Thursday, December 28, 2006

Retirement Improvements

To me, its all about retirement. Retiring well, retiring earlier.
These are my two goals when it comes to money. And the only way I've
been able to work toward that goal is by working on both sides of the
expenses/income equation.

Reducing expenses comes in the form of paying off debts and scaling
back spending and avoiding -- and I mean avoiding like the plague --
any type of installment/interest-based debt.

Income generation is either finding ways to make more money in the
same amount of time or finding more jobs or income sources.

Staying in a budget is the best way to keep track of these changes and
ensure that the equation is balanced favorably. Ideally, I'd like to
see that I am spending only 75% of my income and saving 25%. That
would get me to retirement fast. I'm not sure if that will ever
happen; its a lofty goal.


Improving The System

The system for doing all of these things is my budgetting spreadsheet.
I am obsessed with it. That is not a joke or an understatement. I
balance it and look at it at least once per day. However, the main
point of all of the work is to make sure that I am achieving my
shorter term goals on the path toward a better retirement.

Shorter term goals include reducing debt, improving debt-to-income,
spending-to-income ratios, ensuring retirement projections are enough
to fund a nice retirement.

As a result, I've built little macros that handle some of the more menial tasks:

1. Retirement calculations
2. Savings to Income ratios
3. Expense Charting

All of these macros allow me to enter small bits of data and run and
rerun various scenarios and get calculations that allow me to see how
I am doing. So far, I am pleased.

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