Archive for January, 2007

Excel tutorials: data used in examples have been added

Excel function tutorials

I received some very useful feedback from a reader who suggested that I make the data used in the examples in my available for users to copy into a spreadsheet so they can work through the examples practically.

So, I’ve added a table containing the data used in each tutorial at the beginning of the post. It’s in HTML table format, so you should just be able to just highlight the contents in the table and then copy into a blank Excel spreadsheet and then work through each step in the tutorial yourself. It does take a couple of extra steps though: you’ll need to copy the info below, then go to the Excel worksheet and select “Edit”, then “Paste Special”, then “Text”, and click “OK”. The detailed instructions have been added to each tutorial.

The reason I use JPG (picture) formats throughout my tutorials is that they’re easier to load and read than actually trying to upload a worksheet for each step.

Anyway, I welcome feedback and comments in all my posts. Thanks to Shakir for his comments on improving my tutorials!

Experiments in Finance turns 1-year old!

Blogging, Personal finance

When I first started this site in January 2006, I wasn’t sure how long my little experiment would last, so I’m amused (and a bit surprised) to be able to say that I wrote my first finance-related post this week last year. The post was a bit academic and formal, so I think I’ve come a long way since then!

My initial reasons for starting a blog were to practice my foreign language skills through my writing and getting feedback from readers. (You can see that here and here, for example, and I even briefly had a site in Mandarin.) Well, that experiment didn’t last long after I realized I didn’t have enough interesting material, time, or strong enough language abilities to create blogs in three different languages.

After realizing that idea was just way to ambitious for me to execute, I took a few days to think about what sort of topic I could create an entire blog around, and I realized that might be in personal and corporate finance, because I manage our household’s finances and work in that functional area. Looking back, I had some other reasons I wanted to start a site, too. Short term, I figured blogging would be:

  1. a fun thing to try: I liked the idea of having a structure that encouraged me to write, and I liked playing with site designs
  2. a glimpse into how the Internet works these days: My first e-mail account was created back in 1991, and I worked for an e-commerce company in the 90s, but those were eons ago in Internet years and a lot has changed.

Long term, I had the following in mind when I created this site:

  1. It would be a way for me to learn about value investing, and investing in general, by interacting with others
  2. I’d use it as a way to maintain my finance skills and while also improving my communication skills by creating useful, jargon-less finance and Excel tutorials

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Update on T-bill rates


It’s been a while since I updated my T-bill APR chart. Here it is with the latest data from the :

This week’s T-bill APYs came in at the following:

  1. 28-day: 5.10%
  2. 91-day: 5.21%
  3. 182-day: 5.21%

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Naked-eye Comet McNaught visible in the sky

Current events

And now we take a break from finance to mention something newsworthy from another interest of mine. I’m really late to the game on this one (darnit!!), but there’s been a naked-eye visible comet in the skies for the past few weeks. Comet McNaught (C/2006 P1), the brightest comet in 40 years, should be visible to many viewers worldwide, but especially in the Southern Hemisphere this week, where it will appear for about 30 minutes after local sunset. Just the usual word of warning when looking at objects close to the Sun: protect your eyes, and never look directly into the Sun!

I remember when Comet Hale-Bopp was visible to the naked eye back in 1995 — that was a pretty spectacular show, even under the oft-cloudy skies of Seattle where I was living at the time. I’m still going to see if I can find any glimpse of McNaught today, but the show might be over for most of the Northern Hemisphere as the comet rounds the Sun.

For those who’ve missed it, here’s a link to a gallery of nine pages of recent Comet McNaught photos.

Poll results: how much net worth before you’re rich?

Personal finance

Up until last week, I had a poll running on the sidebar asking “How much money would you need to have before you considered yourself rich?” It was my most successful poll so far, with 125 votes. Here are the results of the poll:

In other words, 88% of those who voted believe that $1M-10M in net worth would be considered “rich”. In contrast (and the inspiration behind this poll), Felix Dennis, the author of How To Get Rich, which I’m planning on reviewing this week, believes in using the following definitions of net worth (from page 5 of his introduction):

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