Welcome to the first ever blog written by Sage Personal Finance!
We hope to compile some information each month that helps you become (or continue to be) a wise financial planner. As a person who enjoys working with data and usually needs to be shown actual numbers to be convinced about anything, I thought I would compile a list of some helpful on-line calculators and describe how they might help you make sound financial decisions.
1) To Buy or Lease a Car? http://www.bankrate.com/calculators/auto/lease-buy-car.aspx. Nearly everyone will have to make this decision at some point in their lives. Often, it comes down to how long you plan on keeping the car that you buy/lease. If you keep cars for 10+ years before moving on to a newer model, it may be cheaper to buy than to lease. Also, your lease may or may not include maintenance costs—if it does, that could save you a lot of money if your car needs repairs down the road. Sales tax rates also vary from state to state and may greatly affect the amount you could pay for a car out-the-door.
2) How Long Will it Take to Pay Off My Credit Card(s)? http://cgi.money.cnn.com/tools/debtplanner/debtplanner.jsp This is a sobering exercise! The average person has a few thousand dollars in credit card debt. If you enter in say $3000 in credit card debt, put in $300 as a minimum monthly payment, at 15% interest, it will take you 3 years and 4 months to pay off the bill, and you will wind up paying $367 in interest.
3) How Large of a House Loan Can I Afford? http://realestate.yahoo.com/calculators/afford.html Now is a pretty good time to consider buying a house, since housing prices and loan interest rates (30 year-fixed at around 3.9%) are low. This calculator allows you to input your income and expenses and it will tell you the amount of monthly mortgage payment you can afford. It suggests not carrying a mortgage over about 30% of your monthly income.
4) How Long Will I Live? http://www.livingto100.com/calculator/age If you want to plan for retirement, take this quiz to see how long you will be around. If you don’t smoke, eat well, and have long-life genes, you might need to save more to ensure the funds are there for you well into your 90’s.