How to create a spreadsheet for a retirement plan

Updated April 17, 2017

It is never too early to begin planning for retirement. In fact, the sooner you start, the better prepared you will be when that time comes. Even if you have a retirement fund and other savings, do you really know where you are in comparison with where you need to be and how much time you have to get there? Putting this information in a spreadsheet)can reassure you that you are right where you need to be or show you what you need to accomplish to get there.

Create a table in a spreadsheet that has four columns and forty rows. This can be done by selecting the cells with the mouse and adding a border to the selection. You can add borders to the gridlines inside of the table as well. In Microsoft Excel, for instance, right-click the cells and select "Format Cells." Add borders on the "Border" tab.

Enter "Current" into the second cell in the first row of the table. Enter "Retirement" in the third cell of the first row. These headings will help you differentiate between what you have now and your retirement goals. Fill the entire first row and the entire first column with a light fill colour.

Enter "Age" in the first cell of the second row of the table. Skip a row and begin entering a title for every expense category that you want to include in the spreadsheet. Some possible entries would be mortgage, insurance, home maintenance, automobile payment, utilities and so on. After entering these categories, skip two rows. Enter sources of retirement income, including bank or investment account names into cells in the remaining rows.

Enter your current age and expected age of retirement. the current amounts budgeted monthly or annually for each expense in the column labelled "Current." Enter what you expect these expense to be at retirement. Enter the current amounts in your retirement income accounts and how much you need to have saved in order to retire.

Enter formulas to total each column in each section. Determine the total of current and projected expenses, as well as the total for current and projected sources of income. In Microsoft Excel, use the "AutoSum" button on the toolbar or ribbon.

Enter a formula to the left of the cells with your current and retirement age and to the left of the cells totalling sources of income that will determine the difference between current and retirement figures. In Microsoft Excel, you would use the formula "=RETIREMENT cell number - CURRENT cell number." Whenever the information is updated, the cells will provide updated differences, as well.

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About the Author

Tricia Goss' credits include Fitness Plus, Good News Tucson and Layover Magazine. She is certified in Microsoft application and served as the newsletter editor for She has also contributed to The Dollar Stretcher, Life Tips and Childcare Magazine.