Keep New Year’s Resolutions with Spreadsheets

new-year-hatWhat are your new year’s resolutions? As in most cases, coming up with the goals is easy…but achieving them is another story! According to a Forbes article published a couple of years ago, only 8% of Americans achieve their resolutions. How can we keep our resolutions? Can we be better at goal-setting? As an organizational and prioritization tool, spreadsheets can keep us accountable and help us reach our goals. In our busy lives, it can be a challenge to keep track of and prioritize everything we set out to do. Spreadsheets can help by making us better managers of our lives. Continue reading “Keep New Year’s Resolutions with Spreadsheets”

Build a Secret Santa Spreadsheet

Christmas is here again, and while we at SpreadsheetSolving appreciate the festive spirit, our practical side always wonders “does every single friend need a gift from each of their other friends?”. And… “why can’t we just give cash?”

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The game Secret Santa somewhat lessens this gift giving burden among a large group of people. In this game, each person is secretly assigned one other person in the group to give a gift to. Typically, when the person opens their gift, they try to guess who gave it to them. Great fun is had by all (in theory).

We can create a simple spreadsheet to set up the random assignment of people to others in a group. First we enter in a hypothetical list of names: Continue reading “Build a Secret Santa Spreadsheet”

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

Monte Carlo Simulation – Fantasy Football playoff predictor

How likely will you make the fantasy football playoffs? It’s week 11 of the Fantasy Football season, which means there’s only three more weeks until the Fantasy Football playoffs. All your hard work up to this point – drafting your team, closely following daily fantasy football podcasts and injury reports, and agonizing over who to play in your Flex spot – rests upon what happens in these next few weeks. Continue reading “Monte Carlo Simulation – Fantasy Football playoff predictor”

Build a sports league power ratings spreadsheet

Need a way to track results and calculate power ratings for your tennis, ping pong, chess, [amazon text=Magic: the Gathering&asin=B01MEEUWDI], or video and board game leagues?

As you might guess from much of the content posted over the past couple years, we at Spreadsheetsolving are huge fans of sports and games. There’s something about competition that sharpens the senses and motivates you to do your best. There’s also something satisfying about there being a clear winner and a loser when the game is over.

So what can you do when you’ve organized a group to play tennis, ping pong, magic, etc. and you want a system to track results and assign people ratings based on their match histories?

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Continue reading “Build a sports league power ratings spreadsheet”

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

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
Continue reading “Make a Buy vs Rent calculator spreadsheet”

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 “Is medical school “worth it”? An introduction to Internal Rate of Return (“IRR”)”

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 “How to analyze a nonprofit Form 990 with a spreadsheet”

Compare college endowment growth with (lack of) enrollment growth

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 “Compare college endowment growth with (lack of) enrollment growth”

Will you pay more or less taxes when you get married?

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 “Will you pay more or less taxes when you get married?”

Build a Spreadsheet to help you choose a healthcare plan

Will you save more with standard PPO or a high-deductible PPO Saver plan with a Health Savings Account?

It is currently Open Enrollment season at many workplaces, which is when employees choose their medical insurance and other benefits plans for the upcoming year. It’s also the time of year when people grumble “why is the US healthcare system so complicated” and just elect whatever plan they had in the prior year. Building a spreadsheet can help someone compare the costs and benefits of each of the plans under a variety of different assumptions about tax rate and healthcare expenditure. Continue reading “Build a Spreadsheet to help you choose a healthcare plan”