Excel Tutorial: How To Make A Financial Plan On Excel


Creating a financial plan is crucial for achieving your long-term financial goals. Whether you're saving for a house, planning for retirement, or simply managing your day-to-day expenses, having a solid financial plan is essential for financial stability and peace of mind. When it comes to organizing and analyzing your finances, Excel is a powerful tool that can simplify the process and provide valuable insights.

By utilizing Excel for financial planning, you can efficiently track expenses, create budgets, and visualize your financial data in a way that is clear and easy to understand. In this tutorial, we'll explore how to leverage the capabilities of Excel to create a comprehensive financial plan that aligns with your financial goals.

Key Takeaways

  • Creating a financial plan is essential for achieving long-term financial goals.
  • Using Excel for financial planning can simplify the process and provide valuable insights.
  • Formulas and functions in Excel can help efficiently track expenses, create budgets, and visualize financial data.
  • Visualizing financial data with graphs can provide a clear understanding of the financial plan.
  • Regularly tracking and updating the financial plan is crucial for financial stability and success.

Setting Up Your Workbook

When creating a financial plan in Excel, it's important to start by setting up your workbook in an organized and efficient manner. Here are the steps to follow:

A. Open a new workbook in Excel

To begin, open a new workbook in Excel. This will provide you with a clean slate to work with and allow you to start building your financial plan from scratch.

B. Name the tabs for each section of the financial plan

In order to keep your financial plan organized, it's crucial to name the tabs for each section of the plan, such as income, expenses, savings, and so on. This will make it easier to navigate through the different components of your plan and ensure that everything is clearly labeled.

C. Insert basic information such as your income sources and expenses

Once you have named your tabs, it's time to start populating them with the basic information that will form the foundation of your financial plan. Begin by inserting details about your income sources and expenses, as this will provide a starting point for further analysis and planning.

Creating Formulas

Excel is a powerful tool for creating and managing financial plans. One of the most important aspects of using Excel for financial planning is the ability to create formulas that calculate totals, averages, and percentages. In this chapter, we will explore how to use basic formulas and Excel functions to make a comprehensive financial plan.

A. Use basic formulas to calculate totals for income and expenses

When creating a financial plan in Excel, it is essential to calculate the total income and expenses. To do this, you can use basic formulas such as addition and subtraction. For example, to calculate the total income, you can use the formula =SUM(B2:B10), where B2:B10 are the cells containing the individual income amounts. Similarly, you can calculate the total expenses using the formula =SUM(C2:C10), where C2:C10 are the cells containing the individual expense amounts.

B. Utilize Excel functions such as SUM, AVERAGE, and IF statements

Excel offers a wide range of functions that can be used to streamline financial calculations. The SUM function, for example, can be used to quickly add up a range of cells. The AVERAGE function can be used to find the average of a range of values. Additionally, the IF statement can be used to create conditional calculations based on certain criteria, such as calculating expenses only if they exceed a certain threshold.

C. Calculate percentages for savings and expenses relative to income

Calculating percentages for savings and expenses relative to income is crucial for creating a comprehensive financial plan. In Excel, you can easily calculate percentages using simple formulas. For example, to calculate the percentage of income spent on expenses, you can use the formula = (Total Expenses / Total Income) * 100. This will give you the percentage of income that is being spent on expenses. Similarly, you can calculate the percentage of income saved using the formula = (Total Savings / Total Income) * 100.

Visualization with Graphs

Creating visual representations of your financial plan data can provide a clearer understanding of your financial situation and help in making informed decisions. Here's how you can use graphs to visualize your financial plan in Excel:

A. Select the data to visualize

  • Identify the key financial data: Before creating a graph, identify the specific financial data that you want to visualize. This could include income, expenses, savings, investments, and other relevant financial metrics.
  • Organize the data: Arrange the selected data in a clear and organized manner within your Excel spreadsheet. This will make it easier to create a graph later on.

B. Insert a graph or chart to represent the data

  • Select the data range: Highlight the data range that you want to visualize in the graph. This will typically include the relevant columns and rows containing your financial data.
  • Insert a graph: Navigate to the "Insert" tab in Excel, and select the type of graph or chart that best represents your financial data. Common options include bar graphs, line graphs, pie charts, and scatter plots.
  • Customize the graph type: Choose a suitable graph type based on the nature of your financial data. For example, a line graph may be ideal for showing trends over time, while a pie chart can effectively display the composition of expenses or income categories.

C. Customize the graph to better understand the financial plan

  • Adjust the graph appearance: Modify the visual aspects of the graph such as colors, fonts, and labels to enhance clarity and aesthetics. This can help in better understanding the financial data at a glance.
  • Add relevant details: Include titles, axis labels, and legends to provide context and explanation for the graph. This will make it easier for you and others to interpret the financial information presented.
  • Utilize additional features: Explore Excel's additional features such as trendlines, data labels, and annotations to further illustrate the insights derived from the financial data.

Tracking Progress

Tracking progress is a crucial aspect of financial planning, and Excel provides the perfect tool for monitoring changes in income and expenses over time.

Use Excel to track changes in income and expenses over time

One of the key features of Excel is its ability to create dynamic spreadsheets that can automatically update and calculate changes in income and expenses. By inputting your financial data into Excel, you can easily create graphs and charts that visually represent the fluctuations in your finances over time.

Create a system to update the financial plan regularly

To ensure that your financial plan remains accurate and relevant, it's essential to develop a system for regularly updating the data in your Excel spreadsheet. This could involve setting aside time each week or month to input any new income or expenses, or to review and adjust existing entries.

Set reminders to review and adjust the plan as needed

Excel allows you to set reminders and notifications to prompt you to review and adjust your financial plan as needed. By scheduling regular check-ins with your spreadsheet, you can ensure that your financial plan remains up-to-date and reflective of your current financial situation.

Utilizing Templates

When it comes to creating a financial plan on Excel, utilizing pre-made templates can save you time and ensure accuracy. There are a variety of templates available for financial planning, ranging from simple budgeting tools to more comprehensive financial forecasting spreadsheets.

A. Explore pre-made Excel templates for financial planning
  • Begin by opening Excel and navigating to the "File" tab.
  • Click on "New" to access the template gallery.
  • Use the search bar to look for financial planning templates or browse through the available options.
  • Select a template that aligns with your financial goals and needs.

B. Customize a template to fit your specific financial goals and needs
  • Once you have chosen a template, take the time to review and understand the various sections and features it offers.
  • Input your financial data, including income, expenses, savings, and investments, into the designated fields.
  • Modify the template to reflect your unique financial situation, such as adding or removing categories, adjusting formulas, and incorporating specific financial goals.

C. Save the customized template for future use
  • After customizing the template to fit your needs, it's essential to save it for future use.
  • Click on the "File" tab and select "Save As."
  • Choose a location on your computer or cloud storage to save the template.
  • Consider creating a dedicated folder for financial planning templates to keep them organized and easily accessible.
  • You can also give the template a descriptive name to quickly identify it in your template library.


Creating a financial plan on Excel is a valuable skill that can help individuals and businesses organize and track their finances. To summarize, the key steps include outlining financial goals, gathering financial data, creating a budget, projecting future cash flows, and analyzing the results. Excel offers numerous benefits for financial planning, such as its user-friendly interface, powerful calculation capabilities, and customizable templates. I encourage readers to take the initiative and start their financial plan using the tips provided in this tutorial. By leveraging the tools and features of Excel, you can gain better control over your finances and make informed decisions for the future.

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