www.mint.com expert interview
"Expert Interview with Brad Hoffer of XLYourFinances on Expert Excel Tricks"
XLYF's Brad Hoffer took a moment to tell us about the spreadsheet, some possible applications, and ways to save time and money with some black belt Excel kung fu.
Can you tell us a little bit about XLYourFinances? When did you get started? What prompted you to start your own company?
XLYourFinances is a Microsoft Excel personal finance spreadsheet. I have used Excel virtually every day for the past 15 years in the various jobs I have had as an accountant. This has allowed me to learn some of the advanced programming capabilities that exist in Excel in order to build user-friendly spreadsheets to solve complex problems and processes.
As I would learn tricks at work, I would incorporate them into my personal finance spreadsheet. In 2009, I decided to tackle making my spreadsheet "unbreakable" so that others could use it as well. This process took a lot longer than expected; and by the time I put together instructional videos and created a website, it was towards the end of 2010.
I have always wanted to have my own company, but had never found something that I had enough passion about to pursue. Personal finance is definitely something I have passion about, so it made sense to create the spreadsheet and the website, and start helping people with their finances.
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In that same post, you also talk about a bunch of really useful time-saving tricks on Excel. Can you share a couple of these tricks with us?
The ultimate source for learning tricks in Excel is www.mrexcel.com. I recently supported Bill Jelen's (founder of mrexcel) campaign on Indiegogo. He raised $25,183 to publish his 40th book titled, 'MrExcel XL Book - 40 Greatest Excel Tricks'. I am excited for the opportunity to contribute tips and tricks for this book. With that said, if I had to give one piece of advice to someone wanting to get to the next level in Excel, I would say to learn the 'SUMIF' function. Once you master how this function works, you can start doing some really cool things in Excel.
Any other advice or encouragement for people looking for financial freedom this year?
There is an ancient saying by Ahikar that goes, "I have hauled sand, I have carried salt, but nothing is heavier than debt." Being in debt is kind of just a way of life for a lot of us. I think making a commitment to get out of debt is one of the best things you can do. I'm not as worried about our mortgage, which is for a house that typically retains its value. I am concerned about our credit card debt, where we are buying things we cannot afford and then paying them off over time. When you use your credit card, make sure that you can pay it off in full each month, and make sure that you are spending less than you are making.
In summary, it is difficult to make positive changes which is why I love this quote from Robin Sharma ... "All change is hard at first, messy in the middle and gorgeous at the end."
For more info and updates from XLYourFinances, follow them on Twitter, and connect with them on LinkedIn.
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How I replaced my mortgage
Recently, xlyourfinances teamed up with www.replaceyourmortgage.com. Replace your mortgage is a method for paying off your home in 5-7 years. The replaceyourmortgage team was looking for a personal finance tool to offer to their customers to help them manage their money better and to make sure they were achieving their mortgage payoff goals. Before I would team up, I decided to look into the replaceyourmortgage method and decide for my self if it was legitimate or not. After researching the website and talking to the owner of replaceyourmortage, I took the leap and became a replaceyourmortgage customer. After going through the educational videos and working with the on-line community, I was able to replace my traditional mortgage with a home equity line of credit with no closing fees. I am not only saving interest dollars, but I have dramatically reduced my loan principal in a short amount of time which is further reducing the amount of interest I am incurring on my house. The effect of a lower interest rate being calculated on a daily basis coupled with the reduced principal has had a major impact on how long it will take me to pay off my house. The best part, is that because your mortgage is completely replaced by a home equity line of credit, you have no risk of paying 'too much'. You can always access the equity you created with your payment and have the cash you need, when you need it. There are many other benefits to the replaceyourmortgage method and I strongly encourage you to check out their website to see if the method will work for your unique situation. It definitely has worked for me and I find myself telling everyone that is interested.
Replaceyourmortgage has now endorsed xlyourfinances as the personal finance tool of choice for its customers. As a replaceyourmortgage customer you will gain access to a special instructional video created to show exactly how xlyourfinances makes it easy to track your finances using the replaceyourmortgage method. You can learn more about this exciting concept at www.replaceyourmortgage.com
Mr. Excel's best selling book
XLYourFinances is proud to have contributed to the indiegogo campaign. $26,801 was raised for Bill to create this book.
MrExcel XL =ROMAN(40) The 40 Greatest Excel Tips of All Time
This 274-page full color book includes:
I have been an Auditor, Analyst, Accounting Manager, Business Systems Manager, Controller, School Board Vice President, Director of Finance, CFO and COO over the past 2 decades of work experience. In my free time I developed the XLYourFinances spreadsheet and website I enjoy golf and spending time with my family. We attend church at LCBC.