Financial decisions are important for your future. Any monetary change, investment or purchase you make can potentially affect your financial standing for the foreseeable future, so give careful consideration to your options before making a final decision. Luckily, there are a financial calculators devoted to many common financial scenarios that can help you through the decision process.
Each calculator functions under the same premise: enter in the requested financial data, change certain parameters that relate to you and then receive a forecasted number. These calculators assist users by performing financial functions commonly needed in business and commerce, so you don’t have to do the math yourself.
To help you get started, we’ve created a list of five of the most useful and commonly used financial calculators. Take a look and see which one is right for you!
Auto Loan Calculator
If you’re considering purchasing a car, you may also be thinking about getting an auto loan. An auto loan calculator is a great tool to help you figure out the potential monthly payments for any car you may be considering. This tool not only lets you see if a new car is something you can currently afford, it also displays the adjusted payment rates for users who plan to trade in a vehicle or plan to make a large down payment. The variables used to calculate monthly payment include:
- Vehicle price
- Down payment amount
- Trade-in value
- Sales tax
- Interest rate
- Term in months
Once you’ve filled out all of the variables, you receive an estimate for your monthly payment. This information can be invaluable when planning future budgets.
One of the most useful financial tools for mortgage owners is the amortization calculator. This is commonly used by equity builders, who are looking to quickly build equity in their homes by making larger payments in a shorter amount of time – which leads to them to pay less interest. However, this calculator is beneficial to anyone with a mortgage. It can help you forecast how the structure of your mortgage affects your interest paid or principal balance paid while providing you with a graph of the life of your mortgage.
Amortization calculators typically start at eight years – the minimum years for a YOURgage – and go up to 30 years (representative of the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage).
This calculator lets you input your current loan amount, the term, which is the number of years in your mortgage, and interest rate percentage to view an accurate snapshot of the life of your mortgage, including how much of your mortgage payment will go towards interest and what amount will go towards paying off your principal balance.
Credit Card Payoff Calculator
If you currently have significant credit card debt and are in the process of making long term financial plans, then you should start with The Credit Card Payoff Calculator. When using it, enter your credit card balance and interest rate. Then, either put in the amount you’re able to pay each month and the calculator will tell you how long that will take, or you can enter how many months in which you want to be debt-free and the calculator will give you a minimum monthly payment.
This calculator does not allow you to enter in multiple credit cards. If you have more than one credit card with an outstanding balance, you will need to use this calculator for each one individually and then add the monthly payments together to get an accurate picture of how much you will need to set aside.
CNN Money offers several calculators where you can enter in your income, age and other factors to forecast retirement options. Some of the retirement calculators on CNN include:
- What do you need to save?
- How fast will your savings grow?
- How much will you need?
- Can you retire early?
With the assistance of these calculators, you can see how your current retirement fund is doing and how much more you should invest.
Calculator to Compare the Cost of Living for Two Cities
When planning a move, keep in mind that your salary doesn’t always have the same value in every city. Parking, taxes, average food costs and other expenses can vary widely from one city to the next. A cost of living calculator will help you see how far your current salary will go in each of the cities you’re considering. This calculator is based on standard of living costs, as prices and salary vary by location, and how much your salary you will need in your new city to maintain your current standard of living. Having this information in advance will ensure you’re prepared no matter where you chose to move.
Finally, remember that these calculators are intended to guide you in the planning process. Each person’s financial situation is different, and no calculator will cover every possible variable, so further research may be needed.
Do you have a favorite calculator that we missed? Let us know in the comments!
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