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Personal Finance . Personal Investing

Personal Financial Management

This page has instructions for using a personal financial management spreadsheet that we developed in Excel. Just open the spreadsheet and review the instructions on this page. The spreadsheet has multiple tabs, select the tab and review the appropriate information in Personal Financial Management.

This spreadsheet is about visualization. There is nothing like staring at a table of numbers or a graph to see patterns. It is like looking at a painting or sculpture. The Internet calculators will not give these views. The ledger has been around for a long time, so have graphs - they have proven themselves to people who really need to know, like you. You should not have rolled your eyes in math class.

In general everything in bold is an assumption and is a fixed value. Everything in italic is a calculated value. Everything in normal text is something you normal enter.

Consulting / Professional Compensation Ratios - tab Comp

This spreadsheet contains ratios for a possible compensation package. Use the Internet to review and adjust these ratios.

Mortgage Paydown Visualization - tab Mort

Everyone knows that when you take on debt you should pay it off as soon as possible to avoid paying enormous amounts of money in interest. The only time it makes sense to hold the debt is if inflation exceeds your interest rate. In that case you are using todays dollars to pay in yesterdays obligation. So if your interest is 5% and inflation is 6% you are ahead of the game by 1% if you keep the debt. The trick is to have debt at a lower rate than the Inflation rate. That has not happened since the WWII generation made a killing in the 70's and 80's as they sat on their 3% 30 year mortgages.

If you are caught in debt and inflation is not your friend an approach is to send 1 extra payment per year. That will cut your payout term from 30 years to 15 years. You must tell the "cost of money" holder (your loan company) to apply the extra payment to the principal and then check that is what they did. Always write a seperate check and mark it as apply to principal just in case someone cooks the books during the decades. This is why you never want prepayment penalties. After WWII prepayment penalties became illegal.

Salary over Time - tab Salary

There is nothing like looking at your current salary projected over time as inflation runs its normal path. The trick is to have your raise exceed inflation each time and to use new money to pay down things bought with old money. The best way to describe this is - how would you feel if you bought a house using todays money for a price from 30 years ago. That is the inflation game. The trick is to not get caught in a down draft.

There is a rule called the "rule of 72", which states than if you divide the interest rate into 72 you get the number of years it takes to double the money. So at 10% your money will double in 7.2 years. Want to double your money in 2 years, divide 72 by 2. That is 36%.

Retirement - tab Retire

You will never be able to save or invest your way to retirement. As you click through the previous tabs you should eventually start to get certain relationships going in your head. This is the simple retirement relation ship. You put away 10% per year for 30 years. That translates into 3 years salary. You will never beat inflation by more than 1%-2%. So after 30 years you may have 5-6 years of current salary saved saved. So how long do you think you will survive on 5-6 years of current salary in your golden years, even if you cut your life style in half. The WWII generation retired because they had defined benefit retirement plans where corporate sharks yanked money from the naive (those that did not retire), government retirement plans, vacation houses, businesses with hard assets like real estate or inventory, or they made it big and floated above the little people.

Now you can make this spread sheet work but the numbers are a lie. You will never beat inflation by 1% unless you are very special. Here is the emperical data:

7.5% you pay to social security
7.5% company pays to your social security
10% you save

That is 25% going into so called retirement. Guess what - there is an entire generation of people who started in the 80's in this category. If you plug these numbers in you should see something wonderful, but that is not the case. The 15% social security has been taken off the table, yet we all pay.

If you want to retire you better start making some serious money and not for a few years but over 30 years. Otherwise plan on working till you leave this realm, which may be ok, if you can keep your cash cow delivering for that time.

Final Comments

Don't get to discouraged but don't fall for the bull shit. Hope springs eternal, peace and prosperity to you and yours.


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