Appendix A. Detailed Salary and Investment Information
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Appendix B.
Creating Your Own Investment Spreadsheet
If you would prefer to create your own investment spreadsheet from scratch rather than
downloading the template on our webpage (wherewebe.com), we provide detailed instructions here.
These instructions may also be useful for those of you who downloaded the spreadsheet but aren’t
familiar with a program like Excel and need a bit more help.
When creating your own spreadsheet from scratch, be sure to use a spreadsheet program like
Microsoft Excel that can automatically add columns of data, apply simple formulas to calculate
annual rates of return, and add together results from one column to the next. That will allow you to
tweak the spreadsheet to play with different investment scenarios. You can make changes and
instantly see the results to the bottom line.
A sample investment spreadsheet is provided in Chapter 10. You may want to have a look at that
first to get an overview of what the spreadsheet looks like in terms of column sizes and layout. We
chose to use a landscaped 11” x 17” paper size to give ourselves plenty of room to work with, but the
spreadsheet can also fit on a landscaped 8½” x 11” sheet of paper.
Now let’s have a look at each column in the spreadsheet and see what’s involved in reproducing
it. For cells that contain formulas, we’ve used italics to identify the specific Excel formula that needs
to be added to each cell in the column. None of the formulas are particularly complicated.
Taxable Columns
Column A – Year: Manually enter the years as necessary. To edit them, simply click on the cell,
type in the correct information, and hit enter. You can delete rows at the bottom of the spreadsheet to
create a 15-year plan. (Be sure to select the entire row by clicking on the row number to the left then
hitting delete.) If you want a 25-year plan, you can copy and paste existing rows to add more years
(again, be sure to select the entire rows).
Column B – Amount Invested: Manually enter the amount you plan to invest per year in your
taxable account (i.e., any money you’re setting aside for use before you turn age 59½). You can try out
alternate savings scenarios by entering different numbers and seeing how the totals change.
Column C – Plus Prev. Year Total: This column automatically adds the “Total Taxable”
(Column E) amount from last year to the “Amount Invested” (Column B) this year. The formula in
cell C6 for example (which shows $2,000 in the sample spreadsheet) is: =E5+B6.
Column D – Annual % Return: This column automatically calculates the annual return generated
from the amount in Column C. You can change the percentage by entering the cell (double-click on it)
and changing the number – for example, from the default 0.09 (for 9%) to 0.08 (for 8%) or 0.1 (for
10%) or any other percentage you wish to experiment with. You can then copy and paste this cell to
all other applicable cells below it. The formula in cell D6 for example (which shows $180 in the
sample spreadsheet) is: =C6*0.09.
Column E – Total Taxable: This column automatically adds the amounts in Columns C and D to
give your total taxable amount for the year. The formula in cell E6 for example (which shows $2,180
in the sample spreadsheet) is: =C6+D6.
Column F is a blank column for spacing.
401(k) Columns
Column G – Amount Invested: Manually enter the amount you plan to invest per year in your
401(k). You can try out various scenarios by entering different numbers and seeing the results.
Column H – Match: Automatically calculates a 401(k) match for you. The default is set to 50%
of the amount in Column G. The percentage can be changed to bring it in line with the particulars of
your 401(k) plan. Double-click on the first cell you would like to update and change the percentage –
for example, from “0.5” (50%) to “1.0” (100%). You can then copy and paste this cell to all other
applicable cells below it. The formula in cell H6 for example (which shows $2,000 in the sample
spreadsheet) is: =G6*0.5.
Column I – Plus Prev. Year Total: Automatically adds the “Total 401(k)” (Column K) amount
from last year to the “Amount Invested” (Column G) and “Match” (Column H) for this year. The
formula in cell I6 for example (which shows $6,000 in the sample spreadsheet) is: =K5+G6+H6.
Column J – Annual % Return: Automatically calculates the annual return generated from the
amount in Column I. (See Column D instructions for changing the percentage rate.) The formula in
cell J6 for example (which shows $540 in the sample spreadsheet) is: =I6*0.09.
Column K – Total 401(k): Automatically adds the amounts in Columns I and J to give you your
total 401(k) amount for the year. The formula in cell K6 for example (which shows $6,540 in the
sample spreadsheet) is: =I6+J6.
Column L is a blank column for spacing.
Roth IRA Columns
Column M – Amount Invested: Manually enter the amount you plan to invest per year in your
Roth IRA. As with the other shaded columns in the spreadsheet, you can try out different scenarios by
entering different numbers and seeing the results.
Column N – Plus Prev. Year Total: Automatically adds the “Total Roth IRA” (Column P)
amount from last year to the “Amount Invested” (Column M) for this year. The formula in cell N6 for
example (which shows $4,000 in the sample spreadsheet) is: =P5+M6.
Column O – Annual % Return: Automatically calculates the annual return generated from the
amount in Column N. (See Column D above for instructions on changing the percentage rate.) The
formula in cell O6 for example (which shows $360 in the sample spreadsheet) is: =N6*0.09.
Column P – Total Roth IRA: Automatically adds the amounts in Columns N and O to give you
your total Roth IRA amount for the year. The formula in cell P6 for example (which shows $4,360 in
the sample spreadsheet) is: =N6+O6.
Column Q is a blank column for spacing.
Grand Total Column
Column R – Grand Total: Automatically adds the amounts in Columns E, K, and P (i.e., the
totals for taxable, 401(k), and Roth IRA) to give you the grand total for the year. The formula in cell
R6 for example (which shows $13,080 in the sample spreadsheet) is: =E6+K6+P6.