Excel sheets have changed the business world by making things simpler, more organised and more efficient. Look at any job portal websites, most businesses often hire new recruits that are proficient in excel. It will be a understatement to say that excel has taken over our lives.
While it is a pain to learn how to use excel, Excel has saved large amounts of money for companies. However, have you thought of using excel on a personal level? You may ask me, what do you mean?
Can we use the power of excel to plan for our financial future?
I have met many accountants, auditors and engineers. These people are experts with numbers (at least according to their job scopes, they are supposed to be). They may be experts in their fields but when it comes to personal finance, they could be quite clueless. Quite often, they are unable to see how financially healthy they are.
If you are like me, I would consider anyone earning more than $100,000 a year to be relatively healthy financially . Yet, I am sure that you have heard of people who seem to be earning a lot of money but complain that he/she does not have any excess money. Putting aside the fact that most of us complain that we don’t have much money (I’m sure some of you are guilty of this :P) , there is a sizable amount of people that really don’t have money. That’s because some of them don’t understand their own cash flow statement.
What is a cashflow statement? According to (http://www.inc.com/encyclopedia/cashflowstatement.html), a cashflow statement is a financial report that describes the sources of a company’s cash and how that cash was spent over a specified time period. Huh? Can you put it even more simply?
Basically, cashflow is the difference between your income and expenses.
Sounds simple? Most of us will be familiar with income. It could come from our jobs, our businesses or dividends. Millionaires have admitted that they have more than one source of income. Do you? That is a topic for another day.
How about expenses?
Are you excited when you get your paycheck every month? Do you get the happy feeling of seeing your bank figure jump once a month? I do :D. Anyway, have you heard of people who have no money at the end of the month? Sometimes, I wonder where their money goes to. The sad fact of life is that most people don’t know where they are spending money on.
Can you remember how much you spend on lunch last Monday? If you can, I applaud you for your good memory. If you are like me, I can’t even remember how much I spend on dinner yesterday. When this adds up, you will be surprised how much you will be spending at the end of the month.
I suggest that you take record your spending every month using an excel sheet.
To help you guys, I will suggest that you split your money allocation further into the following categories.
In Singapore, we have one of the highest home ownership in the world. Although most of us will be using our CPF to pay for our houses, we might also be using cash if our CPF contribution isn’t enough. Hence, it is important to know how much to repay our housing loan. Some other expenditure includes water bills, newspaper, maintenance of the property, etc.
This is definitely a fixed cost you need to prepare every month even if you are working from home. If you have a car, this will probably make up a large portion of your income. I like this quote from Dave Ramsey, “We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like”. Unfortunately, many young people fall into this trap of buying a car. This is because they want to give people an impression they are doing very well. Unless you have a good reason to buy a car, my advice is to take the public transport.
Remember the times you eat out? You will be surprised how much you are spending here.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Do remember and have fun in life!
- School fees (If any)
It is very common for people to study part-time degree or masters especially in a competitive environment like Singapore. School fees can be a hefty lump sum to pay for. Typically, a fresh graduate will take around 2 to 5 years to finish paying for their school fees.
Anyone without insurance is faced with risk of getting into a financial disaster. Life isn’t fair. People face risks such as premature death, disability or critical illness and often face serious financial repercussion. You could be earning 50% ROI on your investment. But do you want to use your hard earned money to pay for your medical fees or bills? Do you want to use your capital to pay for your medical bills? No? Do check out how not to lose money.
Do remember your income tax. They are your expenses too
With that, you will get a clearer picture where your money goes too. If you were to prepare your own excel sheet, this is what you will get.
I would suggest that you create your own excel sheet so that you can track your own cashflow. It will be good to check if you have a healthy cashflow. There are many financial planners out there that can help you with this and financial planning (singapore) too. I would advise you to talk to your financial planner or get one at contact us.
If you still want to do it yourself, you can get your free excel sheet here.
Learn more about the author the financial planner here.
Here is a bonus video on how to allocate your money.