The more you pay attention to your personal finances, the better. From making a budget to saving for retirement to managing your savings, you should try to keep track of as many aspects of your personal finances as possible. There are many great apps to help you with your personal finances, and there are several websites that offer personal finance help.
Online calculators can be a great tool, as well. There are online calculators for many different aspects of personal finance, and they can help you figure out what you need to do to get where you want to be financially. Following are five different kinds of calculators that can help you with your personal finances — calculators for your mortgage, retirement, savings, car payments, and debt. Using these calculators will help you start thinking about your financial goals and plans.
1. Mortgage calculator
While your bank or lender will determine how much they think you can afford to pay for a home, you may not agree. Using a mortgage calculator will help you figure out just how much you are comfortable spending overall, and how much you can safely afford each month.
Mortgage calculators come in varying degrees of complexity, and you will want to determine how much you are likely to be approved for, as well as also how much you can actually afford, factoring in all of your other bills. For example, if a mortgage calculator tells you that a specific mortgage will cost you $2,500 per month but you know that when you factor in your other expenses, you can’t actually afford that much, then you don’t want to be shopping for houses that will cost you that much.
If you already own a home and you are considering refinancing, also try a refinance calculator.
2. Retirement calculator
Retirement planning can be scary, but you don’t have to let it overwhelm you. There are many different strategies and tools that will help you. Starting early is an obvious advantage, but even if you didn’t start in your 20s or 30s, you may still be able to save enough to live comfortably after you retire. Bloomberg has a retirement calculator that you can use to determine if you are saving enough. CNN Money has a similar online calculator, which will tell you if you are on the right track or falling short of necessary retirement savings.
Many people are now continuing to work part-time after they retire, and the fact is, your lifestyle may change after you retire. Retirement calculators are not flawless, but they can help you set goals so that you save for retirement, even if the numbers aren’t perfect.
3. Savings calculator
The point of saving is to eventually have more money, and using a compound interest calculator can help you see how your savings are growing. If more interest is compounded, you will earn more. Unfortunately, most savings accounts leave you saving very little, so determining which accounts and types of investments are helping you earn the most interest will help you make wise investment choices.
You can also use a savings goals calculator to help you determine how much you want to save, how much you need to put in to do it, and how long it will take. The calculator will tell you how much you need to save per month to reach your goal.
In addition to regular savings, you can determine how much you need to save for emergencies, as well. This is an important step that shouldn’t be forgotten. Neglecting to have an appropriate emergency fund can leave you having to pull out of your regular savings — or worse, use credit cards — in an emergency.
4. Car payment calculator
There are many useful car payment calculators available online. A lender might offer you a loan for more than you can actually afford, so planning ahead is a good idea. Cars.com has a great basic auto loan calculator based on the price of the vehicle, how much you have as a down payment, the trade-in value of the vehicle, sales tax, interest rate, and the length of the loan.
If you’ve had your car for a while, you can also use an auto loan early payoff calculator to determine how much you can save by changing your regular payments; you might find that increasing your monthly payments even by a small amount will save you a lot if you pay the additional amount directly to the principal of your loan. Bankrate.com also has a buy or lease calculator that will help you determine if you should buy a car or lease one; purchasing a car isn’t always the right decision.
5. Paying off debt calculator
If you have a lot of outstanding debt, you may want to look at a calculator that will help you figure out how long it will take you to pay off that debt based on your current or anticipated payments. CNN Money has a debt-free calculator that will tell you when you will be debt-free based on how much you pay each month. Like paying your car loan, paying off as much as possible on the principal will help you quickly diminish your debt, as long as there are no early payoff fees.
Yahoo has a calculator that is ideal for determining how fast you will pay off your credit card debt. Because of the high interest rates of most credit cards, this should be a top priority when considering which debt to pay first. There are many other personal finance calculators available online that you might find helpful, including calculators for interest or taxes.