Charlaine Leila February 26, 2021 Spreadsheet
I like using spreadsheets for monetary goals because of the functions I can use. If you are working towards a savings goal, using a word processor or writing them out will require constant updating. With a spreadsheet, you can simple add in how much more you‘ve saved, and if you had the right formulas set up, it will do it all for you. First, set up a different sheet for your long term goals and your short term goals. You can have long term goals and then break them up into short term goals as well as have separate goals. Make the sheet look appealing with bold headers and colors. If you don‘t know how to use excel or other spreadsheet programs, you really only need the basics. Search the net to find out how to get started with spreadsheets.
To know if a household budget spreadsheet software is user‐friendly, try several programs online and see which ones are easy enough to use by people with basic budgeting and computer skills. The layout of the spreadsheet should not only be easy to understand, but also be able to present all the necessary information in a glance. It should contain just the right number of graphics and details to avoid confusion for its user.
The fourth component to look for in a real estate investment spreadsheet is the ability to input growth rates. Instead of manually keying in different numbers, say for utility costs or rental rates, simply changing a periodic growth rate is much faster and easier. Most good investment models will allow the user to change the important input factors via growth rate variables. This substantially reduces the time to analyze different scenarios and allows the spreadsheet model to be semi‐automated.
Also, how long is your investment horizon? Is it really that important to you to project out to 30 years or is 3‐5 years sufficient along with a terminal value that represents the expected NPV beyond 5 years? Usually this latter approach works best and looks the most credible to potential investors. There are numerous ways to calculate terminal value including multiples, current market values projected forward, and round guesstimates. Obviously these decisions are affected by your personal preference and the type of investment for which you‘re calculating present value.
One of the first things to consider is what kind of data you have to work with in your cash flow template Excel spreadsheet. Ideally, you‘re looking for accurate monthly data including income statement items like revenue and operating expenses and balance sheet items like equipment purchases and cash from financing activities. If you have a longer time frame you can go with quarterly periods, but annual tends to be too long. After all, how can you predict what is going to happen beyond 5 years with any accuracy unless you‘re valuing an annuity?
Next, add the dollar amount of your goals and the time in month or years. The long term goals will probably be in years and the short term goals in months. Set up a formula to divide the total goal amount by the goal length in months. This is the amount you need to save each month to achieve your goals. Set up a budget to help you save more money if you feel you can‘t make your goal savings each month. For extra help, open up another sheet and record your progress. Every week or every month write about how you are reaching your goals and if you are able to save the minimum each month. Try to save a little more each month and cut down on your time table, or if you can reach your monthly goal, adjust it. With this plan, you can include goals to save for big items such as a car or house, or to pay down debt.