Mr Zombie   February 18, 2015   13 Comments on Book1.xlsx

At work the mind can often wander.  Sat at my desk, supping on a tea, it can find tangents upon tangents within a trail of thinly linked ideas.  And as of late this quite frequently follows the path towards thoughts of Financial Independence and all the wondrous things that orbit about it.  Thoughts of the endless choices of asset allocation.  Of the growth portion and of the defensive portion.  Of endless passive income being churned out from some huge financial nugget, like radiation being emitted from a black hole.  Of days waking up and doing nothing but drinking tea, yet going to bed better off as my money has been beavering away for me all day.  Of reaching that moment when the income your investments are generating cover your expenses completely.

Not being an arty type, these work-dreams don’t lead to a flurry of painting/sculpting or a burst of improvised thrash metal on the Oboe.  They tend to manifest themselves as the ever temporary spreadsheet named ‘Book1.xlsx’.  I feel that I have done some of my finest pondering in ‘Book1.xlsx’, before murdering it with a click of the “Don’t Save” button.

‘Book1.xlsx’ can contain many brilliant things.  Projections towards Financial Independence.  Wizard-like asset allocations.  Incredible savings rates.  Severely dedicated back testing.  Some down right smashing stress testing.  If my mind has really wandered some Black Scholes valuations of my share options.

Why, with the swift change of a hard coded assumption and a simple click of the F9 key I can accelerate Financial Independence forward by years, as my funds grow at an incredible 20% per annum,  Consistently.

‘Book1.xlsx’ can make my Share Options worth tens of thousands of pounds or my expenses shrink to tiny amounts that even the FrugalWoods would be proud of.  The ‘Book1.xlsx’ Mr Z has even been known to have negative expenses, such the maverick that he is.

It would seem that ‘Book1.xlsx’ is as powerful as any Middle Earth sorcerer,

Every now and then a Finance Zombie will shuffle by and have a look at your screen.  If you have been careful in the set up of ‘Book1.xlsx’ it can look just like a piece of work, other wise, ninja quick, you ALT-TAB back to a blank ‘Book2.xlsx’ and stroke your beard thoughtfully until they creep off.

When is pondering more than pondering
The thing is, this seemingly mindless hacking away at spreadsheets does serve a purpose for me.  Not only is it a brief break from work but it acts as a source of motivation.  It helps bring saving and investing strategies to life.  It helps to visualise my path towards Financial Independence.  It helps keep me on track.

I have a terrible skill, I read reading things, understand them and then forget them the moment I look away from the book/website/blog.  By mucking about with concepts in ”Book1.xlsx’ it helps to concrete ideas in my tiny mind.  It took me AGES to click with the concept that by spending less now you are reducing the amount you need to live off in the future and therefore need to accumulate (I would only focus on the increased savings rate as a result of decreasing spending).

In truth, I have more than enough spreadsheets at home, detailing my actual asset allocation, Net Worth, savings rate and all manner of other things.  These spreadsheet dreams at work are merely ways of topping up motivation.

After all, looking for Financial Independence is definitely seeking out the path less trodden.  Living from paycheck to paycheck is what general western society seems happy to do, spending each payrise on upgrading your house, car or wardrobe.  Anything different is going to be hard work, like convincing Ms Z that listening to heavy metal with your breakfast is a good idea, so I will take any little boost to motivation where I can.

To finish, some lyrics from “The Unholy Hand” by “The Bronx”.  Let’s hope they are motivating for those of us that are actively seeking freedom from this cycle;

They got you working on the weekdays
They got you working on the weekends too
And now you’re swallowing your paycheck
Like it’s what you always dreamed you’d do
When you look into the mirror
Does your fate get any clearer?
Are you hanging on your last hope

When you look under the microscope?

Spend Less, Save More & Escape the Horde

Mr Z

13 thoughts on “Book1.xlsx

  1. weenie

    Haha, I use mostly Google docs now so I can work on them both at home and at work. As they're all pretty simple looking, they do just look like my work spreadsheets so even if my boss is at my shoulder (and he often is, since I sit right next to him), he just sees a load of numbers I'm tinkering on so doesn't ask what I'm doing!

  2. Robert @ DivSaver

    This is great. "Mr.Z you are due for a raise, with all of your hard work analyzing those numbers every day."

    I've been known to daydream at the office but mine consists of handwritten to-do lists, some 5+ years out… I tuck them stealthily behind legitimate work notes.


  3. Cerridwen

    This is so funny :-), and spot on too – especially about how tying down the numbers (and dates) is a very powerful motivator towards FI. I love to tinker with my google spreadsheets almost as much as I love playing with the compound interest calculators at Motley Fool.

    Thanks for a very entertaining Sat morning read. 🙂

  4. Mrs. Frugalwoods

    Love it. We tinker with our FI spreadsheets all the time too. And, we have them in google docs so we can share them with each other, etc.

    I agree with you–seeing the cold, hard numbers is indeed incredibly motivating. Also, this is hilarious: "back to a blank 'Book2.xlsx' and stroke your beard thoughtfully until they creep off."

  5. ermine

    I learned most of the basics of FI while at work. Can't think of a better place to do it!

    I'm with Ms Z. Mornings are hard enough as they are – heavy metal at breakfast is a little bit too much additional jump-start!

  6. No More Waffles


    Very recognisable! I constantly do weird FI calculations in Excel – although not at work as I don't really have the time there. Don't want to know how many unsaved Book1.xlsx files there exist in a parallel universe where I did click on save. 🙂


  7. Mr Zombie

    Haha, that would be great. "I've seen you scratching your head to some pretty impressively complex workbooks Mr Z. Have a promotion".

    It does tend to be when it's not busy…so it's not all the time 🙂

  8. Mr Zombie

    Thanks! 🙂

    Yeah, I love a good tinker with a spreadsheet. Admittedly it ends up far more complicated than needed and I don't save it. But you learn a good amounth about the dark arts of FI like this.

  9. Mr Zombie

    Hello Mrs FW. I need to have a proper play around with google docs. Everynow and then I create something truly beautiful and have to email book1 to myself.

    Haha – yep! There has been some close calls.

  10. Tawcan

    I used mostly Google Spreadsheet for personal finance tracking but I do use MS Spreadsheet for more personal stuff. I'm just working on a FI calculation spreadsheet, hoping to share with the world soon.


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