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What should I look for in a good Mortgage Calculator?

Mortgage payment arrangements can be engineered in a number of ways, and a good mortgage calculator will give you enough flexibility to input the terms of your own. Ideally a mortgage calculator will be flexible enough to let you input the following: an adjustable rate, a rate cap, optional mortgage “acceleration” payments, balloon payments and resets, impound account calculations which take into account the property taxes and insurance you pay, as well as calculations which take any origination fees into account. Continue reading...

What should I look for in a good “Rent or Own a House” calculator?

The decision process to rent or own a home can be made a little easier with a good rent-or-own calculator. In the ideal “Rent or Own a House” comparison calculator, you should be able to input the following: an assumed appreciation rate for residential real estate in the area, the cost of maintaining an owned home, rent increases, and potential tax benefits of owning versus renting. Make sure to use realistic or even pessimistic assumptions on the inputs, because once time has passed there will be no way to fix overly optimistic assumptions. Continue reading...

What should I look for in a good “Lease or Buy a Car” calculator?

Calculators are available to help you decide whether to lease or buy a car. Despite the advice of our older family members, many financial decisions will benefit from the use of math and technology, instead of just “rules of thumb,” and they will depend on the circumstances present at the time of the decision. Despite the fact that you may have purchased a vehicle or two in the past, you might benefit from using an online calculator that can help you compare whether it might be in your best interest to lease the vehicle this time or buy it. Continue reading...

What should I look for in a good Investment Performance Evaluation calculator?

A good investment performance calculator will give you the ability to input various cash flow scenarios and compute weighted returns, among other options. A really useful investment performance calculator will allow you to input various cash flow scenarios and to see weighted returns based on these. Dollar-and-time-weighted performance, dividend cash flows, deposits and withdrawals, as well as fees paid for various transactions, will all be incorporated in a good calculator. Continue reading...

What is a Monte Carlo Simulation?

Monte Carlo Simulations can help investors project future values and the impact to portfolios from market movements and cash flows. A Monte Carlo Simulation outlines the many possible outcomes of a situation with random variables, as well as the probability that any particular outcome will occur. It is used in a wide variety of professional fields from finance to engineering and even astrology. The technique has many applications in finance and is commonly used to help predict the future value of an asset when there are multiple variables involved. Continue reading...