The Internet is awash with useful calculators readily available at no cost. But of course Web resources are moving targets. So here are the latest links to useful calculators.

This list updates those found in “Web Based Calculators – Part 1,” my Technology Review newsletter discussing calculators to assist a trusts and estates practice and “Web Based Calculators – Part 2,” my Tech Review examining calculators related to retirement planning. These and many other calculators are listed and categorized in my book, (available in both hard copy and as an electronic file) The Electronic Practice.

Here, too, are additional links by category to online calculators related to estate, retirement and financial planning. I’ve also provided corrections and updates on calculators listed in the previous Tech Reviews. All calculators that we link to here are free, unless otherwise mentioned. (Click on any blue, underlined text to launch the website described.)

Some of these calculators and other resources may be suitable to bring to the attention of your clients as part of the client education process.

Corrections and Updates:

The Bureau of Public Debt website is now TreasuryDirect. Its calculating tools include the online Savings Bond Calculator that computes the value of EE, E and I bonds as well as Savings Notes. The Savings Bond Wizard software helps you inventory and value United States Savings Bonds. The Estimation Calculators address the growth, savings and tax advantages of savings bonds.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (formerly the National Association of Securities Dealers) offers a variety of financial, college, retirement and investment calculators for investors.

The Cost-of-Living Calculator uses the Bureau of Labor statistics to convert dollar values between different years in order to compare the real buying power of historical dollar amounts, adjusted for inflation.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration supplies a variety of cost and price inflation calculators using a number of indices.

The Horizon Financial Planning and Calculators.com calculators are no longer available.

Collections of Mortgage, Financial and Tax Calculators:

Advanced Markets Online furnishes a comprehensive collection of calculators for investment; retirement (including 401(k) and 72t calculators); income and estate tax estimation; savings; personal finance; life (and other) insurance; business (valuation, buy vs. lease, financial ratios); and mortgage/auto loans.

Mortgage Loan.com features numerous calculators that perform every conceivable mortgage-related calculation. It also has calculators for home equity; CD/investment returns; debt/credit optimizing and payoff; student loans; personal finance; income tax and retirement (401(k), minimum distribution requirements (MDRs), 72t, Roth and traditional IRAs). The calculators are available as widgets that can be added to your website.

The Giamarco, Mullins & Horton website presents calculators on business valuation; personal finance (health savings accounts, life insurance needs, savings); loan amortization and comparison; college savings; retirement (savings, IRAs, MDRs, Social Security and others); and estate tax planning. The website includes detailed explanations of calculations and calculating concepts with helpful graphic displays.

ReBuz Mortgage Calculator Tools has a variety of calculations relating to mortgage loans and loan amortization, with schedules.

Bloomberg.com offers calculators for auto financing, currency conversion, investments, mortgages, retirement and savings.

AOL WalletPop has calculators for the consumer calculation of mortgage/auto loans, retirement (including Roth IRAs), college planning, savings and a variety of personal finance issues.

Calculators-Financial.com has many mortgage, personal, investment, retirement and lease calculators for consumers.

Savings and Retirement Calculations:

Interest.Com Mortgage and Financial Calculators presents a variety of on-line pension and retirement calculations for consumers. It includes calculators and explanations for CDs, MDRs, Roth IRA conversions, retirement payouts and withdrawal penalties.

The Entrust Learning Center presents several retirement calculators as well as Roth and traditional calculators, with nice graphics.

Firecalc provides an interesting and sophisticated online tool for calculating the goal-based effects of early retirement for a suggested donation of $5 per use.

Financial Calculators:

MoneyChimp includes calculators for future values adjusted for inflation, compound interest, Social Security contributions, investing methodologies, bond yields and other financial calculators.

EH.net provides a variety of ways to calculate the relative value of U.S. dollars, British pounds and other currencies over time. It also provides exchange rates between U.S. dollars and other countries.

Life Insurance:

THEInsuranceAdvisor.com website includes the Policy Pricing Calculator, which computes premiums, premium loads, cost of insurance charges, policy administration expenses, cash-value-based “wrap-fees,” cash values and death benefits for hypothetical policies.

Farmers Insurance Group furnishes a sophisticated life insurance needs calculator that generates line graphs and extensive tabular reports.

MSN Money – Life insurance Needs Estimator is a tool that walks the user through a capital needs analysis based on the user’s current financial situation.

Advanced Markets Online Calculators provide a variety of calculators for life insurance comparisons and calculations, including needs analysis, as well as investment, retirement savings and planning calculators.

AOL WalletPop calculators for life insurance needs include the return on whole life, universal life and variable life insurance and comparisons of term and other types of insurance.

Cost-of-Living Calculators:

The Department of Labor website supplies the U.S. Consumer Price Indices.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis website compares the worth of a dollar between years using the Consumer Price Index.

The American Institute for Economic Research compares the cost of living between designated years based on the Consumer Price Index.

Tom’s Inflation Calculator lets you choose U.S. Price Inflation, U.S. Wage Inflation or U.S. Medical Cost Inflation data sets to compare between years.

Income and Estate Tax Calculations:

The CalcXML Federal Income Tax Estimator provides a quick estimate of tax liability along with the average and marginal tax rates.

For withholding taxes, see the comprehensive Internal Revenue Service Witholding Calculator.

The IRS also offers its Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) Assistant to determine whether an individual taxpayer is subject to AMT.

BankSite.com computes the effect of IRA/401(k) growth, life insurance and other personal assets on your estate tax, with a yearly schedule.

SmartMoney offers their Estate Tax Exposure Meter for consumers. Based on groups of asset values, it gives a quick estimate of the current year estate tax for single or married persons.

Life Expectancy:

Living to 100 asks 40 questions related to life expectancy and states that it “uses the most current and carefully researched medical and scientific data in order to estimate how old you will live to be.”

Dean P. Foster (Professor, University of Pennsylvania), Chua Choong Tze (Assistant Professor, Singapore Management University) and Lyle H. Unger (Associate Professor, University of Pennsylvania) publish a How Long Will You Live? calculator using both current life expectancy tables and adjustments for life style.

MSN Money has a life expectancy calculator, which accounts for a number of life style factors.

Online State Tax Department Calculators:

Some state tax departments have prepared state estate tax calculators and furnish them online. Examples are:

The Illinois Decedents Estate Tax Calculator performs the circular calculation of state estate tax, with deduction of the state estate tax from the state tax base, circular calculation of the federal estate tax limitation and that generation of an audit.

The Minnesota Estate Tax Calculators compute the federal estate tax and state estate tax credit from the federal gross estate with the tax rates frozen at the pre-Economic Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act federal state death tax credit rates. The calculator is appropriate for other decoupled states having similar state estate tax methodology.

Planned Giving Calculations:

Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund presents a generic Charitable Planning Calculator that demonstrates the tax minimization effects of charitable giving and a Securities Donation Calculator that assesses the advantages of giving securities.

IRA, Roth, Stretch IRA, 401(k), 72t and Retirement Planning Calculators:

Retirementcalculatorguide.info is a website with comprehensive links to calculators for retirement, 401(k) plans, annuities, IRAs, pensions, fixed incomes, retirement investing, Roth IRAs and Social Security.

Calculators for IRA selection, IRA beneficiary planning (with tax deferral options), MRDs, IRA Rollover planning, Roth Conversions, payout projections and a payout calculator are available on the Scottrade website.

KJE Computer Solutions supplies a calculator comparing performance of Roth and traditional IRAs, with graphics.

The 401k Help Center offers a detailed 401(k) plan analysis.

Denise Appleby’s website lists and describes links to a number of retirement software packages and calculators.

The Ameriprise Financial website includes a Monte Carlo calculator for estimating how long a retirement nest egg will last and other personal retirement calculators.

The CCH Financial Planning Toolkit provides a tool for calculating the structure of payments to avoid the 10 percent early distribution penalty.

iPhone Calculators:

Various calculators for the iPhone (including calculators for 401(k) plans, loans, mortgages, compound interest, 401(k) forecasts, reverse mortgages, currency conversions, student loans and college savings) are available at Apple webapps.

Sophisticated Math and Statistics Calculations:

Martindale’s Calculators On-Line Center is the mother lode of calculators. It has thousands of calculators for every conceivable math, financial, business and statistics calculation.

Bottom Line:

When you need a quick calculating fix, check out the Web. The online calculators listed in this newsletter perform useful financial, retirement and pension planning calculations that may not be included in commercial software packages, or that may be more convenient for some of your uses than those included in a software program. They also provide a way to check calculations made by other online calculators, or by financial, retirement and pension planning software. See “Web Based Calculators – Part 1” for how to create a quick desktop reference to your favorite calculator.

Trusts & Estates magazine is pleased to present the monthly Technology Review by Donald H. Kelley—a respected connoisseur of the software and Internet resources wealth management advisors use to further their practices.
Kelley is a lawyer living in Highlands Ranch, Colo. and is of counsel to the law firm of Kelley, Scritsmier & Byrne, P.C. of North Platte, Neb. He is the co-author of the Intuitive Estate Planner Software, (Thomson – West 2004). He has served on the governing boards of the American Bar Association Real Property Probate and Trust Section and the American College of Tax Counsel. He is a past regent and past chair of the Committee on Technology in the Practice of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel.
Trusts & Estates has asked Kelley to provide his unvarnished opinions on the tech resources available in the practice today. His columns are edited for readability only. Send feedback and suggestions for articles directly to him at dhkelley@qwestoffice.net.