I made a financial plan for the next 3 years, and I am obsessed with it.
March 8, 2018 6:27 AM   Subscribe

I am a planner. I have plans for almost every facet of my life. It is just how I am wired. My problem is that I feel as though I am obsessed with this new financial plan. It is difficult for me to do any activity without my mind wandering to my beauteous spreadsheet I made.

Yes, my spreadsheet is nerd porn. And I cannot help admiring it and fiddling with it. I have automated everything represented [savings, bills], and so I do not really have anything left to do but wait for the coming years to come to fruition.

My issue, and the reason I have come here is that I cannot function properly without opening my spreadsheet.

I cannot read a book the way I used to without thinking about it.
I cannot watch Netflix for longer than 30 minutes without thinking about it.
I cannot play a game for very long without thinking about it.
I cannot do my Korean lessons without thinking about it.
I cannot complete my coding lessons without thinking about it.

I believe this means I am obsessed.

I just want to sit back and let the plan just happen as I have organized it to. If anything, I would love to forget it. oh, I would LOVE to forget it.

Can you help me or give me ideas for redirecting my energy, or ways to forget?
posted by squirbel to Work & Money (16 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I have a beautiful financial workbook too. Several, actually.

How I deal with it: Accept that it's okay to feel like this. The feeling eventually goes away. Just keep doing things and with time you will find yourself thinking less and less of your spreadsheet, and new things to be obsessed by. A bit like grief, really.

I used to check mine every ten minutes (literally), and now I haven't checked it in one month!

Otherwise, think seriously about starting a blog to write about your financial workflows, which spreadsheet nerds like me would love. I love reading about how other people manage their finances.

Other interesting pursuits to consider: reading up about financial independence, reddit FI forums, investing.

(I know you are not asking for Excel workflows but I can't resist: Mine is not fully automated due to the fact that I don't want to link my bank accounts, but it's pretty much 95% there. I pull statements manually and use copy and paste into my input sheet. The analysis pages and dashboard of metrics updates automatically. I use slicers, linked pivot tables, and Name Manager a lot.)
posted by moiraine at 6:44 AM on March 8, 2018 [6 favorites]

I have done this too! My spreadsheets are fourth-grade-level rudimentary, but when I get everything organized I feel compelled to "visit my money" and go over everything carefully, even when I know nothing has changed.

I am with moiraine: just accept that you are proud of your creation and that it is new enough to still captivate your mind. It's okay to feel this way. With time it will fade (but I hope that your discipline does not!).
posted by AgentRocket at 6:55 AM on March 8, 2018 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: You totally understand me!!

I read about creating a blog when I searched for "how to distract myself" in google 30 minutes ago. I am creating a free blog at day one.me since I use dayOne already.

I am afraid that reading more finance books and Reddits and blogs will make me even more obsessed and make me micromanage.

I just created a new blog called "Seed" that will help me as I go along, I suppose.

Thank you for understanding!

I am from a different generation, I suppose, and my bills are fairly unchanging, so I have no qualms linking my debit card and having my bills automatically withdrawn.
posted by squirbel at 6:59 AM on March 8, 2018 [1 favorite]

A beautiful spreadsheet and financial plan are exciting! It represents (and contains) your dreams and plans. You'll get less obsessed with time.

As moiraine suggested, having to input some things into your spreadsheet can be a reason to open your spreadsheet. For me, that means that twice a month I enter my spending and income manually. I like seeing where all the money is and where it went. But on quiet evenings, I will open the spreadsheet and look at the numbers, and tweak the plan a tiny bit or reallocate a bit of saved money. My spreadsheet represents security and control and the actions I am taking to help future me. That thing is gorgeous.

Congratulations on making a plan and a beautiful spreadsheet.
posted by Sauter Vaguely at 7:00 AM on March 8, 2018 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: I also have a monthly spreadsheet for my three credit scores, and a chart to go with it! This is all I can enter, really. The rest is pretty set in stone.
posted by squirbel at 7:01 AM on March 8, 2018

squirbel, maybe you need a couple of NEW sheets so that you can do more long-range planning (and projections)? Those things are very sensitive to the input assumptions (which always need adjusting and optimizing). Just sayin'.
posted by Sauter Vaguely at 7:09 AM on March 8, 2018

Response by poster: Oh, for heavens’ sake, I do not believe that is a good idea.
posted by squirbel at 7:24 AM on March 8, 2018

Clearly you need to be sharing those spreadsheet templates with us.
posted by MiraK at 7:32 AM on March 8, 2018 [5 favorites]

Response by poster: I would, but I believe that the spreadsheet is tailored to my finances. Plus, it is using Numbers – a macOS application. :)
posted by squirbel at 7:41 AM on March 8, 2018

There's a great NYTimes article: Maybe We All Need A Little Less Balance

I echo Sauter Vaguely. Long range planning is great. Like a company, you can make a financial model on your long term cash flow:
1. Predict all your expenses going forward (based on historical expenditure)
2. Input your predictions on income (make sure to account for inflation and pay rises)
3. Factor in a few line items for kids if you're thinking of any (they change your expenses a lot)
4. Account for your investing income (growth rate assumed at 6% a year but you can always make it a variable that you are comfortable with)

Does this help you? Probably not. But it is fun and you have a long term plan and now you know a few things about financial modelling if you don't already.
posted by moiraine at 7:46 AM on March 8, 2018 [2 favorites]

My spreadsheet is fairly simple, just a listing of income on top and expense budget amounts below, but opening it up a couple of times a month to see the number at the bottom being positive always makes me feel good.
posted by COD at 7:56 AM on March 8, 2018

Response by poster: https://s17.postimg.org/rqjx7mv73/Screen_Shot_2018-03-08_at_11.00.03_AM.png
posted by squirbel at 8:01 AM on March 8, 2018

Response by poster: I find that writing journal entries has calmed me down.

Thank you everyone!
posted by squirbel at 9:09 AM on March 8, 2018 [2 favorites]

If you like spreadsheets and tracking things you can also track your nutrition and fitness with something like myfitnesspal.
posted by MadMadam at 9:22 AM on March 8, 2018

Response by poster: Oh, I have about five separate apps for health, nutrition, weight, blood bpm, and medical records. :)

I get Walgreens points for walking, and also uploading my health and weight daily.
posted by squirbel at 10:26 AM on March 8, 2018

Mod note: Hey squirbel, it is neither necessary nor appropriate to respond to everything - please just note the answers that are useful and stick to major clarifications if necessary. Thanks!
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 3:24 PM on March 8, 2018

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