Author Topic: What do you use to track expenses and project net worth to determine FIRE date?  (Read 997 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Hello all,

I'm relatively new to the forum. Seems great! I noticed you all have dates for FIRE in your individual threads.

Just wondering what tools you are using to project yourself to that date? I like spreadsheeting and while I could build a comprehensive one from scratch it would take a long time to account for everything. Or perhaps there are other good tools outside of Excel?

I know there is the article about how it is simple to calculate the basic date based on savings rate, but I am interested in a good system for tracking everything very closely, that lets me input a lot of info.

Also I am Canadian so if there are any Canadian tools or spreadsheets that account for the tax-exempt programs and laws, like RRSP and TFSA we have in Canada that would be great!



  • Handlebar Stache
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I track all expenses with and then once a quarter export different categories to a spreadsheet to make pretty graphs and do extrapolation like you can see the attached picture.


  • Handlebar Stache
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I used a custom built Excel spreadsheet.  One row per month, one column per item (account balance, monthly contribution, etc.)

I started simply and added more things as I thought of them and felt it was worth it for the additional fidelity to real life to make it more complex.

I basically projected my life forward into the future on a monthly basis and looked for when my FIRE stash equaled 25x my expenses.  I projected out to 80 years of age, and it had about 20-30 columns of data.

After a while of working on it, I noticed that my spreadsheet's predicted date tended to bounce around but was usually in the 2016 to 2018 time frame.  I got a few nice stock options, had a crummy work situation, and my Mom was sick, so I retired February 19, 2016.


  • Handlebar Stache
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I use LibreOffice Calc to track everything. 


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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YNAB to track expenses (i.e budget). It's my single most important financial tool.
Google spreadsheet to auto calc my FIRE date.


  • Stubble
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  • Posts: 133
  • Location: us-west-1
I have used the spreadsheet here:

for many years and am about to cross the finish line (retiring in May 2018)!


  • Bristles
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  • Location: Minneapolis 'burbs
DH and I still have our first spreadsheet expense trackers from when we were fresh out of college. Our current one has a few tabs:

1. Expenses tracked monthly - each row is a month, each column is a category, with firm numbers for the past and estimates going forward. Every month when we get notice of our bank statement online we open it up and balance everything out.

2. Portfolio tracker - similarly, each row is a month; columns include overall totals, amount entered each month for 401ks and post-tax savings, estimates of future contributions, estimates of future totals based on various market return rates into the future.

3. Retirement expense estimates. This is where we put in our average expenses from tab 1, add in estimates for health insurance, SS assuming it still exists, Big RE Kickoff expenses, taxes, etc. This is where our FI and RE numbers are created. which all feeds into...

4. The Chart - this shows our portfolio totals in the past, with lines for the possible future totals. We can see when the lines intersect our FI number and our RE number. This is the awesome chart that shows the power of compounding interest over years - it's starting to show the parabola, which is very exciting.

Granted, this is almost a labor of love for us, so it's pretty extensive, but once it's up and running it takes maybe 30 minutes a month to maintain. And the psychological impact of The Chart cannot be overstated.


  • Stubble
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  • Posts: 121
  • Location: Wichita, KS
I use YNAB to budget and track expenses.  I've got some simple spreadsheets to track net worth and project when I could FIRE (a couple of different scenarios depending on my future savings rate and desired spending after I FIRE).


  • Bristles
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TheHusbandHalf and I are old . Dinosaurs even.  We use a pen, paper, a calendar, and a calculator!
He sits in front of 6 computers at work, when he gets home, he just wants to watch one of those plain ol' tvs.

One night he came home with a stack of papers.
During a rare slow time at work (doesn't actually get a lunch break) he printed a bunch of stuff about retiring from the company.  Like I said, we are dinosaurs