How much are you worth?

Financially speaking, knowing your net worth is a vital life statistic that can drive many life decisions. In my opinion, our education system requires more early financial training starting in high school as students are entering the workforce and earning income. For myself, part of the reason I selected Economics as my undergraduate was because I knew I did not understand the world of finance and wanted to learn more. In my studies, I’m glad I discovered the two major forces that guide us in the world today are gravity and compound interest. Now that I have a son in college, I have encouraged him to invest his intern money wisely and, at the age of 18, already has contributed to a Roth retirement savings account. I recommend you look into a Roth investment account if not doing so already doing.

A Net Worth statement compels you to become more organized with your financial data. The spreadsheet I am sharing with you provides the major categories to determine your financial worth. It is organized as a standard balance sheet with the necessary assets and liability categories to help you understand your current financial standing. The beauty of using Excel is that it is dynamic, flexible, and you can perform what if scenarios to help you plan your goals. I recommend adding more information on the file than the minimum listed, you can add easily helpful notes to adjacent to your financial information. Excel provides more options to provide additional information to your net worth statement then other financial software such as Quicken or other online options.

Personally, I enter supplemental information on each row of data, such as the account home website of the financial data, to quickly access the sign-in page while updating my Net Worth statement. I typically update a minimum of once per year or if a major financial change occurs such as buying a major investment, selling a home etc. I always keep my passwords located in a separate document. I encourage you to password protect your Excel Net Worth Statement file.

A brief topic I mention in the video below is the 4% retirement withdrawal rule created by William Bengen. Here is a video link if you would like to see a recent interview with him link. Mr. Bengen is recognized for this broadly discussed and controversial retirement 4% withdraw guide. Watching the interview you’ll discover he provides deep insights into retirement planning and that he is generally a good person with financial knowledge who tries to help others in life.

My overview of a Net Worth Statement to help you Plan your Plan

Excel Template to download

Learn from the Best!

Online learning is now an increasingly valuable and accepted means of education.  The pandemic accelerated the transition to online learning. It has also improved the technology and promoted the creation of highly digestible educational content and edutainment. I find myself watching far more informative videos on YouTube than watching any news program (although most news programs are available online).

In order to keep your business presentation skills sharp, you’ll want to routinely check-in with the best websites and YouTubers that present latest updates and features of your favorite software. For myself, anytime I need to understand a feature in PowerPoint or attempt a new formula in Excel, I immediately go to YouTube; I simply don’t bother with the in-program help option.

Today, I’m offering three best in class resources relating to Microsoft programs we use everyday. The first recommendation is . This site truly offers free PowerPoint templates to download. Many sites claim to offer free downloads; but often it’s some program and there is a hidden fee. Showeet provides a remarkable range of variety for it’s downloads – just be sure to click on the download button because there are a few cleverly ad buttons.

The next recommendation is Leila Gharani’s YouTube site (link). She is approaching one million subscribers and provides consistent and effective videos across the Microsoft platform. It’s my goto site where I will search an Excel or PowerPoint topic because I know her video will quickly answer my questions. She provides timestamps to navigate to a specific topic within her videos.

The third recommendation is Kevin Stratvert (link). He formerly worked for Microsoft and produced numerous official Microsoft product launch videos. He has branched out on his own and now covers more topics in various software. I really enjoy the selection of content, his style, and delivery of the concepts. As an overall tip, I often watch all of my YouTube videos at 1.5X speed since I try to cover as many videos as possible, given my limited available viewing time.

I hope you consider downloading templates from Showeet and watch a few videos from Leila and Kevin.

Animated Gifs for Your Social Media from PowerPoint

PowerPoint is the business standard to make an official presentation. Many presentations use default templates and fade transition between slides – which I would evaluate as using the most minimal effort to get the job done. The newer software versions now have impressive tools to add 3D model graphics and morphing transitions to perk your standard presentation. Your audience will appreciate your effort to make a report more exciting and engaging.

The 3D models provide a new dimension to your presentation to better maintain attention and demonstrate your proficiency and skill. There is a large stock selection of 3D models already loaded into your software. Beyond the stock library, many sites provide additional free 3D models by aspiring artists that only require a quick Google search.

I am sharing the basics to inspire your interest in what you can create with the relatively new presentation features. While you watch the video, consider transitioning graphics with additional text that appropriately enters your slide to emphasize your message.

When learning a new option in PowerPoint, be careful not to abuse the feature with overuse, but rather add it as a new small extra element to sustain your audience’s interest.

Saving a PowerPoint file as an animated gif feature does not require 3D objects or the morphing transition. At the end of the video, I showcase basic PowerPoint presentations that are saved as animated gifs. It is helpful to express your message with animated gifs since you can chronologically focus your audience’s attention.

You can make a 3D Animated Gif – Oh, Yes you can!

One aspect of planning includes making your final report or presentation interesting. The latest software versions are becoming more user-friendly can facilitate your creativity and innovation to create more clever and engaging graphics.

One of the most fundamental software programs in Windows 10 has added a
noteworthy feature to make 3D objects. Plus, it provides an option to save the
3D object with automation as a video file, including a GIF.

This feature will allow your imagination to soar!.

Once you create your animated 3D Gif, you’ll be able to use it in any Microsoft program. This includes PowerPoint, Word, Excel, or you could paste it into any of your social media sites since it treats the file like any other graphic

The 3D animated feature opens up a new world to express your lackluster graphics with more energy and excitement. Any of your photos can be applied as “stickers” to a 3D object shape. This feature allows you to express yourself in a more spirited means than static words or images

I hope you try it and have some fun.

Here is the sample from the video

You’ll notice I use many examples from my Executive MBA program from the University of Nevada, Reno. While I had many of my Microsoft and other software skills entering the program, the online master’s course (ranked in the top 50 programs in the nation) helped me focus and improve my reporting. UNR EMBA program.

Complex Decision Making – Best Solution

Excel is a powerful decision-making tool that is best used for “What If Scenarios” regarding complex financial models. It can also be used for challenging complex strategic decisions with numerous factors. Often there are too many variables to consider without some help from Excel.

When tasked to present the best assessment for a business challenge, a narrative overview helps frame the topic. However, a detailed decision ranking analysis carries more weight due to some meaningful thought surrounding the variables selected to attain your recommendation. In my experience, I’ve attended meetings where many business leaders present their recommendations from their experience with anecdotes, using unrelated examples of prior decisions that often represent an unsubstantiated viewpoint than a true analysis. When faced with a complex and expensive business decision, I use an Excel-based workbook to detail the key variables and consider each variable on its standing. Frequently the variables within the assessment will be subjective. However, I apply all of my knowledge, experience, and research into a variable score to develop the best proposal.

The video below uses a basic Excel file to list the ranking variables and choices in a one-page format. The variable lists can vary from a few to over thirty assessment criteria. My examples use a typical contractor selection approach, a building or land purchase review, and a personal decision workbook that helped my son determine his college choice. The college choice decision variables were provided from easily accessible online data and were easily to pasted into Excel. All of the examples involve substantial matters that can cost millions, and the decision effects last for years.

I hope you enjoy the video and consider using this approach in your next complex decision.

Travel Agenda in Excel (no formulas)

I’m sharing with you my favorite Excel spreadsheets which relates to a plan the plan theme. This excel file has no formulas but it highlights the flexibility and fun you can have when formatting Excel. The file represents a travel agenda I developed for a Las Vegas adventure for my visiting extended family from France. This is not a difficult file to create and reason for sharing is to inspire you to have more fun with planning your next travel adventure with a focus around the meal periods.

When travelling abroad, you can easily be fatigued by the jet lag and over stimulation of senses. Having enjoyable meals at regular times is key element of anyone’s vacation. It represents the culture and while on vacation can be thoroughly enjoyed if adequate time is planned. Over scheduling during a vacation is problem, particularly for those who travel through multiple time zones.

The travel agenda I recommend shows the meal option for everyday and provides ample time between activities to just chill. You’re on vacation, you need time to unwind and relax. However, for those who travel distances, there is a balance and a need for discovery. Planning the plan helps to achieve a delicate equilibrium of a recharging and energizing experience.

This brief video is not technical, although I’ll always try to slip in a few Excel tips. I hope to open your eyes to the opportunities Excel offers with formatting. This blog is not about formulas, however, as you watch the video, please keep in mind that amounts per day could be added to provide a reasonable estimate for activities cost – that’s the true power of Excel.


Using the best software to benefit your life from a Strategic Planner

We are constantly learning and often writing down the knowledge we learn in notebooks or scraps of paper that gets filed away. I’m here to share a little known (actually an open secret) on how to get and stay organized if you are a student, professional, or just an engaged, busy person with travel and life. My skillset is founded on Microsoft projects, and one of the most potent tools that saved my career is called OneNote. I began using this software once I achieved the position of Director of Planning for a $1 billion new resort development. I reported to the company president and helped him manage eight company divisions (Admin, I.T., Finance, Marketing, Security, Hotel, F&B, and Human Resources. I was overwhelmed and needed help to keep track of my to-do list and other critical action items owned by the divisional executives. I asked existing project managers who kept composition notebooks of their meetings and action lists, but that method is an old school solution to a 21st century management issue.

Composition notebooks are often used by project managers to record meeting notes and follow up action items. This form of note taking is outdated and is cumbersome and only provides an analog physical search option to look up prior data.

Thankfully an I.T. professional gave me the work life-changing advice to use OneNote by Microsoft. This is a remarkable tool to help organize enormous amount of notes, action lists, research, contact information and all other important information you need at a moment’s notice.

Since learning about OneNote about fifteen years ago, I’ve been a user ever since. I believe it is one of the most beneficial tool for a busy professional or student for elementary school, middle school, high school, college or at the graduate level. I used OneNote for my two year executive MBA. By using this software, I was able to stay organized and access all of my notes from the cloud from any device at any time. I had confidence that my important material was backed up in several locations so it didn’t matter if I left my notebook at home – I could just pick up my phone, tablet, PC or Mac to access my notes.

Enough discussion on this topic; an excellent example of Microsoft OneNote is a five-minute video of my favorite OneNote notebook. You can also visit the video on YouTube at this link. (I recommend watching the video in YouTube for the full screen option plus you can increase the speed to 1.5 times to reduce the time to 3 minutes.

Thanks for watching and please comment if you have used OneNote or can offer other suggestions for note taking or staying organized.