we seem to be working only to further widen the gap between rich and poor, satisfied to let the single-income household become a two-income household, earning less with two workers than our grandparents earned with one.

What’s next, the four job household where both parents proudly work two jobs?

When is the tipping point going to come? I’m afraid to even ask what has to happen for people to wake up and rekindle that spirit of America, the spirit of protest, the spirit that threw cases of tea into Boston Harbor – all I see is a spirit that says “yes I’ll pay more for that tea, and while I’m at it, let me see how many crates I can carry on my back for you, boss.”

I want to say that the Millennial Generation will figure this out. Hopefully their faces buried in their phones will see that it’s not worth it, killing ourselves for the 1%. Hopefully these Millennials will build a robot army to do all this shit work for us so we can spend time philosophizing with our families. Hopefully we can take the duty of money creation away from private banks and make them into…banks.

I’m sorry but I don’t want to work for 50 more years. I don’t want to work 50 years, period. If that makes me lazy, so what. I’m lazy. Call me whatever you want to call me, just don’t call me early for work.

How to Save Time and Gain Control of Your Finances – XL Your Finances

Accounting

Brad Hoffer is the Director of Finance for a multi-state Farm Equipment Dealership and serves on his local school board.  Past experience includes being an auditor for PricewaterhouseCoopers.       Brad enjoys helping friends and family with their personal finances.  He and his wife are kept busy with their 3 boys and are active members in their church.

When most people think of an Excel Spreadsheet, they think of it as a computerized adding machine.  However, when you start learning some of the advanced features, you realize that there are endless possibilities to make Excel do most anything you want.  I remember when I first learned a few formulas in Excel and thought I “knew” Excel.  Well, 15 years later and I am still learning new things all the time.  Those formulas were like discovering a puddle of water beside a swimming pool and thinking that was the pool!

At work I have used Excel to create some interesting programs that have solved some very complex problems.  I always did my personal finances in Excel, but I never spent hours developing the spreadsheet as a program like I do at work.  So about 4 years ago, I decided to tackle building the ultimate personal finance program in Excel.  During this process, I have had plenty of doubters who did not understand why I was obsessed with building features into Excel that already existed in other programs.  My answer, “those other programs are not Excel!”  At the end of the day, most people who use any type of Accounting or finance program, end up exporting their information into Excel.  Why?  Excel is the best place to store, analyze and summarize data.

I am happy for the opportunity to tell you about the program I created:  The xlyourfinances spreadsheet which I now sell at www.xlyourfinances.com

So what are some of the ‘advanced’ features built into the xlyourfinances spreadsheet vs. an ordinary spreadsheet?  I have listed some of those features below.  All of these features have two goals in mind, to save time and to give you control over your finances.

Time Saving Features:

  1. With a click of a button, categories are automatically assigned to transactions based on past purchase history.  By the way, you name your own categories.
  2. Automatic removal of duplicate entries.  When you download transactions from your bank or credit card company, they are verified against past purchase history and duplicates are automatically removed.  This keeps your Current Balance in synch with your on-line statements.
  3. Formatting and alignment.  If you ever downloaded transactions from your bank or credit card company, you know how ugly some of these downloads can be.  Downloaded transactions are easy to get into the correct format and alignment with one click column swapping and one click inversing of values when needed.
  4. Summarized, Organized and Reconciled.  By its design, xlyourfinances spreadsheet simultaneously summarizes your category totals, reconciles your accounts and completely organizes your finances.

Control of Your Finances:

  1. Real-time budget results.  Perhaps one of the best features is the simple but powerful design of the budget tool.  You simply enter budget amounts for each category and the spreadsheet does the rest.  Your actual spending is compared to your desired budget so you can see how you are doing for the month and year to date.  And of course, you can go back in time to any year or month.
  2. Cash Forecasting.  The spreadsheet projects your day by day bank balance from the last posted transaction through the next 30 days based on your normal recurring and/or non-recurring activity.  This gives you full confidence that you have all of your expenses covered.
  3. Personal Financial Statement.  Year to year, are your finances improving?  The personal finance statement tab is an annual review of how you’re doing.  Setting long-term goals and then seeing your progress is an essential component to gaining control over your finances.
  4. Quick Research Tools.  You can store virtually a lifetime of finances in one spreadsheet.  It is very simple to filter thousands of transactions in an instant to find exactly what you are looking for.

If you own Excel and have a desire to get full control of your finances, go to www.xlyourfinances.com and get your personalized copy today.

 

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