Q:

# How do you use financial calculators?

A:

Financial calculators make excellent tools for planning, forecasting and preparing a wide variety of financial decisions. They simplify several calculations, such as compound interest and regular payments, and can provide graphs that plot assets over time depending on a number of variables that the user can change and compare.

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Most financial calculators require users to input a small number of specifications to complete their calculations. When calculating monthly loan payments, for example, the calculator would need to know the loan amount, payback time frame and interest rate. Some allow the user to compare the total repayment amount based on different monthly payments as well.

When finding retirement assets, a financial calculator would require a person to input his initial savings, projected annual growth rate, annual retirement savings contributions and time to retirement. This type of calculator can help a person compare retirement assets based on different savings rates or determine the effect that different interest rates have on investments. When a graph showing asset growth is included with the calculator results, the user can see how delaying retirement and starting to save earlier can allow for significant financial growth.

A financial calculator is best used with reasonable, accurate information, an open mind and some creativity so as to seek out the best financial solution for the user.

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