Get Your Financial Life On One Page (FLOP)

A free template to get your financial life all on ONE pageWhen I was about 14 years old, my uncle suddenly and unexpectedly went home to be with the Lord. He had meticulously taken care of the finances for their family and left my aunt on a very solid financial foundation. Obviously, this didn’t take away the pain of him being gone, but his preparation eliminated additional stress that would have been present without it.

It’s one of those things we all prefer not to think about, but it is always better to be prepared. My aunt is still reaping from what my uncle sowed by having his things in order.

My FLOP

Being impacted by my uncle’s premature death and wanting to do everything I can do to help my wife, I decided to create a system for keeping things organized.

It has been a work in progress over the last few years, but has evolved into a very helpful tool. Simply put, it is a single file or location for all your financial account details. I call it a FLOP (Financial Life on One Page). FLOP sounds a little cooler than FLOOP, but not much ;)

Financial life on one page Spreadsheet

DOWNLOAD: Excel (XLS) | Google Docs

In adding to it over the last few years it has come to have three main purposes. The first being that it is a:

1. Balance Sheet

One of the best pieces of advice I received about 5 years ago, when I started my journey to clean up my finances was to keep a balance sheet. I didn’t really understand why at the time, but I did it anyway. I have updated it twice a year since I started it and it has been a great source of encouragement as I have fought to get out of debt.

The reason it has been such a source of encouragement is because a balance sheet not only takes into account the debt you have been paying off, but all of your good financial decisions. So increasing your savings, paying down debt, making wise purchases all will affect your balance sheet in a positive way.

Also, looking at the size of your debts or assets does not necessarily give an accurate report of your financial condition. To get a accurate picture of your financial situation you need a balance sheet to calculate your net worth. It is very easy to do and is just a big subtraction problem:

Assets  –  Liabilities  =  Net Worth

As with most things, you are either moving forward, or you are going backwards. If you are increasing your assets or minimizing debts your net worth should be growing. If your net worth is getting smaller, then it is an indication that you should re-evaluate how you are spending your money. And even if your situation is not very encouraging, it will force you to see the financial truth so you can make adjustments as needed.

In case you missed it earlier, read how to create a balance sheet.

2. Organize all my login information

In this day in age, where you just about need to login to open your refrigerator, it can be difficult keeping track of all your login information.

After adding all your accounts in the balance sheet section above, you should have all your account information listed already and you can just add a column to add your login for that company. If you use various passwords you could list them in another column as well, but consider using a password hint rather than the actual password. I still come back to my FLOP at least once a week to figure out a login that I forgot about.

3. Financial roadmap for my wife

The third and most important reason for my FLOP is for my wife. In most families, one person manages the finances and has a better understanding of the overall financial picture. I am that person in my family. Are you that person in yours?

If so, would your spouse (or other beneficiaries) know where to find your financial information? Insurance policies, bank accounts, investment accounts, safe deposit boxes?

I know for my personal situation I know a bit more about our financial details than my wife does. I use my FLOP to layout all of the pertinent details for my wife, if she ever needed them. It contains the name, phone number or web address of each institution, our account numbers for those institutions and any other pertinent info that may be needed.

I then burned the file to a CD and kept it in our safe. Every year or so I put a copy of the updated FLOP in there.

Losing a loved one is a terribly difficult process. Having a “roadmap” prepared in advance for your loved ones is a great way to help eliminate unnecessary stress.

Homework

  1. Click this link to download a template for my FLOP.
  2. Spend some time filling it out.
  3. Discuss with your spouse where they can find it if they ever need it.

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34 Comments
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  1. hey bob, great info.. i’m excited to learn tons from you informative and fun website.

  2. @rob
    thanks!! glad you could stop by!

  3. Chandler

    How can you talk about premature death and making sure your spouse is taken care of and not mention life insurance?

    What if your FLOP says : Your Broke ! Just something to consider when doing your financial planning.

  4. @Chandler
    you must be an agent ;) but, seriously though, I agree it should be something to think about when creating something like this. I mean why not, if the whole point is to make your spouse’s life easier if you are gone, isn’t life insurance the first thing that comes to mind?
    Good point and thanks for sharing.

  5. Bob, could you post the FLOP as a PDF? I don’t have excel, and my spreadsheet program won’t open it. :(

  6. Bob,
    Thank you for your FLOP template. I had been setting up something very similar and will now ‘piggy-back’ on what you have come up with.

    You have been a great help.

  7. Cory,

    I believe you can download a free-version of Excel that allows you to load spreadsheets. Maybe start with http://www.microsoft.com or search ‘free excel reader.’

    Hope that helps you.

  8. cory,
    the easiest way would be to go to docs.google.com and import the file, that way you can still use it as a spreadsheet. It doesn’t import perfectly, but it works enough to get the job done…

    Unless the PDF format has advanced in a way that I am not aware of I don’t think you will be able to use it – view only I assume.

  9. Love the concept. I’m eager to give this a try!

  10. @NTJS
    let me know how you like it!!

  11. When you calculate your assets, a wedding ring shouldn’t be counted unless you are willing to sell it. Few people would.

  12. Let me also suggest using a secure free site like Yodlee.com (MoneyCenter) or Mint.com. I prefer Yodlee.com since it recognizes almost every possible account and also allows for adding manual accounts. These sites auto-update balances, so the “FLOP” is available whenever needed by simply logging in. We have also used Google Docs to create a full info. login spreadsheet (usernames, passwords, account numbers, phone numbers, notes, etc. ). Great article!

  13. Shahid

    I agree. Great article and very informative. Thank you very much for the template.

  14. Jensons

    Loved the idea of your FLOP. I think finances is one of the strongest ways Christians fall flat on their face today. We are to have a shining testimony in every area of life and this has been very encouraging. Thank you for sharing such a persaonal part of your family to help teach others.

  15. This is really good. It took my Dad more than a year to get access to late Mum’s account. Such information would have made life easier for himhis would

  16. Understanding

    My spouse and I seem to have a different view of reviewing finances together. My spouse finds it distrusting or is offended. Now bills are paid by spouse and reviewed by the other spouse for logging purposes. No discussions really, just posting amounts for the month. I don’t see how accountability is shared here. There seems to be a your money, my money mentality with little acknowledgement to this gap. I tend to feel that something is not fully disclosed.

  17. Hi, I downloaded your template, but when I tried to open it, it locked up my computer for a while until I trashed the download. Is this using an old version of excel? Do you have an updated template? Thanks.

  18. This is really great advice – I look after all our finances, and you’re right, I can’t remember half my passwords so goodness know what would happen should something happen to me. I’m going to work on this ASAP!

  19. Great advice. I do need to clean up my passwords. If something did happen to me right now I am sure it would be more than a mess for the next person to clean up.

  20. Jonathan K

    This is good advice. I started using a FLOP after reading an article by Bob last year. We keep our Daily Expenses Ledger, Monthly Budget, Savings Account Balances, Gift Card balances, and login information in it.

    We started going over the finances about once a month, talking things through, and our finances have gone from good to great! We’ve also found that having an allotted amount (Cash) for each spouse as an allowance has resolved a majority of the conflicts we had over money. I can go watch movies at the theater or grab a bite to eat at work and she can shop for clothes as long as it is within the allowance budget. And we don’t have to know the details of each other’s allowance spending either.

    Any purchase over $50 we do discuss together. That is great advice.

  21. Gerard Ordoyne

    A great service you are doing Bob, I’m excited to learn more.

  22. David Washington

    Great Informaiton that everyone needs and they did not teach in the early stages of life. Death is never easy for those that live on. I do have a word document from my mothers friend that will help anyone be more ready after a tragedy happens. What to do with documents, where to file for Benefits, how many death certificates do you need etc. If anyone is interexted please email me or let me know where I can post or I can send in to you and you can post if you think it is worth the time.

    • Hello David

      I would really appreciate it if you can share your information with me.

      Thanks
      Irma

  23. Rosalie Banal

    This is so awesome…thank you for sharing. I just finished mine :) More power and God bless!

  24. sarah from Ghana

    Hey Bob,

    I am truly blessed to be receiving such counsel and advice from you. It very beneficial at this stage of my life. Appreciated.

  25. Great advise! I love all the help.

  26. Great advice! I did something similar about 18 months ago, and it’s been an eye opening experience. The ability to see how net worth is trending is interesting, but also holds us accountable to the choices we’re making and has more tangible value than a number on a bank / credit statement. I update my info on a quarterly basis.

  27. This is good information although, I’d never sell jewelry unless absolutely necessary. There’s too much sentimental value attached. I’m in process of writing a book to prepare folks for the possibility/eventuality of a spouse dying. Dave and I were going to sit down on Monday morning, me with a 3-ring notebook, and he was going to prepare me for when he wouldn’t be around. He had cancer and was given 1 to 1.5 years; he dropped dead of a heart attack on Saturday morning. There is SO much each of us can do to make it easier on the one left behind.

  28. I’m going to suggest FLASSH. Financial Life in A Snap SHot. Sounds a little cooler than FLOP to me. Feel free to use it if you like.

  29. Thank you for allowing other people to glean from your experience. I appreciate how you have written instructions and comments in layman’s terms.

  30. Hey Bob. Valuable information. I’m grateful especially that I have had a chance to learn this even before getting married. Thanks

  31. Great idea! I totally need to make one of these for my wife and I. I’ve had the thought several times, if I was on an extended trip or for some reason couldn’t get to our finances, how would my wife know what to do? Thanks for the great tip. Pretty cool that this article was written several years ago and is still blessing people. Great website, thanks.

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