Personal finances are as essential as they are potentially frustrating. Using online calculators, you can remove a lot of the tedious pencil work involved in calculating budgets, investments, and expenses by inputing your basic information, such as income, then setting percentage parameters and letting the calculator do the work for you. While many calculators are available online, there are a few that stand out as top notch.
Yahoo! offers dozens of personal finance calculators that can be used free and without registration to make a budget, calculator mortgage payments, and estimate how much you can afford in various categories, such as housing. The calculators also cover more obscure, yet highly relevant topics, such as estimating whether you should pay off debt before making investments based on information you input.
Bankrate’s budgeting calculator is designed specifically for budgeting, and is as simple to use as it is effective. Unlike some budgeting calculators, which take your income and provide a percentage of funds that should be set aside for certain categories, such as entertainment and housing, Bankrate’s calculators display a list of the national averages for each category based on your income level, with recommendations on what your estimated expenses should be. You can use this calculator to not only get an idea of how your budget should look, but also compare it against national averages from others who earn the same relative income. Several calculators are available.
Washington Street Journal offers several calculators divided into different categories, such as financial and retirement planning, taxes, housing, insurance, investments, and college. The calculators include a retirement worksheet, a net worth calculator, an asset-allocation worksheet, a mutual fund screener, and a mortgage calculator, among others. All the calculators are free to use, and don’t require registration.
Crown’s Spending Plan online calculator seems, at first, to be a simplistic budgeting calculator. Fields are provided to input your gross annual income, your taxes, and any money given as “tithing,” at which point your annual net income is calculated, and a graph is given showing a variety of figures. You can see your monthly income, and a variety of categories, such as housing, entertainment, food, insurance, health care, debt, savings, clothing, investments, and others. You’ll see a percentage range, in which financial experts recommend that you keep each budget. For example, under housing, if your annual income is $36,000 a year, the given recommended percentage range is 25% to 40%, while the recommended percentage to use is 36%, or $930. Each category is itemized, and the graph can be printed for convenience.
Mvelope’s is an online budgeting system that can be used over time to track expenses, calculate a budget, monitor net worth, and other personal finance tasks. Unlike the other calculators listed, the Mvelope’s system requires you to register. Once registered, you’ll have your own account, which will save your data. You can log in to the account any time and add new information, adjust current information, or download the data already listed.
Darren Bechard is an independent researcher and freelance writer. He has a penchant for all things financial. He enjoys sharing his insights on various finance blogs. Click here for financial services information.