Friday, November 6, 2009

Favorite Time of the Month

I look forward to the beginning of the month. It's a very special time for me. My mortgage payment goes out at the beginning of the month. This prompts me to... wait for it... update my spreadsheet!

My budget spreadsheet is the first I created with multiple worksheets. It has nine (one of which goes unused, and the other just has information used in calculations on other sheets)! I've always been a long-term thinking/planner. While I like the idea of tracking things monthly, like Jonathon does over at MyMoneyBlog, I think I'm content with updating things monthly but tracking things on a yearly basis. You can look at my spreadsheet as a long term planning item, and as my monthly tracking place. Alternatively, you can look at as my monthly history, and my spreadsheet as my yearly outlook. It's really not much of a budget, I guess.

Recently, I haven't been using much of the spreadsheet besides the Retirement Planning tab. (I may have to look at what this says about my current job satisfaction at a later time.) This tab isn't so much of a plan of how to get to retirement - my 401(k), Roth IRA, other savings, and house are my retirement plan already being taken care of. The Retirement Planning tab lets me know when I can retire and live forever off of my accrued savings. I compute the live forever part of that by determining if the growth of my investments will outpace inflation.

By my current assumptions of 3% inflation, 7% retirement portfolio return, and $70,000 (in 2006 dollars) yearly withdrawals, I can retire permanently at age 56. Now, $70,000 seems like a ridiculously large amount of money to spend in a year, to me. However, I would like to have a wife, and I don't want to underestimate those associated expenses... Seriously, though, that should allow for most travel plans I can think of, charitable giving, and regular living expenses, with hopefully enough left over to handle unexpected expenses, or temporary-ish ones like college costs for children.

Even though I don't use most of the parts that I programmed into it, updating the spreadsheet is still a very fun activity. Very few things are better than a large table of numbers.

This was supposed to be posted nearer to the beginning of the month, but my main computer was having issues. Chkdsk seems to have sorted them out, though. It took a few hours, but it completed. I was fooled a few times by long periods of no screen updates and the keyboard not working. That is, I restarted the process more times than necessary, I think. For future reference, the Num Lock and Caps Lock keys don't work when chkdsk is running, and it's apparently normal for some operations to take an hour without updating the screen.

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