How to Set Up an Excel Spreadsheet for an IRA

Open a blank worksheet in Excel by selecting the "File" tab and clicking "New."

Type the following labels into cells A1, A2, A3, A4 and A5:

Present Value

Annual Investment

Annual Rate


Future Value

Enter the number "-5000" into cell B1 to represent an initial investment into an IRA account of $5,000.

Enter the number "-5000" into cell B2 to represent annual investments into the account.

Enter the number "0.05" into cell B3 to represent an annual interest rate of 5 percent.

Enter the number "20" into cell B4 to represent 20 years of investment time for the account.

Enter the function "=FV(B3,B4,B2,B1)" (without quotes) into cell B5. This is the Future Value function, and gives an answer of 178,596, which means that this account will be worth $178,596 in 20 years using these exact assumptions.