Category Archives: Economics & Personal Finance

Will you pay more or less under the Trump Tax Plan?

After nearly a year and a half after the candidates first declared their intention to run for the Presidency, we have now elected a new President. Trump’s Presidency was a surprise to many, and with Republicans in control of both the House and Senate along with the Presidency, major changes could be possible.

One of those changes could be taxes, where Trump has proposed a tax system with three tax brackets of 12%, 25% and 33% and an increase in the standard deduction to $30k for joint filers, while also eliminating exemptions for dependents. We wondered: roughly how would taxes change for any given level of income, filling status, and number of family members? This is a problem spreadsheets are well suited to solve! Continue reading

What makes a good business? Part 3 of the IRR trilogy

This post was inspired by reading a Quora response where the child of a top 1% family says that one of the advantages of his upbringing is that his parents taught him about how business works. “Business” is a somewhat broad term that some schools say takes two years and $120k in tuition to “master”. However, as we typically do in this blog, we can educate ourselves on some of the central concepts of business on our own through spreadsheets!

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Our hope is that anyone with internet access can find this page and play around with spreadsheets to begin to think about what makes a good business. Now if only this site could also provide the exotic travel experiences, connections, and the ability to take risks with a safety net that growing up in the 1% also provides… Continue reading

Make a Buy vs Rent calculator spreadsheet

Is it better to buy or rent a house? Advice on this problem comes in all shapes and sizes, from the dogmatic idea that homeownership is the American dream, to some more nuanced methods like calculating the price to rent ratio. What would you do if you found a great house and are deciding whether to buy it or keep on renting?house-435618_1280
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Is medical school “worth it”? An introduction to Internal Rate of Return (“IRR”)

Finance hiring is down, law school grads are having a tough time finding real law jobs, so what is an ambitious but risk averse college student to do with his or her life these days? Okay, right now the answer is computer science. Yes seriously, do computer science. But let’s pretend it is the year 2001 and the only other option respectable option is medical school. But doesn’t med school take a lot of time (4 years school plus 3-7 years residency/fellowship) and cost a lot of money? How can we figure out if going to med school and not earning doctor money until 7 years from now is worth it financially relative to just entering the workforce and working for those 7 years? Continue reading

How to analyze a nonprofit Form 990 with a spreadsheet

“The more you give, the more you get, that’s being alive” – The Money Song, Avenue Q

Charitable giving serves a valuable purpose  in  our society. It allows organizations in health, education, social services and others to provide benefits to people who otherwise couldn’t afford them. It allows people who have built up wealth to give back and make a difference. The federal government even subsidizes charitable giving by allowing donations to be deducted from income reported for taxes (effectively kicking in up to 39.6% of each donation). It’s a great system that is meant to fund those people and organizations in need. At least that is how it should be. Continue reading

Why don’t elite universities expand their enrollment?

For high school seniors, January 1st marks the college application deadline, the culmination of months of high stakes essay writing, testing, and filling out applications. This is then followed by four months of anxious waiting for the decisions to come back. Having applied to college over 15 years ago, I’m always shocked at how much harder getting into college appears to have gotten – acceptance rates for top schools have fallen to just 5-8%.  With lower acceptance rates comes increased stress and pressure to perform. Continue reading

Build a marriage tax penalty calculator spreadsheet

Summer and Fall are generally regarded as “Wedding season,” a time when love and celebration are in the air. December, on the other hand, could be regarded as “Should we get legally married for tax reasons before the end of the year” season, a slightly less romantic affair. Continue reading

Do you want the stock market to go up or down?

At first glance, it sounds like an obvious question – surely it is better when stocks go up, right? From watching the ads on CNBC, it would seem that higher stock prices directly translate into more steak dinners and golf vacations while lower stock prices mean bringing your own peanut butter sandwiches to work (jelly is for bull markets). Continue reading

Create a Currency Exchange Rate Calculator

Stock Photo: European Union Picture. Image: 100320

© Photographer Leopollo | Dreamstime.com

Discover how to create a currency exchange rate calculator – a practical & versatile spreadsheet app. From a list of 61 currencies, this tool can generate a total of over 3,600 exchange rate combinations! Discover how to build it with basic functions: GoogleFinance, IF, data validation, and Vlookup.

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How to Analyze Stocks in Spreadsheets

In a few steps, you can create a basic stock analyzer spreadsheet. Our post and 5-minute video tutorial will guide you to building a spreadsheet template that charts prices, calculates return and volatility metrics, and identifies lowest and highest daily returns! (Basic template also accessible below).

[youtube=http://youtu.be/hMawNIfdFRo]

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How to Visualize Data

Is the typical New Yorkers’ overall “well-being” better than that of the national average? Nope! How did we quickly conclude this? Check out the graph to the right. Data visualization is an effective (and fun) way to understand information!

Too much information can be overwhelming. But there are ways to channel the desired data and convey it in a way that makes it quick and easy to understand. Let’s discover the power of data visualization by creating a flexible, automatic tool shown below. To see this tool live in action, see our 2-minute video below:

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