On November 5th, 2016, I created this grid that shows how long it takes to achieve financial independence based on yearly income and spending:
In a matter of days my tiny blog reeled in tens of thousands of page views.
Fast forward a few months. I created The Million Dollar Age Grid:
Within a few weeks it caught the attention of the staff at CNBC again and they featured it on their homepage:
Within a week the chart got featured on GOOD MONEY as well:
The blog post went viral and again with a matter of a couple days I reeled in tens of thousands of page views.
Fast forward another few months. I shared a simple chart that shows how far back a 2018 stock market crash would take us:
Not only that, but they offered to bring me on as a regular contributor to their site so they could feature more of my visuals:
Each time one of my charts or grids has been featured in a major publication, my inbox has been flooded with emails from readers asking what software I use to create my visuals. To much dismay, I share that I make nearly every static visualization using Microsoft Excel.
Due to so much reader interest in learning how to create high quality visuals in Excel, I created The Tiny Guide to Better Charts in Excel which shares how to make three types of charts I use most often: line charts, area charts, and grids.
I received a lot of positive feedback on this guide, but several readers reached out to me with the same suggestion:
Can you make an expanded version of this guide with actual charts you have used in your own blog posts?
Suddenly it hit me. This was a great idea. I could create a massive collection of the actual charts and grids I have used in past blog posts.
This way, you can see the data that goes into the visuals as well as click on the individual elements of the visuals and see the exact font sizes, line types, color schemes, and formatting I used.
So, that’s what I’ve done.
The Excel Genius Toolkit
I compiled 17 of the most popular Excel visuals I have used in blog posts and wrapped them up into one massive collection: The Excel Genius Toolkit.
This pack includes the exact Excel worksheets I used to create these visuals. Each worksheet contains three elements:
1. The data I used to generate the visual
2. The visual itself
3. A link to the blog post that the visual was used in
This way, you can see exactly how the visual was made from start to finish, from the data that went into it to its final placement in a real blog post.
Six Different Types of Visuals
Specifically, The Excel Genius Toolkit includes six types of visuals:
1. Area Charts
2. Bar Charts
3. Dot Plots
5. Line Charts
6. Scatter Plots
Being able to play around with these six different types of visuals will give you the knowledge to create virtually any visual you want in Excel.
Another additional perk is that you can see all the underlying formulas I commonly use to calculate things like:
The number of years it takes to save X amount of dollars.
Net worth growth over time based on yearly contributions and investment returns.
The percentage of net worth that is composed of contributions compared to investment returns over time.
The 17 Visuals
Just so you know what you’re getting, here are the exact 17 visuals that come in The Excel Genius Toolkit along with the blog posts that these visuals appear in:
1. Savings vs. Investment Returns Chart (Area Chart)
2. Net Worth Growth Chart (Area Chart)
3. Historical Importance of Savings vs. Investment Returns (Horizontal Bar Chart)
4. Individual Stock Returns (Vertical Sorted Bar Chart)
5. 401(k) Growth (Vertical Bar Chart)
6. How Long it Has Historically Taken to Save $1 Million (Dot Plot)
7. Saving $100k to $300k (Dot Plot)
8. The Early Retirement Grid (Grid)
9. The Savings Rate Grid (Grid)
12. The Growth of $75k vs. $175k (Line Chart)
13. Minimum Investment Needed to Become a Millionaire Since 2000 (Line Chart)
14. Years To Save $1 Million Based on Savings & Investment Returns (Line Chart)
15. How Long it Takes to Reach Different $100k Net Worth Milestones (Interactive Line Chart)
16. S&P 500 Year-to-Year Correlations (Scatter Plot)
17. Happiness vs. Life Expectancy (Scatter Plot)
Who This Excel Genius Toolkit is For
I am shocked at how often simple charts that I have created in Excel have been featured in major publications. In fact, these visualizations form the cornerstone of my blog and have been the main reason I have been able to generate serious income from blogging.
Many people underestimate how powerful Excel can be as a tool for creating data visualizations. It’s flexible, user-friendly, and simple. I think people just need to be shown what exactly can be made using Excel. This is exactly why I created the Excel Genius Toolkit.
This pack will give you a clear idea on how to create the six major types of visualizations: area charts, bar charts, dot plots, grids, line charts, and scatter plots.
You will be able to see firsthand how I format the data to create these charts, the formats I use, and every tiny detail that goes into these charts.
You can spend hours reading tutorials online or watching YouTube videos to figure out how to make appealing graphs or you can grab this Excel Genius Toolkit that gives you 17 clear, concrete examples that you can play around with and explore.
As someone who values their time, I am always looking for quick and efficient ways to learn new skills, which is why this Pack is designed to get you up and running with Excel visuals in as little time as possible.
Gain Access to the Excel Genius Toolkit
For $24.99 you will gain access to all 17 Microsoft Excel Worksheets, which include the data that goes into the visuals, the finished version of the visuals, and links within each Excel worksheet to the exact blog post that the visual was used in.
Once you download the worksheets and begin exploring them, feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any specific questions you have about any of the charts and I’ll be happy to help.
Click on the button below, make your payment, and all 17 worksheets are yours.
What People Are Saying
“I love the variety of visuals that are available in this toolkit. Seeing how to make the financial independence grid alone is worth it for me. The 16 other charts are just icing on the cake.”
“This is a great resource for anyone who is a data visualization nerd. I’ve been working with Excel for 4 years professionally at my job and I’ve learned several cool data viz techniques and gained some new design ideas from this toolkit that I had never considered before.”
“This is an awesome collection of spreadsheets! I also love how you link to the actual posts that these visualizations were used in so I can see the details of how you made the chart and also how you implemented it in a real blog post.”
“Been reading Four Pillar Freedom since 2016 and I’ve always been curious as to how you made your visualizations. This toolkit answers my questions perfectly.”
“Love this resource. I always assumed you needed an advanced software to make pretty charts. Turns out I could have been making awesome charts all along! Thank you for sharing these spreadsheets and your data knowledge with us :)”
Zach is the author behind Four Pillar Freedom, a blog that teaches you how to build wealth and gain freedom in life.
Zach's favorite free financial tool he's been using since 2015 to manage his net worth is Personal Capital. Each month he uses their free Investment Checkup tool and Retirement Planner to track his investments and ensure that he's on the fast track to financial freedom.
His favorite investment platform is M1 Finance, a site that allows him to build a custom portfolio of stocks for free, has no trading or maintenance fees, and even allows him to set up automated target-allocated investments.
His favorite way to save money each month on his recurring bills is by using Trim, a free financial app that negotiates lower cable, internet, and phone bills with any provider on your behalf.
His favorite micro-investing app is Acorns, a free financial app that takes just 5 minutes to set up and allows you to invest your spare change in a diversified portfolio.
His favorite place to find new personal finance articles to read is Collecting Wisdom, a site that collects the best personal finance articles floating around the web on a daily basis.
Full Disclosure: Nothing on this site should ever be considered to be advice, research or an invitation to buy or sell any securities, please see my Terms & Conditions page for a full disclaimer.