It’s July 1st and time for your QBR!
What’s a QBR?
The last company I worked for had a grueling ritual at the beginning of each new sales quarter. Each sales rep had to prepare a detailed powerpoint presentation and deliver it to a room full of peers, managers, and executives from out of state. They called it a Quarterly Business Review, or QBR.
The presentations were to explain the past quarter’s sales results, how they were achieved, lessons learned, and how the sales rep planned to meet future goals.
Watching everybody else’s presentation, it was always interesting to see how intimate each sales rep knew their territory and business. Some reps were extremely prepared and could recall specific facts, figures, and exact details about each customer and sales process. Very impressive stuff.
Others that were less prepared would fail miserably, and would be eaten alive by the executives. Watching them squirm for an hour in front of a large room of people was a horrible experience. Some poor reps in the past have resigned or quit mid-presentation, or ran out of the room crying from the public beratement.
Anyway, not surprisingly, the well-prepared reps always did well in sales. The less-prepared reps usually were under-performers in sales.
As much as we all hated QBR’s and complained about them, we understood they were a necessary practice each quarter. Constantly reviewing your performance ensures you are accurately planning, learning from mistakes, and preparing for the best future outcomes.
Mind Your OWN Business:
As brilliant as my co-workers were at their jobs, they surprisingly knew very little about their own “personal business”. They could create and memorize a complex billing schedule for a client, but would have no idea how much money they have in their personal checking account.
If only the awesome and fine tuned skills they learned at work could be brought home for personal benefit and financial gain…
Enter the Personal QBR:
Shortly after I started doing Quarterly Reviews for my work, I started doing Quarterly Reviews for my home. Instead of presenting to the bosses at work, I present to my boss at home – my wife 🙂
As my personal investment portfolio keeps growing (real estate assets, several mortgages, credit cards, various retirement accounts, etc.) it’s becoming increasingly difficult to calculate my overall Net Worth. It’s no longer ‘back of the napkin’ math. It now involves a detailed tracking spreadsheet.
I’ve found monthly net worth tracking to be too tedious, and annual tracking to be too infrequent. QBR’s are perfect for me. Jan 1st, April 1st, July 1st, and October 1st. Takes about 1-2 hours to log into all my online accounts, add/remove credit cards and assets, update property values and take a few notes about what’s happened within the past Quarter.
What about online services like Mint.com and Personal Capital?
I’m a big fan of automation. But while Mint and Personal Capital are great for tracking daily expenses and ongoing stock portfolio performance, I’ve found them horrible for tracking real estate, shared assets, private loans, short term investments, and connectivity with smaller banks/mortgage companies.
Also, there’s no good place to enter notes or record details around major events that have sudden effects in your net worth.
**I do however use Mint.com religiously for tracking spending – which I’ll talk about another time.
“Tracking Spreadsheets Suck…”
No they don’t. Your financial situation sucks. Your spreadsheet will only suck if you put sucky information into it.
Net worth tracking is easy. It’s just a simple list of stuff you own, and stuff you owe. And since it’s YOUR spreadsheet, YOU get to decide what’s included and what’s left out. For example, some people don’t list their car as an ‘asset’. And everyone has a different opinion on whether your home should be listed as an ‘asset’ or not.
Real Estate and Joint Venture Values:
Real estate assets are probably the hardest to get accurate values for every quarter. Services like Zillow can be helpful, but I’ve found Zillow to be very inaccurate when estimating prices for my multi-family properties.
I tend to be very conservative on the real estate estimates. If I was to sell a property and ‘cash out’, I would have capital gains tax, transaction fees etc. that would bring my actual cash value down.
Also, I’ve started a few Joint Ventures such as lending money and funding house flips. Since these are short term projects I usually just put in the value of the cash I initially invested, not the projected outcome or profit.
Are QBR’s for Everybody?
Whatever you want to call your Net Worth Tracking, YES, I believe everyone should be doing personal finance reviews. How else are you going to monitor and track your overall financial health? Without continual and specific tracking, you’re just like those failing sales reps who are just hoping to hit their goals.
“Hope is not a strategy”
The sales reps at my old workplace made millions and millions of dollars for the company. They poured their heart and soul into their work every single day at the office.
I did too. But I also applied the same amount of effort (or more) to my personal stuff at home. And I encourage everyone to do the same.
Even a tiny amount of planning and preparation, pays off a huge return. Now, get to it!