Archive for October, 2011

Retrieving A Stock Price In Excel

Excel function tutorials

Excel is very powerful, that is no secret, but many do not know that Excel can also communicate very well with other types of software. Want to send an email? Excel can communicate with outlook to get that done, it can also communicate with Access databases. One thing that I personally use a lot is gathering data from the internet through excel. It’s no surprise that Microsoft made it easy to gather data from the web as excel uses Internet Explorer to get the data. There are probably a billion different ways that this can be used but we’ll start with a financial use (of course!). There are a lot of reasons why an investor would like to know a stock’s price. Of course, if you own a stock, getting its current price will make it easy to know how much your investment is worth.

This is just one example but it can be done with almost any data that is available on the web. As we did with excel macros, I will start by doing a simple demo. Then, next week, I will give an example that will show you how to improve the speed, efficiency but also how you can use a macro to gather the prices of a dozen or more stocks.

You could use a large number of websites to gather financial data but we will use Yahoo Finance and for today we are looking to get Microsoft’s (MSFT) last price.

In any excel spreadsheet, you can import external data (either from a database, a webpage, etc). You can select the menu here:

Then, as if you were in a browser, you can enter “” and press enter

Finally, simply enter the ticker “MSFT”, click “Get Quotes” as you would if you were simply visiting the page.

Then, you must select which part of this page you would like to extract, simply click on the arrow for that section. In this example, I will select the first one which would include all elements of the page. And then click “import”

You can then click on “ok” and the result will appear:

As you can see, you lose a lot of the formatting and images when you extract the information and in this case, since we selected the entire page, it makes it a bit difficult to read.

That being said, you can see the “Last Trade”. I could simply do a vlookup reference to easily see this page.

How Could I Refresh This Data?

There are many different ways. One would be to right click on the query and select “Refresh query”:

If you would like to take a look at my file, feel free to download it here.

My Thoughts on Escaping the Rat Race

Business & entrepreneurship, Career

As you know, I’m a freelance writer focusing on personal finance related posts.  What you may not know–although I address it from time to time–is that I also recently quit my day job (I am a professional but I’ll never admit what kind) to start my own business/practice/firm.

The Financial Blogger recently completed the Rat Race, an epic e-book, an amazing e-book that is now for sale for only $27.00 and that just might change your life.

I want to write a little about this book.  Not because I have been told to–in fact I hope I don’t get in trouble with the boss for writing about it.  But rather because I feel it’s an important work.  I know it changed my life.

The Rat Race

I was hired by TFB and Company to proofread and edit the Rat Race.  That’s right–any typos or grammatical errors in there are largely my fault.  Usually when I’m proofreading something, I’m all business.  But this time I kept getting engrossed by the text.  I had to remind myself to stay focused as a professional reader rather than a reader for pleasure.   When it was all said and done, I refunded some of the money due for my services, because I thought it would be unfair to get paid to read such a great work.

Why I Responded to the Rat Race

The Rat Race is the tale of humanity.  We all walk around with hopes and dreams.  But few of us break through the red tape and strive for something better.   There’s always an excuse to “wait until later.”  To “delay action.”  And to “give up on our dreams.”  I know because I’ve been there.

My whole goal in life was to start my own business.  But I kept putting it off because the timing wasn’t right.

“I have too many student loans.”

“But we just bought a house.”

And a number of other excuses would always be my way out of following my dreams.  The strange thing–and the Rat Race notes this–is that our friends and family are often all too quick to advise us not to follow our dreams.

Dream-killers are all around us, many of them friends rather than enemies.

It’s Not Easy Breaking Out of the Rat Race

As I’ve indicated here in prior posts, it’s not easy “Escaping the Rat Race.”  There will be times where you feel like you don’t have a single friend in the world.  There will be moments of intense self-doubt.  But every success story has had elements of failure.  Go Google failure quotes from famous people and you’ll understand that this is so.  Even Ted Turner is quoted to have said: “My entire life people have been doubting me.”


If you’re serious about making a real change, the first thing you need to do is look inside and see if you’re ready for it.  If you are, then I would recommend shelling out the $27.00 to read Escaping the Rat Race Part 1.  If you do, it will be money well spent, and it could change your life forever.

And that’s just my objective opinion.