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Get ahead of your finances with a financial calculator • Benzinga

A calculator was once a necessity in any math class above elementary school. But now that smartphones are ubiquitous, everyone has a ready-made calculator in their pocket. Sure, it’s not a very fancy calculator, but you really don’t need those graphing functions now that high school geometry is a thing of the past.

However, you may need a calculator again when it comes to taking out a mortgage, paying off credit card debt, or saving for retirement. Financial calculators, like those found on MoneyLion, allow millions of Americans to refine their financial situation through precise measures of future gains or losses. These are quickly becoming crucial in a world where everyone wants their own ‘do it yourself’ financial plan, but you will need to use them properly if you want the information they provide to be of real value.

What is a financial calculator?

A financial calculator is a web-based tool that provides a way for consumers to calculate various rates of return using adjustable inputs. You enter your data in the appropriate spaces on the page and the calculator prepares your range of future results. Financial calculators aren’t perfect for creating these projections, but they’re a great resource for providing rough estimates of important financial decisions.

For example, let’s take a look at the Home Affordability Calculator on the MoneyLion website. Buying a home is one of the most important financial decisions most people will make in their life, and buying too many homes can set your personal finances back for years. But becoming a homeowner is also an emotional decision. A house is a piece of wood and aluminum, but a house is a place where memories and milestones are created. This is why the Home Affordability Calculator is so useful – it removes emotions and relays the facts.

When you use the Home Affordability Calculator, you enter your relevant financial data such as gross monthly income, credit score range, current monthly debts, funds available for a down payment, and area zip code. you want to live in.

The Home Affordability Calculator is just one of many tools that consumers can use to project future financial data. Some of the other calculators on MoneyLion include the Life Insurance Calculator, where you enter data about your age, number of dependents, and current financial assets versus liabilities to determine the type of life insurance policy. to buy and the coverage you will need.

Who needs a financial calculator?

An easier question to answer might be “who doesn’t need a financial calculator”? Unless you have an eidetic memory or a trust fund larger than the Grand Canyon, you will likely find yourself in a scenario where a financial calculator can come in handy. Some of them may include:

  • Build an emergency fund: Being hit by unforeseen expenses, such as medical debts or speeding fines, rains down on your parade of life. MoneyLion’s Rainy Day Fund Calculator helps build emergency savings by factoring in income and expenses and producing a monthly savings rate.
  • Saving for retirement: Few efforts require calculating rates of return more than saving for retirement. Stock prices, economic conditions, and geopolitical issues are all factors beyond our control. But the savings rate and risk tolerance are not. In fact, it’s a good idea to reassess your savings rate and risk tolerance every now and then to make sure you’re still on track to achieving your goals.
  • Insurance purchase: Uh, insurance. What types of insurance policies should you buy? And what coverage do you need? Buying insurance can be a headache, especially since you are buying something that you will hopefully never have to use. But some types of insurance are essential – health, auto, home, and life insurance are essential, especially if you have a loved one or family who depend on your income. MoneyLion’s life and auto insurance calculators help take some of the stress out of the insurance buying experience.

How do financial calculators affect your monthly budget?

A financial calculator isn’t just for big expenses like saving for retirement or buying a home. Sometimes it’s good to have a little help sticking to your budget at the grocery store, the mall, or while shopping online.

Monthly budgets tend to shrink this time of year as holiday shopping begins. A financial calculator can help you stay on track by keeping track of your available spending money and applying it to various needs, such as buying gifts, decorations, or shopping for food. You don’t need the extra stress if you have family in town.

Are financial calculators foolproof?

No of course not. Financial calculators are not all-knowing wizards. These are useful tools for financial decision making. All financial calculators provide is an estimate. For the information to be useful, you need to build it into your own financial plan. And the numbers provided by a financial calculator are not an exact future prediction, just a guess. Use information appropriately and understand the variables involved when making decisions.