Simple Investment Tracker
This spreadsheet was designed for people who want a simple way to track the value of their investment accounts over time. Every investment site or financial institution seems to have its own way of reporting results, and what I want to know most of all is simply the return on investment over time. That is why I have been using my own spreadsheet for the past decade to track my 401k and other accounts. This investment tracker template is what my spreadsheet evolved into. You can read more about it below.
Investment Trackerfor Excel
This template was designed to provide a simplified way to track an investment account. It boils everything down to tracking only what you have invested and the current value of that investment. It doesn't track cost basis and should not be used for tax purposes.
Although some explanations are provided in the Help worksheet and in cell comments, the spreadsheet does not define every term and every calculation in detail. It is up to the individual to make sure they understand what is being calculated. For example, this spreadsheet does not distinguish between realized or unrealized gains.
Disclaimer: This spreadsheet is NOT meant to be used for calculating anything to do with taxes. The spreadsheet and content on this page should not be used as financial advice.
Why Track an Investment with a Spreadsheet?
I use a spreadsheet only as an ADDITIONAL way to track accounts. I'm not suggesting that it is the best way or that it should be used in place of reports generated by the advisor or financial institution. Below are a few reasons why I use this spreadsheet to track investments.
Reason #1 - A Consistent Way to Compare Different Types of Investments
Having a consistent way to look at return on investment makes it possible to compare real estate investments to stock brokerage accounts or 401(k) accounts or simple savings accounts. Though there may be subtle differences or even major differences between accounts, especially when considering the effects of taxes, the simplest way I have found to compare different investments is to compare market value or total return to what I put into it (the total out-of-pocket investment).
Although there are many metrics that can be used to compare returns for different types of investments, my favorite is to use the effective annualized compound rate of return. In this spreadsheet, that is calculated using the XIRR() function. For a one-time investment, this results in the same rate as the CAGR formula (see my CAGR Calculator page). However, the XIRR() function lets you take into account a series of cash flows - such as making additional monthly investments.
Reason #2 - Learn how things work
I like to try to understand how investments work, and that is why I like using a spreadsheet. I like to see and to try to understand the formulas so that I can better understand what is being reported.
Unfortunately, the ability to enter and edit formulas also makes a spreadsheet error-prone. I would not recommend using this investment tracker unless you are comfortable using Excel and can identify and fix errors that may be introduced.
Reason #3 - Fees, Dividends, Interest Earned, Re-investments, Cost-Basis, Realized vs. Unrealized gains, ...
All these issues are important, but they can also be distracting when I am only trying to compare my out-of-pocket investment to the total value of the investment.
Sometimes the information about what has come out of my pocket is lost when using only the online reports generated by a brokerage or financial institution. This may be due to fees, re-invested dividends, or whatever. Using a separate spreadsheet allows me to track what I want to track instead of relying only on the financial institution's statements.
Handling Investment Income
Investment income that remains within your account as cash will generally be included automatically in the total value of your account. However, how do you handle investment income that you withdraw or that you have automatically deposited into another account?
In this spreadsheet, you can enter a negative value in the Amount Invested column to represent a return of principal, but that may not be how you should handle investment income.
You may need to track investment income separately and then calculate what the Total Value should be. Instead of entering the Total Value in column C, you can use the blank columns to the right of the table to track whatever numbers you want and then use a formula in column C to calculate the Total Value. For example, the total value could be calculated as the current market value of the account plus the total income withdrawn from the account.
XIRR Function for Calculating Annualized Return
This spreadsheet uses the XIRR() function to calculate the internal rate of return for a series of cash flows. In this case we are using it to calculate the annualized compounded rate of return.
The spreadsheet also calculates a running XIRR value and a 6-period XIRR value (meaning the annualized rate of return based on the last 6 periods). These formulas are fairly complex because they are array formulas that use nested IF functions (thanks to TonySaunders for this idea). The 6-period XIRR function will get messed up if you delete rows from the table.
Note: If you are only entering information from your monthly statement, you may not be capturing the actual date that investments are made because in this spreadsheet the XIRR() assumes that amounts invested in column B are invested on the date specified in column A.
- XIRR Function at support.office.com - See this page or press F1 in Excel and search for XIRR to see the help regarding this function.