Looking for a reliable way to track and manage your financial life? Then you’ve come to the right place.
In this article, we’re going to cover everything you need to know about financial dashboards:
- What financial dashboards are and what they do
- Why it’s crucial to have a financial dashboard if you have financial goals
- All the steps to building your own from scratch
- Our recommendation for the best all-in-one financial dashboard option for those who aren’t up to creating their own
What a Strong Financial Dashboard Does and Why It Matters
A financial dashboard is an essential tool for easily viewing your financial assets, your financial status, and how you’re performing on your financial goals. Modern digital financial dashboards typically rely heavily on visuals to portray a large amount of information in a single view.
But a well-built financial dashboard will do way more than just show you some fancy charts and graphs that are fun to look at.
While it of course should include helpful data visualizations, a robust financial dashboard will bring together all of your assets and financial data to give you a complete view of your wealth in real-time. It should pair this broad view with functionality that enables you to slice and dice your financial analysis any way you want.
Why is this paramount in maintaining a healthy financial life?
Being able to manipulate your financial data to develop reports and generate forecasts is a vital step in creating financial plans that effectively move you toward your goals.
Ultimately, a high-performing financial dashboard should empower you to spend the majority of your time working within the tool to develop actionable insights for managing and growing your wealth — not just moving around data on a spreadsheet.
Today, we’re going to show you two different options for creating a financial dashboard that enables you to track and manage your financial life: a DIY route and a ready-built suite.
The Custom Finance Dashboard Option: Build It Yourself
Here, we’ve broken down the process of developing your own custom financial dashboard into four digestible steps.
Step One: Define Your Financial Goals
Like many processes in the wealth management world, building a bulletproof financial dashboard all starts with thinking about your goals.
This is because managing your finances effectively requires that you have a direction in which to manage them.
So before we move any further into the financial dashboard discussion, let’s take a minute to think about financial goals.
Think both short-term and long-term here: saving up for a vacation, or saving up for retirement? Outside of personal goals, you can think more generally about goals for your assets themselves. For example, perhaps you want to maximize the return on your investments all while staying within a certain risk threshold. Or maybe you want to achieve a certain cash flow rate from your existing assets, such as real estate.
The exciting thing about building your own financial dashboard is that you get to track precisely the metrics you want to track and leave out the ones you don’t care about. But this means that your goals need to be crystal clear going in. So however you choose to think about your goals and however many you have, get your list tight and prioritized before moving forward with developing your dash.
Step Two: Round Up Your Financial Assets
Next up, you’re going to round up the financial assets that you want to be visible on your financial dashboard.
Chances are this means accounting for all of your financial assets. But, again, a bonus of doing it yourself means you get to make that call.
Having a clear view of all the elements you want to track will help you plan for how your financial dashboard might need to be laid out, what kind of visual aids you might want, and so on.
Remember that pretty much anything that you own — physical or otherwise — can be considered an asset and can factor into your wealth goals and impact your financial dashboard. So don’t forget those domains you invested in, your cryptocurrency portfolio, or of course those paintings that your grandmother gave you from her good friend Georgia O'Keeffe!
Step Three: Decide What Metrics You’re Going to Measure
Now that you’ve identified the assets you want to track and your overall financial key performance indicators (KPIs), it’s time to determine what financial metrics you want to use your dashboard to monitor to make sure your assets stay in good health and you’re progressing toward your goals.
For individuals, income is any money in. Almost every financial dashboard will need to track income for other metrics to make sense. Don’t forget to include any additional income streams outside of your primary source of income.
Expenses are money out, and you’ll also want to keep track of these if you want your dash to accurately reflect what’s available for savings and other goals each month. We recommend breaking down expenses into at least two categories — necessary and discretionary.
Necessary expenses are those that keep your life running — paying for debts and housing, buying groceries, etc. Discretionary expenses are wants, such as new clothing or other lifestyle purchases that you don’t need to make to keep your job or home.
Monthly Savings Rate
This metric accounts for the amount of money you save each month as a percentage of your income. The higher this number, the more you’re saving.
Your monthly savings rate is simply how much you’re saving month / monthly income.
While this is typically applied to retirement savings, you can track your monthly savings rate on any goal.
And while the standard advice among American financial professionals is to save 15% of your income toward retirement, this assumes that everyone starts saving early and plans to retire in their 60s. We advise you come up with your own target monthly savings rate depending on where you are in life and what your financial KPIs are.
Net worth aims to show you the total value of your assets by taking everything you own minus everything you owe.
What you own includes the same physical and digital assets we described above: cash, property, digital businesses, etc. What you owe includes liabilities and ongoing debts like your credit card bill, education or home loans, and more.
Net worth is a metric most financial dashboards measure because it shows how your overall wealth changes over time, which will impact most of your other financial goals.
While cash flow for individuals often includes salary, we recommend this metric for people who will use their dashboard to measure cash flow from other, less traditional income streams.
For example, people who are invested in real estate may want to track how their rental properties are generating (or losing) cash over time.
If you have any kind of investments — whether in the stock market or in less traditional assets such as cryptocurrency — that factor into your overall wealth picture, you’ll probably want to track their progress from your financial reporting dashboard.
While people don’t necessarily always think of their credit score as being a key element of their finances or financial goals, it can be helpful to track to see how your overall wealth health is going. Score steadily on the rise? You’re probably doing an outstanding job managing debt. Sudden drop? You missed a payment or your information may have been used fraudulently.
Financial Independence Number
This is a metric that will probably only be familiar to those who are pursuing financial independence — which is the state of having enough money to pay your living expenses without being dependent on employment. Most people who pursue financial independence intend to go the rest of their lives without working, but it can also be used for smaller goals such as taking a hiatus from working.
Your financial independence number is the amount of money you’ll need before you can achieve financial independence. You can find this number by figuring out your average yearly spending and multiplying it by the number of years you want to be independent from work.
This isn’t a groundbreaking topic, but one that has been gaining steam among younger generations. In fact, while they don’t call it such, a financial independence number is very similar to what many financial planners come up with when helping clients figure out how much money they need to make and to set aside for eventual retirement.
Step Four: Continually Track Progress on Those Metrics
Now it’s time to create the actual dashboard with which you’ll be interacting.
We’ll be honest, this is where a DIY financial dashboard meets its biggest downside — the time and effort it can take to either find or create a digital system that will enable you to view and use your data in a way that works for you. It’s ultimately up to you how simple or complex this step becomes.
The most common method is still to create a spreadsheet using software such as Google Sheets or Excel. While you can of course build your spreadsheet from scratch, we’d strongly recommend poking around on the internet to see if you can find a template — like this one or these options (no, we’re not affiliated in any way with these providers) — that you like that’ll help you get started.
And just short of actual full-fledged financial dashboard software — a piece of which we’ll recommend later — there are services that basically “supercharge” your financial dashboard spreadsheet so you can add features without losing out on the customization you crave.
Building your own bulletproof financial dashboard will undoubtedly help you gain a deep understanding of all the details that go into your wealth, but there is also an option that’s just as great for the person who wants to take a hands-off approach for whatever reason: the all-in-one suite.
DIY Financial Dashboard Example
Once you’ve gone through outlining your goals, listing your financial assets, and defining the key metrics you want to measure and have arrived at the final step — setting up a system that tracks metrics across assets to ensure you’re hitting your goals — things can get a little hairy as to what that system actually looks like in practice.
So, we wanted to give you a dashboard example if you were to take the DIY route.
This template from PT Money is a great example of what many spreadsheet-based DIY financial dashboards will look like.
As you can see — lots of places for you to add details and customization fields! However, it’s certainly lacking when it comes to visualizations, projections, and benchmarks that help you go beyond understanding your finances to making decisions about your financial future.
The All-In-One Financial Dashboard Option: Kubera
While building your own custom system is great, as we mentioned above, you’ll likely have to sacrifice a decent amount of time not just creating but continuously tweaking and managing it.
Unfortunately, you simply cannot add more time to your life the way you can add more assets. For that reason, it’s vital that you be purposeful about spending your time doing only things that are important to you.
While for some that may include spending lots of time working on a from-scratch financial reporting dashboard, for others that might mean taking a more ready-made approach.
Connect Your Banking, Crypto, and Stock Accounts
One thing that makes Kubera truly unique is that we already spent the time building a custom infrastructure that works with various financial aggregators — so you don’t have to.
In just a few clicks you can connect tons of different bank accounts, cryptocurrency accounts, and even brokerage accounts (check out the living list here) to keep track of your stock investments and their impact on your financial health and goals.
Active investors can even use Kubera’s tickers so they can keep an eye on individual stocks or cryptocurrencies to make informed buying and selling decisions.
Add (Any!) Other Assets
In addition, Kubera’s flexible fields (it’s still as easy as a spreadsheet — promise!) will enable you to enter and track any kind of asset, alternative or otherwise. So you don’t have to worry about how you’re going to account for your antiques or your NFTs, your baseball cards or your Bitcoins. Kubera makes it easy to plug them in and see their value right along with the rest of your assets.
In fact, for web domains, vehicles, and homes in particular, Kubera integrates with asset experts that feed your Kubera account with real-time market data.
Track Your Finances in Your Preferred Currency
Because Kubera is built for global citizens by global citizens, we made it easy to enter assets in their native currency then select which default currency you prefer to see everything in. Our automated currency conversion feature means you’ll always get a real-time view of the value of all assets.
View Your Net Worth and Asset IRR in Real-Time
Thanks in part to our currency conversion feature, Kubera is one of the only financial dashboard tools that empowers global users to view their entire net worth, around the clock, no matter how many international or unconventional assets are part of your portfolio.
In addition, Kubera can even help users quickly determine internal rate of return (IRR) — an advanced type of ROI — in their native currency for assets that are purchased in other currencies, such as crypto.
For example, say your native currency is USD and you purchased an NFT using Ethereum. Now, you want to know how it’s performing in terms of your native currency. It’s pretty hard to figure this out without doing quick yet complex math, as the value of crypto compared to USD is constantly fluctuating and the value of the NFT will likely only be quoted in crypto.
This is where Kubera comes in.
Use Kubera to enter all the pertinent information about an asset, such as the price you purchased it for (in crypto), its current value, and any cash flow in or out. Automatically, Kubera will be able to show you how your asset has performed and — amazingly — how this ranks against standard indices and cryptocurrencies!
Instantly, Kubera can help you make a determination a DIY financial performance dashboard could never — whether or not you would have been better off just holding your crypto or if your investment is going so well you should make another soon.
To learn more about Kubera’s IRR calculator and to see it in action, visit our IRR help center article.
Pass Your Portfolio on Safely With Beneficiary Management
Perhaps the most distinctive characteristic of Kubera’s financial dashboard is our “safe deposit box” that provides a secure space to store important financial information and documentation (such as a trust, a will, or other estate planning materials).
Then our beneficiary management feature enables you to name an heir who will be granted access to your financial portfolio and your stored information once you’re no longer able to manage your Kubera profile.
Get the full, animated rundown of how Kubera works here.
For those who want some expert assistance when it comes to managing their wealth, Kubera is genuinely a noteworthy and complete addition to the ready-made financial dashboard options on the market.
Sign up for an affordable Kubera subscription today. Or, if you’re a financial professional or would like to use Kibera with help from yours, contact our team at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more about using our white-label solution.