Author Topic: Personal Financial Metrics - Which Ones Do You Watch?  (Read 6247 times)

6leakertweeker

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Personal Financial Metrics - Which Ones Do You Watch?
« on: October 21, 2016, 01:29:14 PM »
Good Friday all,

    I've been watching my finances for almost 2 years now using Google sheets and recently have moved everything over to excel.  I have a comparative income statement and balance sheet that update every month off of the general ledger.  I watch % variances on balance sheet and net earnings before and after earnings towards investments on the income statement.  Is there any other metrics I should be watching?  At one point I had a cash flow statement going but since I use a cash flow based income statement I didn't think it was necessary. 

ketchup

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Re: Personal Financial Metrics - Which Ones Do You Watch?
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2016, 01:46:15 PM »
All I really look at are net worth, income year-over-year, taxes paid year-over-year, and IRR of investments.

boarder42

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Re: Personal Financial Metrics - Which Ones Do You Watch?
« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2016, 01:49:31 PM »
networth ROI income

6leakertweeker

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Re: Personal Financial Metrics - Which Ones Do You Watch?
« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2016, 02:24:22 PM »
All I really look at are net worth, income year-over-year, taxes paid year-over-year, and IRR of investments.

Are you actually using the IRR (internal return rate) or are you calculating ROI?

Zikoris

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Re: Personal Financial Metrics - Which Ones Do You Watch?
« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2016, 02:38:13 PM »
I really only pay attention to net worth change over time, monthly spending, and year to date spending. More than that would seem to be making things unnecessarily complicated, which I try to avoid.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Personal Financial Metrics - Which Ones Do You Watch?
« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2016, 04:05:01 PM »
I really only pay attention to net worth change over time, monthly spending, and year to date spending. More than that would seem to be making things unnecessarily complicated, which I try to avoid.

+1. These, and income over time (contractors, so it varies).

ketchup

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Re: Personal Financial Metrics - Which Ones Do You Watch?
« Reply #6 on: October 22, 2016, 06:50:40 AM »
All I really look at are net worth, income year-over-year, taxes paid year-over-year, and IRR of investments.

Are you actually using the IRR (internal return rate) or are you calculating ROI?
IRR.  It's the most useful and intuitive number for me.  I'm mostly talking about keeping track of real estate; stocks are obviously a lot simpler to track.

6leakertweeker

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Re: Personal Financial Metrics - Which Ones Do You Watch?
« Reply #7 on: October 22, 2016, 03:10:44 PM »
Gotcha. Thanks Ketchup.

Thanks all for the replies. 

obstinate

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Re: Personal Financial Metrics - Which Ones Do You Watch?
« Reply #8 on: October 23, 2016, 12:51:31 AM »
I only look at spending, cashflow, and networth. I look at spending to see if there's anything I'm being stupid about, or to get ideas about what to optimize. I look at cashflow to make sure nothing weird is going on and that I'm not forgetting to sell equity grants or anything like that. And I look at net worth as a form of mental masturbation.

Metric Mouse

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Re: Personal Financial Metrics - Which Ones Do You Watch?
« Reply #9 on: October 23, 2016, 01:16:35 AM »
Pretty much just spending and cashflow. As long as the latter is generally higher than the former, I'm meeting my goals.

lemanfan

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Re: Personal Financial Metrics - Which Ones Do You Watch?
« Reply #10 on: October 23, 2016, 01:39:31 AM »
All I really look at are net worth, income year-over-year, taxes paid year-over-year, and IRR of investments.

Are you actually using the IRR (internal return rate) or are you calculating ROI?
IRR.  It's the most useful and intuitive number for me.  I'm mostly talking about keeping track of real estate; stocks are obviously a lot simpler to track.

How do you do IRR in practice?  Is it on an annual basis?

worms

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Re: Personal Financial Metrics - Which Ones Do You Watch?
« Reply #11 on: October 23, 2016, 03:00:13 AM »
I monitor (monthly):
cash balance(s)
days cover (for emergency fund)
Monthly dividend income (and running annual yield against inflation-adjusted historic investment costs)
% saving (at month end)
Current investment portfolio value

arebelspy

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Re: Personal Financial Metrics - Which Ones Do You Watch?
« Reply #12 on: October 23, 2016, 04:28:09 AM »
1) I track net worth monthly.

2) Mint automatically tracks our spending, and I'll go on every.. 3 or 4 months or so and tag transactions and sort stuff.

I used to, when I did this, also put in our expenses and income into a spreadsheet (so also every few months), and that would calculate savings rate.  Haven't bothered with that for awhile.

Bottom line: I sort of passively glance at our spending between 2 and 4 times per year, and spend about 10 minutes updating our net worth once/month.

Don't really care, beyond that, and I'm thinking of stopping the second one.  The first I'll probably continue for the next few years to make sure we're headed in the right direction in FIRE (only one year in), but may go down to updating it once per year, at some point.

When you first get into the FIRE concept, all those things are SO FUN to track.  I had like 8 different spreadsheets to track and project everything.  Then you get into a groove, stop worrying about it, and enjoy life.

Now, in FIRE, I couldn't care less.  It's just numbers.  So many more fun things to do than track things (though spreadsheets are still fun!).  :)
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with two kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

marty998

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Re: Personal Financial Metrics - Which Ones Do You Watch?
« Reply #13 on: October 23, 2016, 05:49:10 AM »
It's all getting too hard for me...

I track net assets, and annual tax paid. But even that one is silly because I don't/can't track super taxes, GST, levies etc.

Tracking investment returns is too hard as well. Until I get rid of all my unused capital losses I just know I'm "behind".

Unfortunately those unused tax losses are a very big number :(

human

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Re: Personal Financial Metrics - Which Ones Do You Watch?
« Reply #14 on: October 23, 2016, 06:39:57 AM »
I really only pay attention to net worth change over time, monthly spending, and year to date spending. More than that would seem to be making things unnecessarily complicated, which I try to avoid.

This, and I check allocation once in a while because I still have just a relatively small amount invested. At the end of every month I also plug in investment contributions on a spreadsheet to track returns.


Spork

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Re: Personal Financial Metrics - Which Ones Do You Watch?
« Reply #15 on: October 23, 2016, 06:53:17 AM »
I am probably definitely an out-lier.  I am a graph geek.  I track every stinking thing I can think to track.  I have graphs that autogenerate 2x a day for the following.  Graphs are strip charts that show trending over time (where time can be zoomed in to the last few hours or zoomed out to a 30 year view.)

Asset Summary: breakdown of cash account totals, stock totals, mutual fund totals, misc asset totals, precious metals totals
Asset Type percentage: same as above expressed in percent
Financial v non-financial: breakdown of financial assets v other (other being house, cars, etc)
Asset Allocation: totals of stock/bond/cash/real estate/metals
Assets v liabilities
Outstanding liability on it's own graph: as assets grow, it can be hard to see actual liability figures on a graph
Retirement v non-retirement: what is in retirement type accounts vs non tax advantaged accounts
Retirement account percentage: same as above expressed in percent
Taxable v non-taxable: sounds sort of the same, but this is the breakdown between tax deferred, tax exempt and taxable. 
Retirement accounts: breakdown of the value of each retirement type account in one graph where you can see comparative values of them
Trading account: breakdown of trading account where you can see comparative values of each stock owned
trading account cost v value: simple chart of the total of cost basis v present value
Vanguard: breakdown of all vanguard funds owned and comparative values of each
Vanguard cost v value: simple chart of VG cost basis v value
Metals: breakdown of metals owned
Metals cost v value: simple chart of metals basis v value
HSA: breakdown of HSA and funds held inside
HSA cost v value
Other stocks/funds: if zoomed out far enough, this was a hodgepodge of stuff I couldn't categorize.  In the present day, everything has been liquidated except some US savings bonds from many years ago
Bank/cash accounts: breakdown of cash accounts.  Includes obvious checking/savings, but also the value of the cash accounts where stocks/funds settle into
Savings breakdown: for cash, we actually have it categorized into various subcategories.  "next car purchase", "stock purchase", "emergency fund", etc.  This used to be more useful than it is now.
Emergency fund: this is a breakdown of how long monies tagged as "emergency fund" would last based on 30day, 90day, 1year and 5 year spending

Fund details...
ROI overview: a huge graph with the ROI of every stock/fund owned
IRR overview: a huge graph with the IRR of every stock/fund owned

Per-stock/fund graphs:
For each stock or fund owned, a strip graph for ROI, a strip graph for IRR and a strip graph for cost vs value.

Income v expense...
Each of these income/expense graphs exists computed on the last 30 days, the last 90 days, the last 365 days and the last 5 years ... so there are 4 sets of income/expense graphs:
Income- active vs passive
Nonsalary income vs expenses - break down of income, expense, 4% withdrawal rate, 3% withdrawal rate -- but only for non-salaried money
Total income vs expenses - same as above but included salaried money.  Post-FIRE these graphs end up showing the same thing, obviously
Savings percentage
Dividends: a stack of dividend amounts for each stock/fund owned
Tracked Expenses: These were the top 5 expenses we had when I started the graph around 2011 side by side for comparison.  I probably should go back and add/delete since some of these were brought way down (and presumably something else popped up).
Level 1 expenses: this is a stack graph showing all level 1 expenses.  (Everything is categorized something like "expenses:Auto:insurance" and "expenses:Taxes:FICA".  "Level 1" means totals for "Auto" and "Taxes" and the other Level 1s.

YTD income expense: this gives a comparison of income, expense, target3%, target4% and target@FIRE.  "Target3%" is a YTD expression of what 3% WR would mean on a given day.  "Target@FIRE" is the expenses at my FIRE date expressed as a YTD amount and run through inflation.

Retirement graphs...  Like income/expense, there are 4 sets of these based on 30day, 90day, 1year and 5 year data:
Time to retirement - very simplified graph of estimated time to retirement based on current expenses and current financial assets.  This was aimed at "time until I hit 4% WR based on expenses"
estimated retirement percentage - very simple again.  Calculation of percentage for the above.  I.e. If I had exactly enough financial assets to cover 25x expenses, it would read 100% on that day.
estimated retirement - similar to above, but not a percentage.  This is just actual financial assets vs  calculated required assets
current withdraw rates - this shows how long the current financial assets would last (in years) based on expenses.  Further breakdown here on amounts in non-retire accounts and retirement accounts
current withdraw rates 3% - same as above but assume 3% compounding interest
current withdraw rates 5% - same as above but assume 5% compounding interest
current withdraw rates 8% - same as above but assume 8% compounding interest
current ratio - this is a graph over time of current ratio of financial assets vs expense.  i.e, 25x expense is the old 4%

FIRECALC/cfiresim graphs
firecalc/cfiresim 365 - gives a firecalc "percent success" for retire now vs 1 more year, 2 more years, ... 8 more years.  Same for cfiresim.  This is based on last 365 days
firecalc/cfiresim 5y - same as above using data from last 5 years
firecalc first fit - runs simulations to figure out "how long until retirement".  This has both 1 year and 5 year data on the same graph.
firecalc required portfolio - runs simulations and graphs the portfolio required based on current expenses.  Graph data for 1 and 5 year data inputs and output from both firecalc and cfiresim
cfiresim spending vs actual - graph of output from cfiresim on "what could I spend a year with current assets" vs actual spending.  Uses both 1 year and 5 year data

Fire expenses vs current - graph of current annual expenses vs annual expenses on FIRE date (with the latter inflation adjusted)
Fire assets vs current - graph of current assets vs assets at FIRE (latter is inflation adjusted)

---

I also present most of the above junk in text form on a web page (visible only on my local network).  I found that I can "see" math-y type things visually (via graphs) and my wife sees them better with actual numbers (table format). 

Metric Mouse

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Re: Personal Financial Metrics - Which Ones Do You Watch?
« Reply #16 on: October 23, 2016, 09:14:22 PM »
I am probably definitely an out-lier.  I am a graph geek.  I track every stinking thing I can think to track.  I have graphs that autogenerate 2x a day for the following.  Graphs are strip charts that show trending over time (where time can be zoomed in to the last few hours or zoomed out to a 30 year view.)

Asset Summary: breakdown of cash account totals, stock totals, mutual fund totals, misc asset totals, precious metals totals
Asset Type percentage: same as above expressed in percent
Financial v non-financial: breakdown of financial assets v other (other being house, cars, etc)
Asset Allocation: totals of stock/bond/cash/real estate/metals
Assets v liabilities
Outstanding liability on it's own graph: as assets grow, it can be hard to see actual liability figures on a graph
Retirement v non-retirement: what is in retirement type accounts vs non tax advantaged accounts
Retirement account percentage: same as above expressed in percent
Taxable v non-taxable: sounds sort of the same, but this is the breakdown between tax deferred, tax exempt and taxable. 
Retirement accounts: breakdown of the value of each retirement type account in one graph where you can see comparative values of them
Trading account: breakdown of trading account where you can see comparative values of each stock owned
trading account cost v value: simple chart of the total of cost basis v present value
Vanguard: breakdown of all vanguard funds owned and comparative values of each
Vanguard cost v value: simple chart of VG cost basis v value
Metals: breakdown of metals owned
Metals cost v value: simple chart of metals basis v value
HSA: breakdown of HSA and funds held inside
HSA cost v value
Other stocks/funds: if zoomed out far enough, this was a hodgepodge of stuff I couldn't categorize.  In the present day, everything has been liquidated except some US savings bonds from many years ago
Bank/cash accounts: breakdown of cash accounts.  Includes obvious checking/savings, but also the value of the cash accounts where stocks/funds settle into
Savings breakdown: for cash, we actually have it categorized into various subcategories.  "next car purchase", "stock purchase", "emergency fund", etc.  This used to be more useful than it is now.
Emergency fund: this is a breakdown of how long monies tagged as "emergency fund" would last based on 30day, 90day, 1year and 5 year spending

Fund details...
ROI overview: a huge graph with the ROI of every stock/fund owned
IRR overview: a huge graph with the IRR of every stock/fund owned

Per-stock/fund graphs:
For each stock or fund owned, a strip graph for ROI, a strip graph for IRR and a strip graph for cost vs value.

Income v expense...
Each of these income/expense graphs exists computed on the last 30 days, the last 90 days, the last 365 days and the last 5 years ... so there are 4 sets of income/expense graphs:
Income- active vs passive
Nonsalary income vs expenses - break down of income, expense, 4% withdrawal rate, 3% withdrawal rate -- but only for non-salaried money
Total income vs expenses - same as above but included salaried money.  Post-FIRE these graphs end up showing the same thing, obviously
Savings percentage
Dividends: a stack of dividend amounts for each stock/fund owned
Tracked Expenses: These were the top 5 expenses we had when I started the graph around 2011 side by side for comparison.  I probably should go back and add/delete since some of these were brought way down (and presumably something else popped up).
Level 1 expenses: this is a stack graph showing all level 1 expenses.  (Everything is categorized something like "expenses:Auto:insurance" and "expenses:Taxes:FICA".  "Level 1" means totals for "Auto" and "Taxes" and the other Level 1s.

YTD income expense: this gives a comparison of income, expense, target3%, target4% and target@FIRE.  "Target3%" is a YTD expression of what 3% WR would mean on a given day.  "Target@FIRE" is the expenses at my FIRE date expressed as a YTD amount and run through inflation.

Retirement graphs...  Like income/expense, there are 4 sets of these based on 30day, 90day, 1year and 5 year data:
Time to retirement - very simplified graph of estimated time to retirement based on current expenses and current financial assets.  This was aimed at "time until I hit 4% WR based on expenses"
estimated retirement percentage - very simple again.  Calculation of percentage for the above.  I.e. If I had exactly enough financial assets to cover 25x expenses, it would read 100% on that day.
estimated retirement - similar to above, but not a percentage.  This is just actual financial assets vs  calculated required assets
current withdraw rates - this shows how long the current financial assets would last (in years) based on expenses.  Further breakdown here on amounts in non-retire accounts and retirement accounts
current withdraw rates 3% - same as above but assume 3% compounding interest
current withdraw rates 5% - same as above but assume 5% compounding interest
current withdraw rates 8% - same as above but assume 8% compounding interest
current ratio - this is a graph over time of current ratio of financial assets vs expense.  i.e, 25x expense is the old 4%

FIRECALC/cfiresim graphs
firecalc/cfiresim 365 - gives a firecalc "percent success" for retire now vs 1 more year, 2 more years, ... 8 more years.  Same for cfiresim.  This is based on last 365 days
firecalc/cfiresim 5y - same as above using data from last 5 years
firecalc first fit - runs simulations to figure out "how long until retirement".  This has both 1 year and 5 year data on the same graph.
firecalc required portfolio - runs simulations and graphs the portfolio required based on current expenses.  Graph data for 1 and 5 year data inputs and output from both firecalc and cfiresim
cfiresim spending vs actual - graph of output from cfiresim on "what could I spend a year with current assets" vs actual spending.  Uses both 1 year and 5 year data

Fire expenses vs current - graph of current annual expenses vs annual expenses on FIRE date (with the latter inflation adjusted)
Fire assets vs current - graph of current assets vs assets at FIRE (latter is inflation adjusted)

---

I also present most of the above junk in text form on a web page (visible only on my local network).  I found that I can "see" math-y type things visually (via graphs) and my wife sees them better with actual numbers (table format).

Wow. I think it took more time to type this than I have spent worrying about my networth number since I FIRED.

MMMWannaBe

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Re: Personal Financial Metrics - Which Ones Do You Watch?
« Reply #17 on: October 24, 2016, 08:11:55 PM »
Wow.  And I thought I had a fairly thorough performance tracker of our investments.  Here is what I track in an Excel Spreadsheet.

- Monthly Revenue
- Monthly Expense
- Monthly fav/ (unfav) to budget; explanations of why we missed budgetary figure
- Monthly Cash Balance
- Monthly Investment Balance
- Monthly Net Worth
- Dividends (and dividends as a percent of annual spend)
- Vacation Spending
- Averages (spending, expense, surplus, etc.)
- Rolling 12 month average of spending
- tracking how spending fits in with SWR, 4%

I look forward to see our monthly update - easy to say when the market is performing.

patchyfacialhair

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Re: Personal Financial Metrics - Which Ones Do You Watch?
« Reply #18 on: October 24, 2016, 08:16:11 PM »
Cashflow and rate of return on investments.

We budget pretty liberally, so the goal each month is to transfer more to savings than forecasted. Keeps it simple and makes it kind of a fun game.

Spork

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Re: Personal Financial Metrics - Which Ones Do You Watch?
« Reply #19 on: October 25, 2016, 05:59:22 AM »
I am probably definitely an out-lier.  I am a graph geek.  I track every stinking thing I can think to track.  I have graphs that autogenerate 2x a day for the following.  Graphs are strip charts that show trending over time (where time can be zoomed in to the last few hours or zoomed out to a 30 year view.)

Asset Summary: breakdown of cash account totals, stock totals, mutual fund totals, misc asset totals, precious metals totals
Asset Type percentage: same as above expressed in percent
Financial v non-financial: breakdown of financial assets v other (other being house, cars, etc)
Asset Allocation: totals of stock/bond/cash/real estate/metals
Assets v liabilities
Outstanding liability on it's own graph: as assets grow, it can be hard to see actual liability figures on a graph
Retirement v non-retirement: what is in retirement type accounts vs non tax advantaged accounts
Retirement account percentage: same as above expressed in percent
Taxable v non-taxable: sounds sort of the same, but this is the breakdown between tax deferred, tax exempt and taxable. 
Retirement accounts: breakdown of the value of each retirement type account in one graph where you can see comparative values of them
Trading account: breakdown of trading account where you can see comparative values of each stock owned
trading account cost v value: simple chart of the total of cost basis v present value
Vanguard: breakdown of all vanguard funds owned and comparative values of each
Vanguard cost v value: simple chart of VG cost basis v value
Metals: breakdown of metals owned
Metals cost v value: simple chart of metals basis v value
HSA: breakdown of HSA and funds held inside
HSA cost v value
Other stocks/funds: if zoomed out far enough, this was a hodgepodge of stuff I couldn't categorize.  In the present day, everything has been liquidated except some US savings bonds from many years ago
Bank/cash accounts: breakdown of cash accounts.  Includes obvious checking/savings, but also the value of the cash accounts where stocks/funds settle into
Savings breakdown: for cash, we actually have it categorized into various subcategories.  "next car purchase", "stock purchase", "emergency fund", etc.  This used to be more useful than it is now.
Emergency fund: this is a breakdown of how long monies tagged as "emergency fund" would last based on 30day, 90day, 1year and 5 year spending

Fund details...
ROI overview: a huge graph with the ROI of every stock/fund owned
IRR overview: a huge graph with the IRR of every stock/fund owned

Per-stock/fund graphs:
For each stock or fund owned, a strip graph for ROI, a strip graph for IRR and a strip graph for cost vs value.

Income v expense...
Each of these income/expense graphs exists computed on the last 30 days, the last 90 days, the last 365 days and the last 5 years ... so there are 4 sets of income/expense graphs:
Income- active vs passive
Nonsalary income vs expenses - break down of income, expense, 4% withdrawal rate, 3% withdrawal rate -- but only for non-salaried money
Total income vs expenses - same as above but included salaried money.  Post-FIRE these graphs end up showing the same thing, obviously
Savings percentage
Dividends: a stack of dividend amounts for each stock/fund owned
Tracked Expenses: These were the top 5 expenses we had when I started the graph around 2011 side by side for comparison.  I probably should go back and add/delete since some of these were brought way down (and presumably something else popped up).
Level 1 expenses: this is a stack graph showing all level 1 expenses.  (Everything is categorized something like "expenses:Auto:insurance" and "expenses:Taxes:FICA".  "Level 1" means totals for "Auto" and "Taxes" and the other Level 1s.

YTD income expense: this gives a comparison of income, expense, target3%, target4% and target@FIRE.  "Target3%" is a YTD expression of what 3% WR would mean on a given day.  "Target@FIRE" is the expenses at my FIRE date expressed as a YTD amount and run through inflation.

Retirement graphs...  Like income/expense, there are 4 sets of these based on 30day, 90day, 1year and 5 year data:
Time to retirement - very simplified graph of estimated time to retirement based on current expenses and current financial assets.  This was aimed at "time until I hit 4% WR based on expenses"
estimated retirement percentage - very simple again.  Calculation of percentage for the above.  I.e. If I had exactly enough financial assets to cover 25x expenses, it would read 100% on that day.
estimated retirement - similar to above, but not a percentage.  This is just actual financial assets vs  calculated required assets
current withdraw rates - this shows how long the current financial assets would last (in years) based on expenses.  Further breakdown here on amounts in non-retire accounts and retirement accounts
current withdraw rates 3% - same as above but assume 3% compounding interest
current withdraw rates 5% - same as above but assume 5% compounding interest
current withdraw rates 8% - same as above but assume 8% compounding interest
current ratio - this is a graph over time of current ratio of financial assets vs expense.  i.e, 25x expense is the old 4%

FIRECALC/cfiresim graphs
firecalc/cfiresim 365 - gives a firecalc "percent success" for retire now vs 1 more year, 2 more years, ... 8 more years.  Same for cfiresim.  This is based on last 365 days
firecalc/cfiresim 5y - same as above using data from last 5 years
firecalc first fit - runs simulations to figure out "how long until retirement".  This has both 1 year and 5 year data on the same graph.
firecalc required portfolio - runs simulations and graphs the portfolio required based on current expenses.  Graph data for 1 and 5 year data inputs and output from both firecalc and cfiresim
cfiresim spending vs actual - graph of output from cfiresim on "what could I spend a year with current assets" vs actual spending.  Uses both 1 year and 5 year data

Fire expenses vs current - graph of current annual expenses vs annual expenses on FIRE date (with the latter inflation adjusted)
Fire assets vs current - graph of current assets vs assets at FIRE (latter is inflation adjusted)

---

I also present most of the above junk in text form on a web page (visible only on my local network).  I found that I can "see" math-y type things visually (via graphs) and my wife sees them better with actual numbers (table format).

Wow. I think it took more time to type this than I have spent worrying about my networth number since I FIRED.

I'm a nerd.  I know it.

I actually realized yesterday I missed one page of graphs:
* IRA funds availability overview: roth available for withdrawal, traditional available for withdrawal, roth unavailable, traditional unavailable
* IRA funds availability detail: same as above, but breaks it down further into my accounts and spouse's accounts
* IRA funds status detail: ira accounts broken down into  my roth principle, spouse roth principle, my roth conversions, spouse roth conversions, my roth growth, spouse roth growth, my traditional, inherited ira.
* actual withdrawal rates: one graph with 30d, 90d, 365d and 5year computed withdrawal rates plus computed "safe" rate based on expense/stash
* actual withdrawal amounts: same as above but with annualized amounts instead of computed rates plus computed "safe" withdrawal amount

JustGettingStarted1980

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Re: Personal Financial Metrics - Which Ones Do You Watch?
« Reply #20 on: October 25, 2016, 06:05:50 AM »
Spork, you are an Einstein amongst Nerds, I simply can't compete.

Me, in regards to tracking, I'm more of believer in the concept of "KISS"

Net Worth Quarterly, Monthly Expenses, and every goal my son has scored ever in competitive play.

JGS

dogboyslim

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Re: Personal Financial Metrics - Which Ones Do You Watch?
« Reply #21 on: October 25, 2016, 09:49:06 AM »
Pretty much just spending and cashflow. As long as the latter is generally higher than the former, I'm meeting my goals.

I agree.  I could watch net worth, but it fluctuates so much with the market that its hard to follow on any kind of short-term basis.  My spending relative to my income is an early indicator of behaving in a way that will let me reach my goals.  If I miss my savings target for a month I know to adjust behavior right away.

arebelspy

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Re: Personal Financial Metrics - Which Ones Do You Watch?
« Reply #22 on: October 26, 2016, 05:06:06 AM »


Pretty much just spending and cashflow. As long as the latter is generally higher than the former, I'm meeting my goals.

I agree.  I could watch net worth, but it fluctuates so much with the market that its hard to follow on any kind of short-term basis.

Then why not track it in a long term basis?

Quote
My spending relative to my income is an early indicator of behaving in a way that will let me reach my goals.  If I miss my savings target for a month I know to adjust behavior right away.

But don't you miss it all the time for reasons not related to needing to adjust behavior at all?  E.g. one month you have to pay your annual insurance premiums, so you miss it, one month a car repair makes you miss it, one month paying for an annual vacation, etc. So you miss it a fair amount, but make it even more, so overall for the year you end up making or exceeding your goal, based on an average?

I'd think if you're trying to adjust your behavior every time you miss, you may be unnecessarily analyzing your behavior when it isn't at fault... And if you're hitting it every month, your goal may be too low.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with two kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

6leakertweeker

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Re: Personal Financial Metrics - Which Ones Do You Watch?
« Reply #23 on: October 26, 2016, 07:26:55 AM »
That's a good point arebelspy.  I consistently watch my different spending categories to see if I'm getting to lazy in one area or another.  Once I see myself getting out of line I reduce spending in another category to make up for the loss.  But the unexpected expenses do make it tougher. 

However, if you use traditional forecasting you can get pretty close each month, quarter, or year even with unexpected issues.  I forecast my stuff using percent of revenue just as a business would along with historical averages.  That usually will get you really close as long as you have a good history to forecast off of. 

Heroes821

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Re: Personal Financial Metrics - Which Ones Do You Watch?
« Reply #24 on: October 26, 2016, 07:34:20 AM »
I am probably definitely an out-lier.  I am a graph geek.  I track every stinking thing I can think to track.  I have graphs that autogenerate 2x a day for the following.  Graphs are strip charts that show trending over time (where time can be zoomed in to the last few hours or zoomed out to a 30 year view.)

Asset Summary: breakdown of cash account totals, stock totals, mutual fund totals, misc asset totals, precious metals totals
Asset Type percentage: same as above expressed in percent
Financial v non-financial: breakdown of financial assets v other (other being house, cars, etc)
Asset Allocation: totals of stock/bond/cash/real estate/metals
Assets v liabilities
Outstanding liability on it's own graph: as assets grow, it can be hard to see actual liability figures on a graph
Retirement v non-retirement: what is in retirement type accounts vs non tax advantaged accounts
Retirement account percentage: same as above expressed in percent
Taxable v non-taxable: sounds sort of the same, but this is the breakdown between tax deferred, tax exempt and taxable. 
Retirement accounts: breakdown of the value of each retirement type account in one graph where you can see comparative values of them
Trading account: breakdown of trading account where you can see comparative values of each stock owned
trading account cost v value: simple chart of the total of cost basis v present value
Vanguard: breakdown of all vanguard funds owned and comparative values of each
Vanguard cost v value: simple chart of VG cost basis v value
Metals: breakdown of metals owned
Metals cost v value: simple chart of metals basis v value
HSA: breakdown of HSA and funds held inside
HSA cost v value
Other stocks/funds: if zoomed out far enough, this was a hodgepodge of stuff I couldn't categorize.  In the present day, everything has been liquidated except some US savings bonds from many years ago
Bank/cash accounts: breakdown of cash accounts.  Includes obvious checking/savings, but also the value of the cash accounts where stocks/funds settle into
Savings breakdown: for cash, we actually have it categorized into various subcategories.  "next car purchase", "stock purchase", "emergency fund", etc.  This used to be more useful than it is now.
Emergency fund: this is a breakdown of how long monies tagged as "emergency fund" would last based on 30day, 90day, 1year and 5 year spending

Fund details...
ROI overview: a huge graph with the ROI of every stock/fund owned
IRR overview: a huge graph with the IRR of every stock/fund owned

Per-stock/fund graphs:
For each stock or fund owned, a strip graph for ROI, a strip graph for IRR and a strip graph for cost vs value.

Income v expense...
Each of these income/expense graphs exists computed on the last 30 days, the last 90 days, the last 365 days and the last 5 years ... so there are 4 sets of income/expense graphs:
Income- active vs passive
Nonsalary income vs expenses - break down of income, expense, 4% withdrawal rate, 3% withdrawal rate -- but only for non-salaried money
Total income vs expenses - same as above but included salaried money.  Post-FIRE these graphs end up showing the same thing, obviously
Savings percentage
Dividends: a stack of dividend amounts for each stock/fund owned
Tracked Expenses: These were the top 5 expenses we had when I started the graph around 2011 side by side for comparison.  I probably should go back and add/delete since some of these were brought way down (and presumably something else popped up).
Level 1 expenses: this is a stack graph showing all level 1 expenses.  (Everything is categorized something like "expenses:Auto:insurance" and "expenses:Taxes:FICA".  "Level 1" means totals for "Auto" and "Taxes" and the other Level 1s.

YTD income expense: this gives a comparison of income, expense, target3%, target4% and target@FIRE.  "Target3%" is a YTD expression of what 3% WR would mean on a given day.  "Target@FIRE" is the expenses at my FIRE date expressed as a YTD amount and run through inflation.

Retirement graphs...  Like income/expense, there are 4 sets of these based on 30day, 90day, 1year and 5 year data:
Time to retirement - very simplified graph of estimated time to retirement based on current expenses and current financial assets.  This was aimed at "time until I hit 4% WR based on expenses"
estimated retirement percentage - very simple again.  Calculation of percentage for the above.  I.e. If I had exactly enough financial assets to cover 25x expenses, it would read 100% on that day.
estimated retirement - similar to above, but not a percentage.  This is just actual financial assets vs  calculated required assets
current withdraw rates - this shows how long the current financial assets would last (in years) based on expenses.  Further breakdown here on amounts in non-retire accounts and retirement accounts
current withdraw rates 3% - same as above but assume 3% compounding interest
current withdraw rates 5% - same as above but assume 5% compounding interest
current withdraw rates 8% - same as above but assume 8% compounding interest
current ratio - this is a graph over time of current ratio of financial assets vs expense.  i.e, 25x expense is the old 4%

FIRECALC/cfiresim graphs
firecalc/cfiresim 365 - gives a firecalc "percent success" for retire now vs 1 more year, 2 more years, ... 8 more years.  Same for cfiresim.  This is based on last 365 days
firecalc/cfiresim 5y - same as above using data from last 5 years
firecalc first fit - runs simulations to figure out "how long until retirement".  This has both 1 year and 5 year data on the same graph.
firecalc required portfolio - runs simulations and graphs the portfolio required based on current expenses.  Graph data for 1 and 5 year data inputs and output from both firecalc and cfiresim
cfiresim spending vs actual - graph of output from cfiresim on "what could I spend a year with current assets" vs actual spending.  Uses both 1 year and 5 year data

Fire expenses vs current - graph of current annual expenses vs annual expenses on FIRE date (with the latter inflation adjusted)
Fire assets vs current - graph of current assets vs assets at FIRE (latter is inflation adjusted)

---

I also present most of the above junk in text form on a web page (visible only on my local network).  I found that I can "see" math-y type things visually (via graphs) and my wife sees them better with actual numbers (table format).

Wow. I think it took more time to type this than I have spent worrying about my networth number since I FIRED.

I'm a nerd.  I know it.

I actually realized yesterday I missed one page of graphs:
* IRA funds availability overview: roth available for withdrawal, traditional available for withdrawal, roth unavailable, traditional unavailable
* IRA funds availability detail: same as above, but breaks it down further into my accounts and spouse's accounts
* IRA funds status detail: ira accounts broken down into  my roth principle, spouse roth principle, my roth conversions, spouse roth conversions, my roth growth, spouse roth growth, my traditional, inherited ira.
* actual withdrawal rates: one graph with 30d, 90d, 365d and 5year computed withdrawal rates plus computed "safe" rate based on expense/stash
* actual withdrawal amounts: same as above but with annualized amounts instead of computed rates plus computed "safe" withdrawal amount


Do you happen to have templates of these ....for community purposes?

catccc

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Re: Personal Financial Metrics - Which Ones Do You Watch?
« Reply #25 on: October 26, 2016, 10:31:01 AM »
Total Net worth, YOY changes.  I want to see that slope in the graph of NW over time getting steeper.

I also look at monthly savings rates, but to Arebelspy's point, there are a lot of month to month inconsistencies.  I use YNAB to track daily spending and use some YNAB categories as sinking funds to even out the bumps, though.

Annual savings actual v. goal for stuff outside of maxed out retirement accounts.

I don't really look at how my investments are performing that much.  Maybe I should.  I mostly just want to make sure I'm socking it away.  I guess I feel like the rate of return is mostly out of my hands.  Lots of indexing going on and target date funds.  I set it and forget, besides occasional rebalancing.


Spitfire

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Re: Personal Financial Metrics - Which Ones Do You Watch?
« Reply #26 on: October 26, 2016, 11:50:39 AM »
Each year I calculate net worth then project the future value of my 401k and taxable account to see when I can retire. Most savings is on autopilot (401k, employee stock purchase, semi-monthly investing to taxable) so I do not track it too closely. If I see my bank account getting high I will invest a lump sum and up the monthly investing.

Dicey

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Re: Personal Financial Metrics - Which Ones Do You Watch?
« Reply #27 on: October 26, 2016, 12:24:15 PM »
Every month I added up the balances of all my assets on a brightly colored post-it note. Then I stuck it on my [home] office wall. Occasionally, I'd rifle through the stack to monitor my progress. As for budgeting, I always worked from the ground up, sort of a variation of zero based budgeting. Basically I tried to game everything to get maximum value, but not living a deprived life. My mortgage was fixed, and I had no other debt, so I basically ignored it. I just focused on increasing my total assets. Pretty low-tech, but it worked.

Fun fact: I met my now DH in 2001 when he painted my house. He noticed my post-it system and was impressed, but never mentioned it. Fast forward a decade or so. I called him to repaint my house and we started chatting. He was now a widower and eventually he asked me out. We fell in love and got married. We just celebrated our fourth anniversary. Together, we've sold four houses, bought four more, done a ton of remodeling and never once argued about money. We had similar net worth when we wed. After he told me he'd noticed my system way back when, I teased him that he married my for my money. Now he says he has a rich wife and I say I have a rich husband. We're both right.

Moral of the story: it's the intent that matters, not the method of tracking you use.

Spork

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Re: Personal Financial Metrics - Which Ones Do You Watch?
« Reply #28 on: October 26, 2016, 03:20:55 PM »

[ deletion for brevity ]

---

I also present most of the above junk in text form on a web page (visible only on my local network).  I found that I can "see" math-y type things visually (via graphs) and my wife sees them better with actual numbers (table format).

Wow. I think it took more time to type this than I have spent worrying about my networth number since I FIRED.

I'm a nerd.  I know it.

I actually realized yesterday I missed one page of graphs:
* IRA funds availability overview: roth available for withdrawal, traditional available for withdrawal, roth unavailable, traditional unavailable
* IRA funds availability detail: same as above, but breaks it down further into my accounts and spouse's accounts
* IRA funds status detail: ira accounts broken down into  my roth principle, spouse roth principle, my roth conversions, spouse roth conversions, my roth growth, spouse roth growth, my traditional, inherited ira.
* actual withdrawal rates: one graph with 30d, 90d, 365d and 5year computed withdrawal rates plus computed "safe" rate based on expense/stash
* actual withdrawal amounts: same as above but with annualized amounts instead of computed rates plus computed "safe" withdrawal amount


Do you happen to have templates of these ....for community purposes?

Hmmm.  It could probably be done with lots of caveats
* this is a gargantuan system built in tiny snippets over many, many years.  I am not entirely sure how well it generalizes
* the way it's built, it requires a server running 24x7.  (I'm a geek and have that anyway).
* as built, requires record keeping to be done via gnucash
* there is a back end process that crunches numbers and makes some raw data that can be read easily.   Graphing is done via Cacti, which was designed to mainly graph networking equipment.  Graphs are updated every 5 minutes (but using data that may have been cached for many hours).   The graphs themselves *can* be exported as templates... but in many cases they wouldn't be usable (unless you might happen to have exactly the same accounts/investments I have).
* what you would end up with is a tool kit that would allow you to build lots of different types of graphs.  It wouldn't be "turnkey".

Spork

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Re: Personal Financial Metrics - Which Ones Do You Watch?
« Reply #29 on: October 26, 2016, 03:27:20 PM »
Pretty much just spending and cashflow. As long as the latter is generally higher than the former, I'm meeting my goals.

I agree.  I could watch net worth, but it fluctuates so much with the market that its hard to follow on any kind of short-term basis.  My spending relative to my income is an early indicator of behaving in a way that will let me reach my goals.  If I miss my savings target for a month I know to adjust behavior right away.

This is where graphs over time are nice.  You see the ups and downs, but ... more than that... you see trends.

arebelspy

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Re: Personal Financial Metrics - Which Ones Do You Watch?
« Reply #30 on: October 26, 2016, 04:24:04 PM »
Every month I added up the balances of all my assets on a brightly colored post-it note. Then I stuck it on my [home] office wall. Occasionally, I'd rifle through the stack to monitor my progress. As for budgeting, I always worked from the ground up, sort of a variation of zero based budgeting. Basically I tried to game everything to get maximum value, but not living a deprived life. My mortgage was fixed, and I had no other debt, so I basically ignored it. I just focused on increasing my total assets. Pretty low-tech, but it worked.

Fun fact: I met my now DH in 2001 when he painted my house. He noticed my post-it system and was impressed, but never mentioned it. Fast forward a decade or so. I called him to repaint my house and we started chatting. He was now a widower and eventually he asked me out. We fell in love and got married. We just celebrated our fourth anniversary. Together, we've sold four houses, bought four more, done a ton of remodeling and never once argued about money. We had similar net worth when we wed. After he told me he'd noticed my system way back when, I teased him that he married my for my money. Now he says he has a rich wife and I say I have a rich husband. We're both right.

Moral of the story: it's the intent that matters, not the method of tracking you use.

I had heard little bits of that from various posts, but not the whole thing.  What a great story!
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with two kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

Bicycle_B

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Re: Personal Financial Metrics - Which Ones Do You Watch?
« Reply #31 on: October 26, 2016, 06:51:47 PM »
I am probably definitely an out-lier.  I am a graph geek.  I track every stinking thing I can think to track.  I have graphs that autogenerate 2x a day for the following.  Graphs are strip charts that show trending over time (where time can be zoomed in to the last few hours or zoomed out to a 30 year view.)

Asset Summary: breakdown of cash account totals, stock totals, mutual fund totals, misc asset totals, precious metals totals
Asset Type percentage: same as above expressed in percent
Financial v non-financial: breakdown of financial assets v other (other being house, cars, etc)
Asset Allocation: totals of stock/bond/cash/real estate/metals
Assets v liabilities
Outstanding liability on it's own graph: as assets grow, it can be hard to see actual liability figures on a graph
Retirement v non-retirement: what is in retirement type accounts vs non tax advantaged accounts
Retirement account percentage: same as above expressed in percent
Taxable v non-taxable: sounds sort of the same, but this is the breakdown between tax deferred, tax exempt and taxable. 
Retirement accounts: breakdown of the value of each retirement type account in one graph where you can see comparative values of them
Trading account: breakdown of trading account where you can see comparative values of each stock owned
trading account cost v value: simple chart of the total of cost basis v present value
Vanguard: breakdown of all vanguard funds owned and comparative values of each
Vanguard cost v value: simple chart of VG cost basis v value
Metals: breakdown of metals owned
Metals cost v value: simple chart of metals basis v value
HSA: breakdown of HSA and funds held inside
HSA cost v value
Other stocks/funds: if zoomed out far enough, this was a hodgepodge of stuff I couldn't categorize.  In the present day, everything has been liquidated except some US savings bonds from many years ago
Bank/cash accounts: breakdown of cash accounts.  Includes obvious checking/savings, but also the value of the cash accounts where stocks/funds settle into
Savings breakdown: for cash, we actually have it categorized into various subcategories.  "next car purchase", "stock purchase", "emergency fund", etc.  This used to be more useful than it is now.
Emergency fund: this is a breakdown of how long monies tagged as "emergency fund" would last based on 30day, 90day, 1year and 5 year spending

Fund details...
ROI overview: a huge graph with the ROI of every stock/fund owned
IRR overview: a huge graph with the IRR of every stock/fund owned

Per-stock/fund graphs:
For each stock or fund owned, a strip graph for ROI, a strip graph for IRR and a strip graph for cost vs value.

Income v expense...
Each of these income/expense graphs exists computed on the last 30 days, the last 90 days, the last 365 days and the last 5 years ... so there are 4 sets of income/expense graphs:
Income- active vs passive
Nonsalary income vs expenses - break down of income, expense, 4% withdrawal rate, 3% withdrawal rate -- but only for non-salaried money
Total income vs expenses - same as above but included salaried money.  Post-FIRE these graphs end up showing the same thing, obviously
Savings percentage
Dividends: a stack of dividend amounts for each stock/fund owned
Tracked Expenses: These were the top 5 expenses we had when I started the graph around 2011 side by side for comparison.  I probably should go back and add/delete since some of these were brought way down (and presumably something else popped up).
Level 1 expenses: this is a stack graph showing all level 1 expenses.  (Everything is categorized something like "expenses:Auto:insurance" and "expenses:Taxes:FICA".  "Level 1" means totals for "Auto" and "Taxes" and the other Level 1s.

YTD income expense: this gives a comparison of income, expense, target3%, target4% and target@FIRE.  "Target3%" is a YTD expression of what 3% WR would mean on a given day.  "Target@FIRE" is the expenses at my FIRE date expressed as a YTD amount and run through inflation.

Retirement graphs...  Like income/expense, there are 4 sets of these based on 30day, 90day, 1year and 5 year data:
Time to retirement - very simplified graph of estimated time to retirement based on current expenses and current financial assets.  This was aimed at "time until I hit 4% WR based on expenses"
estimated retirement percentage - very simple again.  Calculation of percentage for the above.  I.e. If I had exactly enough financial assets to cover 25x expenses, it would read 100% on that day.
estimated retirement - similar to above, but not a percentage.  This is just actual financial assets vs  calculated required assets
current withdraw rates - this shows how long the current financial assets would last (in years) based on expenses.  Further breakdown here on amounts in non-retire accounts and retirement accounts
current withdraw rates 3% - same as above but assume 3% compounding interest
current withdraw rates 5% - same as above but assume 5% compounding interest
current withdraw rates 8% - same as above but assume 8% compounding interest
current ratio - this is a graph over time of current ratio of financial assets vs expense.  i.e, 25x expense is the old 4%

FIRECALC/cfiresim graphs
firecalc/cfiresim 365 - gives a firecalc "percent success" for retire now vs 1 more year, 2 more years, ... 8 more years.  Same for cfiresim.  This is based on last 365 days
firecalc/cfiresim 5y - same as above using data from last 5 years
firecalc first fit - runs simulations to figure out "how long until retirement".  This has both 1 year and 5 year data on the same graph.
firecalc required portfolio - runs simulations and graphs the portfolio required based on current expenses.  Graph data for 1 and 5 year data inputs and output from both firecalc and cfiresim
cfiresim spending vs actual - graph of output from cfiresim on "what could I spend a year with current assets" vs actual spending.  Uses both 1 year and 5 year data

Fire expenses vs current - graph of current annual expenses vs annual expenses on FIRE date (with the latter inflation adjusted)
Fire assets vs current - graph of current assets vs assets at FIRE (latter is inflation adjusted)

---

I also present most of the above junk in text form on a web page (visible only on my local network).  I found that I can "see" math-y type things visually (via graphs) and my wife sees them better with actual numbers (table format).

Wow. I think it took more time to type this than I have spent worrying about my networth number since I FIRED.

I'm a nerd.  I know it.

I actually realized yesterday I missed one page of graphs:
* IRA funds availability overview: roth available for withdrawal, traditional available for withdrawal, roth unavailable, traditional unavailable
* IRA funds availability detail: same as above, but breaks it down further into my accounts and spouse's accounts
* IRA funds status detail: ira accounts broken down into  my roth principle, spouse roth principle, my roth conversions, spouse roth conversions, my roth growth, spouse roth growth, my traditional, inherited ira.
* actual withdrawal rates: one graph with 30d, 90d, 365d and 5year computed withdrawal rates plus computed "safe" rate based on expense/stash
* actual withdrawal amounts: same as above but with annualized amounts instead of computed rates plus computed "safe" withdrawal amount

Spooooorrrk!!!

Metric Mouse

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Re: Personal Financial Metrics - Which Ones Do You Watch?
« Reply #32 on: October 26, 2016, 08:07:26 PM »
I am probably definitely an out-lier.  I am a graph geek.  I track every stinking thing I can think to track.  I have graphs that autogenerate 2x a day for the following.  Graphs are strip charts that show trending over time (where time can be zoomed in to the last few hours or zoomed out to a 30 year view.)

Asset Summary: breakdown of cash account totals, stock totals, mutual fund totals, misc asset totals, precious metals totals
Asset Type percentage: same as above expressed in percent
Financial v non-financial: breakdown of financial assets v other (other being house, cars, etc)
Asset Allocation: totals of stock/bond/cash/real estate/metals
Assets v liabilities
Outstanding liability on it's own graph: as assets grow, it can be hard to see actual liability figures on a graph
Retirement v non-retirement: what is in retirement type accounts vs non tax advantaged accounts
Retirement account percentage: same as above expressed in percent
Taxable v non-taxable: sounds sort of the same, but this is the breakdown between tax deferred, tax exempt and taxable. 
Retirement accounts: breakdown of the value of each retirement type account in one graph where you can see comparative values of them
Trading account: breakdown of trading account where you can see comparative values of each stock owned
trading account cost v value: simple chart of the total of cost basis v present value
Vanguard: breakdown of all vanguard funds owned and comparative values of each
Vanguard cost v value: simple chart of VG cost basis v value
Metals: breakdown of metals owned
Metals cost v value: simple chart of metals basis v value
HSA: breakdown of HSA and funds held inside
HSA cost v value
Other stocks/funds: if zoomed out far enough, this was a hodgepodge of stuff I couldn't categorize.  In the present day, everything has been liquidated except some US savings bonds from many years ago
Bank/cash accounts: breakdown of cash accounts.  Includes obvious checking/savings, but also the value of the cash accounts where stocks/funds settle into
Savings breakdown: for cash, we actually have it categorized into various subcategories.  "next car purchase", "stock purchase", "emergency fund", etc.  This used to be more useful than it is now.
Emergency fund: this is a breakdown of how long monies tagged as "emergency fund" would last based on 30day, 90day, 1year and 5 year spending

Fund details...
ROI overview: a huge graph with the ROI of every stock/fund owned
IRR overview: a huge graph with the IRR of every stock/fund owned

Per-stock/fund graphs:
For each stock or fund owned, a strip graph for ROI, a strip graph for IRR and a strip graph for cost vs value.

Income v expense...
Each of these income/expense graphs exists computed on the last 30 days, the last 90 days, the last 365 days and the last 5 years ... so there are 4 sets of income/expense graphs:
Income- active vs passive
Nonsalary income vs expenses - break down of income, expense, 4% withdrawal rate, 3% withdrawal rate -- but only for non-salaried money
Total income vs expenses - same as above but included salaried money.  Post-FIRE these graphs end up showing the same thing, obviously
Savings percentage
Dividends: a stack of dividend amounts for each stock/fund owned
Tracked Expenses: These were the top 5 expenses we had when I started the graph around 2011 side by side for comparison.  I probably should go back and add/delete since some of these were brought way down (and presumably something else popped up).
Level 1 expenses: this is a stack graph showing all level 1 expenses.  (Everything is categorized something like "expenses:Auto:insurance" and "expenses:Taxes:FICA".  "Level 1" means totals for "Auto" and "Taxes" and the other Level 1s.

YTD income expense: this gives a comparison of income, expense, target3%, target4% and target@FIRE.  "Target3%" is a YTD expression of what 3% WR would mean on a given day.  "Target@FIRE" is the expenses at my FIRE date expressed as a YTD amount and run through inflation.

Retirement graphs...  Like income/expense, there are 4 sets of these based on 30day, 90day, 1year and 5 year data:
Time to retirement - very simplified graph of estimated time to retirement based on current expenses and current financial assets.  This was aimed at "time until I hit 4% WR based on expenses"
estimated retirement percentage - very simple again.  Calculation of percentage for the above.  I.e. If I had exactly enough financial assets to cover 25x expenses, it would read 100% on that day.
estimated retirement - similar to above, but not a percentage.  This is just actual financial assets vs  calculated required assets
current withdraw rates - this shows how long the current financial assets would last (in years) based on expenses.  Further breakdown here on amounts in non-retire accounts and retirement accounts
current withdraw rates 3% - same as above but assume 3% compounding interest
current withdraw rates 5% - same as above but assume 5% compounding interest
current withdraw rates 8% - same as above but assume 8% compounding interest
current ratio - this is a graph over time of current ratio of financial assets vs expense.  i.e, 25x expense is the old 4%

FIRECALC/cfiresim graphs
firecalc/cfiresim 365 - gives a firecalc "percent success" for retire now vs 1 more year, 2 more years, ... 8 more years.  Same for cfiresim.  This is based on last 365 days
firecalc/cfiresim 5y - same as above using data from last 5 years
firecalc first fit - runs simulations to figure out "how long until retirement".  This has both 1 year and 5 year data on the same graph.
firecalc required portfolio - runs simulations and graphs the portfolio required based on current expenses.  Graph data for 1 and 5 year data inputs and output from both firecalc and cfiresim
cfiresim spending vs actual - graph of output from cfiresim on "what could I spend a year with current assets" vs actual spending.  Uses both 1 year and 5 year data

Fire expenses vs current - graph of current annual expenses vs annual expenses on FIRE date (with the latter inflation adjusted)
Fire assets vs current - graph of current assets vs assets at FIRE (latter is inflation adjusted)

---

I also present most of the above junk in text form on a web page (visible only on my local network).  I found that I can "see" math-y type things visually (via graphs) and my wife sees them better with actual numbers (table format).

Wow. I think it took more time to type this than I have spent worrying about my networth number since I FIRED.

I'm a nerd.  I know it.

I actually realized yesterday I missed one page of graphs:
* IRA funds availability overview: roth available for withdrawal, traditional available for withdrawal, roth unavailable, traditional unavailable
* IRA funds availability detail: same as above, but breaks it down further into my accounts and spouse's accounts
* IRA funds status detail: ira accounts broken down into  my roth principle, spouse roth principle, my roth conversions, spouse roth conversions, my roth growth, spouse roth growth, my traditional, inherited ira.
* actual withdrawal rates: one graph with 30d, 90d, 365d and 5year computed withdrawal rates plus computed "safe" rate based on expense/stash
* actual withdrawal amounts: same as above but with annualized amounts instead of computed rates plus computed "safe" withdrawal amount

I'm beginning to feel (more) inadequate. Maybe I'll start graphing the trend of the 'stache o'cash in my sock drawer just to make me feel better.

dogboyslim

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Re: Personal Financial Metrics - Which Ones Do You Watch?
« Reply #33 on: October 27, 2016, 12:50:41 PM »

But don't you miss it all the time for reasons not related to needing to adjust behavior at all?  E.g. one month you have to pay your annual insurance premiums, so you miss it, one month a car repair makes you miss it, one month paying for an annual vacation, etc. So you miss it a fair amount, but make it even more, so overall for the year you end up making or exceeding your goal, based on an average?

I'd think if you're trying to adjust your behavior every time you miss, you may be unnecessarily analyzing your behavior when it isn't at fault... And if you're hitting it every month, your goal may be too low.

As to net worth, I know what it is, but it isn't what's driving me forward.  If anything its more likely to make me say "Huh, we can afford it" and blow a ton of money on something stupid.  I don't want to track it too regularly.

I don't miss the savings goals due to large periodic expenses.  I know that property taxes are going to run me about 7k a year so I put $590 a month aside to cover it.  Same with my insurance.  I view these all as monthly expenses even though they only take place annually.  I accumulate money for car replacements, vacations etc.  All these are in my monthly expense category and I fund them monthly.  When I actually spend that larger amount, I don't consider it a spending miss as you described it above because the money was sitting there waiting to be used for that purpose.  After accounting for these and other expenses, I set a savings target.  The savings money gets pulled off the top, then the periodic expenses are funded, then the rest.  If I run into shortfalls in "the rest" THAT's when I consider myself to have missed.  It is usually over-buying clothes, bikes, or eating out too often.  That's what I meant by altering behavior.  In months where "the rest" has money left over, we put it into our savings category for the next month.

You are correct that our savings goal could be larger.  I guess we are comfortable with the time it will take us to get to FIRE and don't want to sacrifice more to make that date come sooner.
« Last Edit: October 27, 2016, 12:55:02 PM by dogboyslim »

Heroes821

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Re: Personal Financial Metrics - Which Ones Do You Watch?
« Reply #34 on: October 27, 2016, 01:57:03 PM »

[ deletion for brevity ]

---

I also present most of the above junk in text form on a web page (visible only on my local network).  I found that I can "see" math-y type things visually (via graphs) and my wife sees them better with actual numbers (table format).

Wow. I think it took more time to type this than I have spent worrying about my networth number since I FIRED.

I'm a nerd.  I know it.

I actually realized yesterday I missed one page of graphs:
* IRA funds availability overview: roth available for withdrawal, traditional available for withdrawal, roth unavailable, traditional unavailable
* IRA funds availability detail: same as above, but breaks it down further into my accounts and spouse's accounts
* IRA funds status detail: ira accounts broken down into  my roth principle, spouse roth principle, my roth conversions, spouse roth conversions, my roth growth, spouse roth growth, my traditional, inherited ira.
* actual withdrawal rates: one graph with 30d, 90d, 365d and 5year computed withdrawal rates plus computed "safe" rate based on expense/stash
* actual withdrawal amounts: same as above but with annualized amounts instead of computed rates plus computed "safe" withdrawal amount


Do you happen to have templates of these ....for community purposes?

Hmmm.  It could probably be done with lots of caveats
* this is a gargantuan system built in tiny snippets over many, many years.  I am not entirely sure how well it generalizes
* the way it's built, it requires a server running 24x7.  (I'm a geek and have that anyway).
* as built, requires record keeping to be done via gnucash
* there is a back end process that crunches numbers and makes some raw data that can be read easily.   Graphing is done via Cacti, which was designed to mainly graph networking equipment.  Graphs are updated every 5 minutes (but using data that may have been cached for many hours).   The graphs themselves *can* be exported as templates... but in many cases they wouldn't be usable (unless you might happen to have exactly the same accounts/investments I have).
* what you would end up with is a tool kit that would allow you to build lots of different types of graphs.  It wouldn't be "turnkey".

That is highly impressive man.  I could probably spin up the server no issue, but the rest sounds like a lot of time and energy to just kick off.  I'm in the process of testing YNAB  at the moment, but I appreciate the reply

stoaX

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Re: Personal Financial Metrics - Which Ones Do You Watch?
« Reply #35 on: October 27, 2016, 02:04:10 PM »
I am probably definitely an out-lier.  I am a graph geek.  I track every stinking thing I can think to track.  I have graphs that autogenerate 2x a day for the following.  Graphs are strip charts that show trending over time (where time can be zoomed in to the last few hours or zoomed out to a 30 year view.)

Asset Summary: breakdown of cash account totals, stock totals, mutual fund totals, misc asset totals, precious metals totals
Asset Type percentage: same as above expressed in percent
Financial v non-financial: breakdown of financial assets v other (other being house, cars, etc)
Asset Allocation: totals of stock/bond/cash/real estate/metals
Assets v liabilities
Outstanding liability on it's own graph: as assets grow, it can be hard to see actual liability figures on a graph
Retirement v non-retirement: what is in retirement type accounts vs non tax advantaged accounts
Retirement account percentage: same as above expressed in percent
Taxable v non-taxable: sounds sort of the same, but this is the breakdown between tax deferred, tax exempt and taxable. 
Retirement accounts: breakdown of the value of each retirement type account in one graph where you can see comparative values of them
Trading account: breakdown of trading account where you can see comparative values of each stock owned
trading account cost v value: simple chart of the total of cost basis v present value
Vanguard: breakdown of all vanguard funds owned and comparative values of each
Vanguard cost v value: simple chart of VG cost basis v value
Metals: breakdown of metals owned
Metals cost v value: simple chart of metals basis v value
HSA: breakdown of HSA and funds held inside
HSA cost v value
Other stocks/funds: if zoomed out far enough, this was a hodgepodge of stuff I couldn't categorize.  In the present day, everything has been liquidated except some US savings bonds from many years ago
Bank/cash accounts: breakdown of cash accounts.  Includes obvious checking/savings, but also the value of the cash accounts where stocks/funds settle into
Savings breakdown: for cash, we actually have it categorized into various subcategories.  "next car purchase", "stock purchase", "emergency fund", etc.  This used to be more useful than it is now.
Emergency fund: this is a breakdown of how long monies tagged as "emergency fund" would last based on 30day, 90day, 1year and 5 year spending

Fund details...
ROI overview: a huge graph with the ROI of every stock/fund owned
IRR overview: a huge graph with the IRR of every stock/fund owned

Per-stock/fund graphs:
For each stock or fund owned, a strip graph for ROI, a strip graph for IRR and a strip graph for cost vs value.

Income v expense...
Each of these income/expense graphs exists computed on the last 30 days, the last 90 days, the last 365 days and the last 5 years ... so there are 4 sets of income/expense graphs:
Income- active vs passive
Nonsalary income vs expenses - break down of income, expense, 4% withdrawal rate, 3% withdrawal rate -- but only for non-salaried money
Total income vs expenses - same as above but included salaried money.  Post-FIRE these graphs end up showing the same thing, obviously
Savings percentage
Dividends: a stack of dividend amounts for each stock/fund owned
Tracked Expenses: These were the top 5 expenses we had when I started the graph around 2011 side by side for comparison.  I probably should go back and add/delete since some of these were brought way down (and presumably something else popped up).
Level 1 expenses: this is a stack graph showing all level 1 expenses.  (Everything is categorized something like "expenses:Auto:insurance" and "expenses:Taxes:FICA".  "Level 1" means totals for "Auto" and "Taxes" and the other Level 1s.

YTD income expense: this gives a comparison of income, expense, target3%, target4% and target@FIRE.  "Target3%" is a YTD expression of what 3% WR would mean on a given day.  "Target@FIRE" is the expenses at my FIRE date expressed as a YTD amount and run through inflation.

Retirement graphs...  Like income/expense, there are 4 sets of these based on 30day, 90day, 1year and 5 year data:
Time to retirement - very simplified graph of estimated time to retirement based on current expenses and current financial assets.  This was aimed at "time until I hit 4% WR based on expenses"
estimated retirement percentage - very simple again.  Calculation of percentage for the above.  I.e. If I had exactly enough financial assets to cover 25x expenses, it would read 100% on that day.
estimated retirement - similar to above, but not a percentage.  This is just actual financial assets vs  calculated required assets
current withdraw rates - this shows how long the current financial assets would last (in years) based on expenses.  Further breakdown here on amounts in non-retire accounts and retirement accounts
current withdraw rates 3% - same as above but assume 3% compounding interest
current withdraw rates 5% - same as above but assume 5% compounding interest
current withdraw rates 8% - same as above but assume 8% compounding interest
current ratio - this is a graph over time of current ratio of financial assets vs expense.  i.e, 25x expense is the old 4%

FIRECALC/cfiresim graphs
firecalc/cfiresim 365 - gives a firecalc "percent success" for retire now vs 1 more year, 2 more years, ... 8 more years.  Same for cfiresim.  This is based on last 365 days
firecalc/cfiresim 5y - same as above using data from last 5 years
firecalc first fit - runs simulations to figure out "how long until retirement".  This has both 1 year and 5 year data on the same graph.
firecalc required portfolio - runs simulations and graphs the portfolio required based on current expenses.  Graph data for 1 and 5 year data inputs and output from both firecalc and cfiresim
cfiresim spending vs actual - graph of output from cfiresim on "what could I spend a year with current assets" vs actual spending.  Uses both 1 year and 5 year data

Fire expenses vs current - graph of current annual expenses vs annual expenses on FIRE date (with the latter inflation adjusted)
Fire assets vs current - graph of current assets vs assets at FIRE (latter is inflation adjusted)

---

I also present most of the above junk in text form on a web page (visible only on my local network).  I found that I can "see" math-y type things visually (via graphs) and my wife sees them better with actual numbers (table format).

Wow. I think it took more time to type this than I have spent worrying about my networth number since I FIRED.

I'm a nerd.  I know it.

I actually realized yesterday I missed one page of graphs:
* IRA funds availability overview: roth available for withdrawal, traditional available for withdrawal, roth unavailable, traditional unavailable
* IRA funds availability detail: same as above, but breaks it down further into my accounts and spouse's accounts
* IRA funds status detail: ira accounts broken down into  my roth principle, spouse roth principle, my roth conversions, spouse roth conversions, my roth growth, spouse roth growth, my traditional, inherited ira.
* actual withdrawal rates: one graph with 30d, 90d, 365d and 5year computed withdrawal rates plus computed "safe" rate based on expense/stash
* actual withdrawal amounts: same as above but with annualized amounts instead of computed rates plus computed "safe" withdrawal amount

Spooooorrrk!!!

I am in awe as well and Spork is now my hero.  Although it might be easier to keep on working compared to doing all this. 

Spork

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Re: Personal Financial Metrics - Which Ones Do You Watch?
« Reply #36 on: October 27, 2016, 04:01:42 PM »
I am probably definitely an out-lier.  I am a graph geek.  I track every stinking thing I can think to track.  I have graphs that autogenerate 2x a day for the following.  Graphs are strip charts that show trending over time (where time can be zoomed in to the last few hours or zoomed out to a 30 year view.)

Asset Summary: breakdown of cash account totals, stock totals, mutual fund totals, misc asset totals, precious metals totals
Asset Type percentage: same as above expressed in percent
Financial v non-financial: breakdown of financial assets v other (other being house, cars, etc)
Asset Allocation: totals of stock/bond/cash/real estate/metals
Assets v liabilities
Outstanding liability on it's own graph: as assets grow, it can be hard to see actual liability figures on a graph
Retirement v non-retirement: what is in retirement type accounts vs non tax advantaged accounts
Retirement account percentage: same as above expressed in percent
Taxable v non-taxable: sounds sort of the same, but this is the breakdown between tax deferred, tax exempt and taxable. 
Retirement accounts: breakdown of the value of each retirement type account in one graph where you can see comparative values of them
Trading account: breakdown of trading account where you can see comparative values of each stock owned
trading account cost v value: simple chart of the total of cost basis v present value
Vanguard: breakdown of all vanguard funds owned and comparative values of each
Vanguard cost v value: simple chart of VG cost basis v value
Metals: breakdown of metals owned
Metals cost v value: simple chart of metals basis v value
HSA: breakdown of HSA and funds held inside
HSA cost v value
Other stocks/funds: if zoomed out far enough, this was a hodgepodge of stuff I couldn't categorize.  In the present day, everything has been liquidated except some US savings bonds from many years ago
Bank/cash accounts: breakdown of cash accounts.  Includes obvious checking/savings, but also the value of the cash accounts where stocks/funds settle into
Savings breakdown: for cash, we actually have it categorized into various subcategories.  "next car purchase", "stock purchase", "emergency fund", etc.  This used to be more useful than it is now.
Emergency fund: this is a breakdown of how long monies tagged as "emergency fund" would last based on 30day, 90day, 1year and 5 year spending

Fund details...
ROI overview: a huge graph with the ROI of every stock/fund owned
IRR overview: a huge graph with the IRR of every stock/fund owned

Per-stock/fund graphs:
For each stock or fund owned, a strip graph for ROI, a strip graph for IRR and a strip graph for cost vs value.

Income v expense...
Each of these income/expense graphs exists computed on the last 30 days, the last 90 days, the last 365 days and the last 5 years ... so there are 4 sets of income/expense graphs:
Income- active vs passive
Nonsalary income vs expenses - break down of income, expense, 4% withdrawal rate, 3% withdrawal rate -- but only for non-salaried money
Total income vs expenses - same as above but included salaried money.  Post-FIRE these graphs end up showing the same thing, obviously
Savings percentage
Dividends: a stack of dividend amounts for each stock/fund owned
Tracked Expenses: These were the top 5 expenses we had when I started the graph around 2011 side by side for comparison.  I probably should go back and add/delete since some of these were brought way down (and presumably something else popped up).
Level 1 expenses: this is a stack graph showing all level 1 expenses.  (Everything is categorized something like "expenses:Auto:insurance" and "expenses:Taxes:FICA".  "Level 1" means totals for "Auto" and "Taxes" and the other Level 1s.

YTD income expense: this gives a comparison of income, expense, target3%, target4% and target@FIRE.  "Target3%" is a YTD expression of what 3% WR would mean on a given day.  "Target@FIRE" is the expenses at my FIRE date expressed as a YTD amount and run through inflation.

Retirement graphs...  Like income/expense, there are 4 sets of these based on 30day, 90day, 1year and 5 year data:
Time to retirement - very simplified graph of estimated time to retirement based on current expenses and current financial assets.  This was aimed at "time until I hit 4% WR based on expenses"
estimated retirement percentage - very simple again.  Calculation of percentage for the above.  I.e. If I had exactly enough financial assets to cover 25x expenses, it would read 100% on that day.
estimated retirement - similar to above, but not a percentage.  This is just actual financial assets vs  calculated required assets
current withdraw rates - this shows how long the current financial assets would last (in years) based on expenses.  Further breakdown here on amounts in non-retire accounts and retirement accounts
current withdraw rates 3% - same as above but assume 3% compounding interest
current withdraw rates 5% - same as above but assume 5% compounding interest
current withdraw rates 8% - same as above but assume 8% compounding interest
current ratio - this is a graph over time of current ratio of financial assets vs expense.  i.e, 25x expense is the old 4%

FIRECALC/cfiresim graphs
firecalc/cfiresim 365 - gives a firecalc "percent success" for retire now vs 1 more year, 2 more years, ... 8 more years.  Same for cfiresim.  This is based on last 365 days
firecalc/cfiresim 5y - same as above using data from last 5 years
firecalc first fit - runs simulations to figure out "how long until retirement".  This has both 1 year and 5 year data on the same graph.
firecalc required portfolio - runs simulations and graphs the portfolio required based on current expenses.  Graph data for 1 and 5 year data inputs and output from both firecalc and cfiresim
cfiresim spending vs actual - graph of output from cfiresim on "what could I spend a year with current assets" vs actual spending.  Uses both 1 year and 5 year data

Fire expenses vs current - graph of current annual expenses vs annual expenses on FIRE date (with the latter inflation adjusted)
Fire assets vs current - graph of current assets vs assets at FIRE (latter is inflation adjusted)

---

I also present most of the above junk in text form on a web page (visible only on my local network).  I found that I can "see" math-y type things visually (via graphs) and my wife sees them better with actual numbers (table format).

Wow. I think it took more time to type this than I have spent worrying about my networth number since I FIRED.

I'm a nerd.  I know it.

I actually realized yesterday I missed one page of graphs:
* IRA funds availability overview: roth available for withdrawal, traditional available for withdrawal, roth unavailable, traditional unavailable
* IRA funds availability detail: same as above, but breaks it down further into my accounts and spouse's accounts
* IRA funds status detail: ira accounts broken down into  my roth principle, spouse roth principle, my roth conversions, spouse roth conversions, my roth growth, spouse roth growth, my traditional, inherited ira.
* actual withdrawal rates: one graph with 30d, 90d, 365d and 5year computed withdrawal rates plus computed "safe" rate based on expense/stash
* actual withdrawal amounts: same as above but with annualized amounts instead of computed rates plus computed "safe" withdrawal amount

Spooooorrrk!!!

I am in awe as well and Spork is now my hero.  Although it might be easier to keep on working compared to doing all this.

Yeah.  But nerds do what nerds do.

This started when we moved all our finances to gnucash about (guessing) 18 years ago.   I like/need visualizations... and gnucash is lacking in that area.  It started with one or two graphs... and grew...  and grew...   The backend got totally rewritten at least once, but it's a real ugly pile of spaghetti.  I remember when I first wrote it, my server was a 166mhz POS that work had thrown out.  Parsing gnucash data used to take 35 minutes.  With tons more complexity/functionality and tons more transactions -- it takes about a minute now.  (There was a time when it was about 30 seconds... but... yeah, lots of crap was added.)

JustGettingStarted1980

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Re: Personal Financial Metrics - Which Ones Do You Watch?
« Reply #37 on: October 27, 2016, 08:43:01 PM »
 OK Spork, you won the thread