Financial Calculators

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Financial Calculators

There are literally hundreds of personal finance blogs worldwide. For this list, we borrowed from the “Top 100+ Personal Finance Blogs” list of Wisebread.com, which ranked more than 200 blogs based on traffic – a pretty good measure of popularity. We got the top seven and here’s what we think.

1. Dinkytown.net

www.dinkytown.net

What’s good: More than 350 financial calculators, that’s what! There’s a reason it’s the first link for financial calculators that appears on Google. It covers all the calculators you need for mortgage, credit cards, loans, taxes, retirement, insurance, savings, investments, and even business. The interface is super-friendly, with text input and ability to drag bars for instant results. The Java-based calculators can be purchased for Web sites (which is why it seems quite familiar since it’s everywhere).

What’s bad: The charts are a little Excel 2000-ish.

Interesting calculator: Human Life Value (your economic value based on your future earnings)

Recommendation: Bookmark it

2. BankRate

www.bankrate.com/brm/rate/calc_home.asp

What’s good: With 87 plus calculators covering auto, mortgage, retirement, tax, insurance, credit card, debt, savings, college finance, etc., BankRate’s calculators are comprehensive and even a little quirky.

What’s bad: A little stingy on charts.

Interesting calculator: Celebrity Spending Power (shows how ordinary purchases affect the bank accounts of Hollywood stars compared to a regular Joe, e.g. if you chose J-Lo, a $20,000 car to you is just like spending $50 for her, given her $12 million income)

Recommendation: Bookmark it

3. TCalc

www.timevalue.com/tcalc.aspx

What’s good: Since it licenses its calculators to other Web sites, it’s widely used. It includes home financing, investing, retirement, leasing, and general personal finance.

What’s bad: Not a lot of calculators, so options are limited, and the interface is very basic.

Interesting calculator: How Can I Save a Million Dollars?

Recommendation: Skip it

4. CalcXML

www.calcxml.com

What’s good: Found on popular sites like Yahoo! Finance and AOL, CalcXML delivers its calculators via an XML Web service for full integration. The selection covers 12 categories. Instead of some fancy financial term, the titles of calculators here are expressed in simple questions like “Should I consolidate my outstanding debt?” and “How long will my current life insurance proceeds last?” The charts are pretty too, plus you can save the results in PDF.

What’s bad: Not much really.

Interesting calculator: What Are My Needs for Burial and Final Expenses?

Recommendation: Bookmark it

4. LeadFusion

www.leadfusion.com/products/financialcalculators

What’s good: Covering everything from autos to stocks, the calculators feature inputs on the left and results on the right, resulting in a clean user interface. You’ll also find some unique calculators like “How do exchange rates affect my foreign stock?”and “How much do fees affect my fund’s rate of return?” Great-looking tables and charts too.

What’s bad: Unlike Dinkytown.net, results don’t automatically change in real-time as you manipulate the date; it takes a number of seconds to see the results.

Interesting calculator: Which is better: flight card or low rate card?

Recommendation: Browse it

5. Investopedia

www.investopedia.com/calculator/

What’s good: Designed for investors, you’ll find esoteric calculators like “Macaulay Duration” and “Present Value Annuity Due” along with more run-of-the-mill ones like “Saving For a Child’s Education.”

What’s bad: Very limited calculators.

Interesting calculator: Salary Per Day, Hour, Minute and Second

Recommendation: Browse it

6. SmartMoney.com

www.smartmoney.com/tools/worksheets/

What’s good: SmartMoney’s calculators start with an introductory explanation of why a particular worksheet or calculator can help you solve a conundrum. The helpful design continues in the calculators themselves – a question mark besides certain fields provides a useful explanation. Best, you can save the information you inputted in your computer.

What’s bad: Although the interface is neat, there’s little visual interest without charts.

Interesting calculator: Deductible Alimony Calculator

Recommendation: Browse it

7. MSN Money

moneycentral.msn.com/help/tools.asp

What’s good: Has a pretty okay collection of calculators mixed with fun pop quizzes.

What’s bad: Although the interface is neat, there’s little visual interest without charts.

Interesting calculator: Buy a Scooter

Recommendation: Browse it

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