Which calculator should I use?Solutions for Your Commonly Asked Questions


Often we are asked what calculator should be used to solve a particular problem. Below, we've arranged commonly asked questions into groups, and then we suggest the most appropriate calculator to solve the problem.

The Most Commonly Asked Questions

Q. We are a lender. Do you have software for calculating a mortgage or loan payoff amount?

Q. I've lent some money and now the borrower is paying me back irregularly. Do you have a loan management program that will allow me to record the payments as I receive them and show the balance due?

Q. I've borrowed some money and now the lender says I owe them more than I think I owe them. Do you have a program that will calculate the loan balance?

A. Yes, to all three questions. The C-Value! Program for Windows will do what you want. You can also try the online Ultimate Financial Calculator. It too calculates loan payoff amounts, but you'll not be able to save your entries. However, you will be able to see if C-Value! will meet your needs as the two calculators have the same capabilities. I've prepared this detail loan payoff tutorial showing you how you can use the Ultimate Financial Calculator to track any loan and calculate the balance.

Q. How do I calculate my annualized rate of return (or the gross return for that matter) on my stock, option, bond and/or mutual fund investments?

A. Use the Internal Rate of Return (IRR) Calculator. Click on the calculator's Help button for a specific discussion of how to setup this calculation.

Q. How do I plan financially for my retirement, a college education or any other large expense?

A. Three answers and they are all free calculators. Depending on your exact needs you should try the Online Ultimate Investment Calculator (optionally allows for taxes, inflation and fees), the Online Ultimate Financial Calculator (supports irregular investing) and the Online Retirement Calculator.

General Financial Planning


Q. I just received a $100.00 a week raise. How much will it be worth if I save $60 of it each week after 10 years?

A. Future Value Schedule.

Q. My child will be going to college in 12 years. What will I need to save quarterly so that I have the money when I need it?

A. Payment Required Calculator. Also note that the Annuity Schedule has a goal planning feature.

Q. One investment is quoting me an 'Effective Annual Rate' and another is quoting me the 'Nominal Rate'. Which is the better deal?

A. Use the Equivalent Rate Calculator. in SolveIT!.

Q. I invested $10,000 in the stock market. I sold the stocks in one transaction for $23,687 after 27 months. What was my annual rate of return?

A. Either Return on Investment (ROI) or Internal Rate of Return (IRR).

Q. I lent my nephew $45,000 so that he can start a small business. After a year he will start paying me back $1,067.17 for 48 months. (I'll forgo any interest on the money during the first year.) What is my rate of return.

A. Internal Rate of Return Calculator.

Further explanation: The rate of return is not equal to the interest rate charged on the loan in this case. The Uncle calculated the monthly payment based upon a $45,000 loan at 6.5% paid in 48 periods. However, he was willing to wait one year for the first payment. Therefore there is a year where no interest is being earned on the money.

Q. I need to make a 9% return on my investments to meet my financial goals. I can buy a single family home for cash at $200,000. I plan to rent it for 10 years at $6,000 year (what a bargain!) and then sell it for $220,000. Will I be earning 9% on my investment?

A. Net Present Value Calculator.

Note that this investment does not meet the investor's requirements as the NPV is negative.

Q. A settlement has been offered in a civil court case. The plaintiff can receive either $150,000 as a lump sum or $20,000 for 8 years followed by $10,000 for another 5 years. Which offer should be accepted base on the total return?

A. Present Value of a Series Schedule

Q. I'm going to be retiring in 20 years. I believe that I can save $1,000 every other month now and in 5 years increase that to $1,200 every other month. Then finally in 10 years I will be able to save $2,000 every other month. What will this series of deposits be worth after 5 years, after 10 years and at the end of the 20 years? What happens to my savings if interest rates change during the 20 years?

A. Future Value Schedule

Q. Once I retire, how long will the savings from the above last me if I want to withdrawal $2,500 a month and I think that I'll be earning 8% on the money? How much will I have after 10 years?

A. Annuity Schedule

Q. I run a small retail business and I need to borrow $50,000 for 70 days to finance my extra inventory for the end of year shopping season. What will the interest charge be, assuming that I can borrow the money at 11.5%?

A. Compound/Simple Interest Calculator

Q. In today's dollars, I project that I will need $2,000 a month to live on in 20 years once I retire. Assuming that there 3% inflation for the next 5 years and then it increases slightly to 4% for the next 15 years, what amount will I need to equal the purchasing power of the $2,000 in 20 years? (The answer may surprise you.)

A. Inflation Calculator

Q. How much am I worth today?

A. Net Worth Calculator

General Business Questions

Q. Our small business is considering launching a new product. How many of the items do we have to sell to recover our costs?

A. Use the Break Even Point Adviser in the SolveIT! program.

Q. Should we lease our office furniture or finance it? How will depreciation impact this analysis?

A. Use the Lease vs Buy Adviser in the SolveIT! program.

Loan Planning

Q. One mortgage company is offering me a loan for $150,000 at 8.5% with 0 points. Another mortgage company is offering me a loan for the same amount at 8% but it has 3 points payable up front. Which is the most advantageous loan? Is the answer to this question impacted if I decide to only live in the home for 5 years (thus possibly not recouping the cost of the points)?

A. Use the Loan Comparison Adviser in SolveIT!.

Q. If I wanted to see how much interest I can save on a loan if I make an extra $100 a month principal payment, what calculator should I use?

A. Accelerated Payment Calculator.

Q. What if I want to make an occasional (random) extra payment toward a loan, how much will I save?

A. C-Value! or SolveIT!.

Q. I need to give my clients a Regulation Z APR Disclosure Statement. Can I do this?

A. Yes. Once again, use C-Value! or SolveIT!.

Q. How much money can I borrow if I can pay $1,250 a month and the rate is 6.5%?

A. Loan Calculator or if you want to have control over the starting date use the amortization schedule

Q. My husband and I have had our eyes on this home. The price has just been dropped to $375,000. Can we afford this?

A. Affordable House Calculator and Budget Calculator

If we didn't answer your question, feel free to ask it below.


6 Comments on “What Calculator”

Join the conversation. Tell me what you think.
  • Tima Ebell Anderson says:


    We like your web site and the ease of using the calculator and its completeness in the output it produces, especially for your loan amoritization calculator. My question is if I began my payment schedule in 2019 and run it for say 60 months does the calculations for payments take into account that 2020 is a leap year with 29 days in February rather than 28?

    • Thank you. The answer to your question is, it depends. It depends on the compounding method selected. If you select a compounding frequency based on either weeks or months, then the answer is now. That’s because all months are assumed to be the same length. However, if you select either daily or exact date / simple compound (or continuous) then the answer is yes. These frequencies use exact day counts.

  • Do C-Value and SolveIT have automatic updates and bug repairs? Do they require an annual payment or are they a one time purchase?

    • I’m not sure by what you mean by "automatic" exactly. If either is upgraded, a user would have to download and install the update. So I guess you would not call that automatic.

      The price you see $49 / $69 respectively, is a one time charge for the current major version 2.x / 6.x. Updates within the major version are free. When I make a major release, 3.0 / 7.0, those upgrades will most certainly not be free. What will they cost? I have no idea. Prices are set until an update is completed.

  • I m thinking of investing Rs.2.5 million for the next 6 years . and concerned company will pay me back around 23 million. which calculator ishould use calculate my annual return.

    • Is this one investment, and then you wait 6 years, or are their additional investments? If there are additional investments and you want to know your rate-of-return, use this IRR calculator. If there is a single investment, you use the IRR calculator for a single investment too, but the ROI calculator is a bit less involved and it is designed explicitly for one-time-investments.

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