I have loved making lists my whole life. Back in the good old days, before everything was digitized, I would rewrite an entire list rather than use a different colored ink on the same list. I have been known to add items to a to-do list that I’ve already completed, just so I can have more items to cross off.
Right now, I have several lists that I’m working on. There’s my daily to-do list, of course – the most mundane and boring of lists (take vitamins, exercise, practice, vacuum). Then there’s my long-term project list, things like: organize all my old diary docs, reorganize and cull my music, optimize my digital photo albums, organize a family reunion for 2014, work on several future photo projects, transfer all of Domingos’s manila files to polypro files. I have 3 India lists going right now: my packing list (love, love, love making packing lists!), my pre-trip to-do list, and my list of attractions that I don’t want to miss.
Ever since I switched from Microsoft Excel to Apple Numbers, I have fallen in love with spreadsheets all over again. If I love making lists, then I’m not sure what term to use for the way I feel about creating and optimizing spreadsheets. Ardor? Passion? I have a truly kick-ass financial planning spreadsheet I created. The first page has our holdings in each account and fund, with a colorful pie graph showing asset allocation, as well as another colorful pie graph showing retirement, non-retirement, and short-term savings allocation. The second page is my real work of art with way too many complicated formulas – a layout for each account of the next 14 years of saving and spending. The coup de grace? A field at the top where I can put in any interest rate, and the results in each account will show the change accordingly. The third page tracks my Roth contributions every month, so I know exactly how much I can withdraw upon retirement for our house purchase. The fourth page tracks our annual net worth and shows both contributions and growth (or loss) of each account. The fifth page is a timeline of major purchases over the next 14 years – special vacations, new cars, renovations on the rental condo, etc. The sixth and seventh pages are 2 retirement budgets – the first prior to age 59-1/2, before we can tap retirement accounts; and the second from 59-1/2 to death, with amounts adjusted for inflation as much as possible. The eighth page is our “wish list” for our retirement house, with approximate costs penciled in as much as possible. The final page is a breakdown by state of places we want to visit when we move cross-country. Go ahead, laugh at me all you want, I don’t mind at all.
Just so you can see how beautiful a spreadsheet can be, let me share with you the first page of our India spreadsheet: