Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Why you should use Google Sheets for personal finances

I only started tracking our net worth on Google Sheets in 2015. It's unbelievable how useful this tool is and I can never quite understand why I didn't do it earlier. It was only after the size of the investment portfolio becoming significant that triggered the need for me to have a better tracking system. That being said, I track our Singapore portfolio on SGXcafe and it's a great tool for monitoring the portfolio. I use Google Sheets to monitor our total assets, liabilities, income & expenses; so the market value of the Singapore portfolio is included but I rely on SGXcafe to track the average price, unrealised gains & losses etc of the various Singapore stocks. If you have no idea how and where to start with managing your personal finances, I would recommend getting all the relevant information down into a Google Spreadsheet as your first step.

What is a Google Sheet?

Firstly, you have to sign up for a Gmail account. After you have logged into your Gmail, you can click into the Google Apps on the top right hand corner and access your Google Drive. From there, you can create a new Google Sheet (the one with the green document icon beside it).


Basically, it works like an online Excel Spreadsheet and you can update it from anywhere as long as you have access to internet connection and Gmail.

Why Google Sheets?

In the US, there is a personal finance tool called Personal Capital. Many of the personal finance and investment bloggers recommend this tool as a good way to track your saving, investment, retirement accounts etc. Since it's a US-based personal finance tool, I tried searching for something similar in Singapore but realised we don't have an equivalent here yet. Hence, the alternative is to use Google Sheets to track my saving, investment, retirement accounts etc. Although you can update the information on the Google Sheet from anywhere, it's a manual process prone to error and can be time-consuming. However, this appears to be the best alternative until we have an equivalent of Personal Capital here in Singapore. In my next post, I will write about how to organise the sheets in your Google Sheet as a way to track your personal finances.

Why track your personal finances?

In my previous posts, I wrote about the Balance Sheet (BS) - Assets & Liabilities and Profit & Loss (P&L) - Income & Expenses statements. Understanding their relationships and how they impact each other is essential to your wealth-building journey. To do that, you must be able to track their actual and percentage figures. If not, you will have no idea whether you are making any progress at all. You can read my next few posts about how I organise our Google Sheet as a starting point. Definitely take the time to prepare your own BS and P&L on Google Sheets and you will be amazed at what you can find out!

10 comments:

  1. Why not excel spreadsheet?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi R,

      The main reason is that Google Sheet is better for online work as I pull data into the sheet from other websites. The other reason is that Google Sheet is better for collaboration since my wife and I can work on the sheet simultaneously.

      Cheers,
      TFS

      Delete
  2. hi FS,
    i use excel to track my invesments too, and then save it in google drive. this can be access anywhere (even offline). how would this be any different from using google sheets? whats the extra edge of this over excel?

    anyway, great blog! i dont have a finance background, so i am learning alot from your BS and PL.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi fooztreasures,

      Yes, that's a good way to track your investments as well. I prefer to maintain my spreadsheet online on Google Sheet so that my wife or I can update it directly. I also pull data (e.g. prices from Yahoo Finance and Google Finance) from other website so it's better for me to have a more real-time update of the portfolios.

      Cheers,
      TFS

      Delete
    2. TFS,
      how do you pull price data?

      Delete
    3. I use certain formulae on Google Sheet to pull price data from other websites. Will write about this in my next post!

      Cheers,
      TFS

      Delete
  3. Hi fs,

    You might want to try our Ynab. I've switched from manual keying from excel to it, and never looked back. The gd thing is that it comes with a app so u can key in your hp and it'll be updated. It does whatever spreadsheet does, but slicker and also it comes with a checking function due to the double entry nature of it.

    U can have a trial on it and see if it fits u.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi La Papillion,

      I have just read your review of YNAB and will definitely consider this software.

      Thanks.

      Cheers,
      TFS

      Delete
  4. I'm using Google sheet too! : )

    ReplyDelete