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!