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Investment Calculator

When deciding to save for your future, one major step is figuring out just how much you can set aside for an investment plan. But if you don't have much money left over at the end of the month after paying expenses, putting aside money for retirement savings may feel unattainable. That’s when it’s particularly helpful to reconsider your budget to reshape your financial future.

The key is understanding just how much you are spending each month on non-essential expenses. Use our investment calculator to really look at where your money is going, and what would happen if you used those funds for retirement savings instead. Once you understand where you can save and reallocate money towards your investment plan, building your nest egg won’t seem so impossible.

 

 

 

How to use our investment calculator:

 

Step 1: Input your recurring expenses.

This calculator allows you to visualize how reducing or eliminating recurring services or subscriptions can free up money you can then use to invest. Even minor changes to your budget can yield incredible results when you invest the money instead of spending it.

Many consumers sign up for subscriptions and services, stop using them and then forget about it. Using this calculator can show the benefits of regularly culling your subscription list – while also reminding you of services you might want to cancel.

In this section, you’ll input how much you spend every month on various non-essential items. The categories include:

  • Dining out
  • Cable tv
  • Internet
  • Gym membership
  • Newspaper subscription
  • Magazine subscription
  • Online streaming services
  • Online subscription services
  • Others

To select a particular service, click on the box until it’s highlighted. You can click on as few or as many boxes as you want. After you click on the box, input the monthly expense amount for that category.

If you’re not sure how much you spend in each category, examine your credit card and bank account transactions from the past year. Open a spreadsheet or use a pen and paper to write down all the recurring services and subscriptions. Sometimes you might pay for a whole year of service upfront. Make sure to include these yearly memberships in your calculation.

When you’ve gone through the whole year, sort each expense into categories.

Add up these expenses to find the yearly total for each group and divide it by 12 to calculate the monthly average. Use that monthly figure when you’re inputting numbers into the calculator.

It’s important to go through a full year of credit card and bank transactions because some services, like magazines, only bill once a year. You should also scan your transactions from apps, which may include recurring expenses that you split with a friend or partner.

 

Step 2: What if you invested instead?

Once you’ve input all the relevant categories, the calculator will automatically show how much you spend on the various services over time.

The calculator will include the following results:

  • Total spending per month
  • Total spending over 1 year
  • Total spending over 10 years
  • Total spending over 30 years

Next, if you click on the “See Now” button on the bottom right, you’ll be taken to the next page. The calculator shows an example how much an investment account could be worth in 30 years if you had invested all of the money instead of spending it on services.

Of course, you cannot abandon all your monthly expenses. You can then click back to the previous page. If, instead, you decide you want to cut half of the cable bill, you can remove your other costs. Click the “See Now” button again to calculate the long-term impact of investing that half of the cable bill you want to cut. By playing with the tool, you can determine how much a cut in each category could help your retirement savings or investments.

The results will show that you don’t need to invest thousands of dollars every month to end up with a large portfolio.

 

Step 3: Send yourself the results

Users can create a free Prudential profile to save the results and have them emailed to you by clicking the “Save/Send My Results” button at the bottom of the page. You’ll need to supply your first and last name, email address and password to make a profile.

The calculator assumes a 6% annual cost increase, which accounts for companies raising the cost of investing services over time. The calculator also uses a 3% rate of growth compounded annually, which is intended to represent the kind of return rate an average investor can expect.1

If you’re ready to reallocate some of your discretionary money toward stocks, bonds, real estate or another asset class, you can find a Prudential professional to help you set up an account. Look for a professional near you who specializes in investments and retirement.

 

Related investment pages

The Basics of Saving and Investing

Investing consistently over time can lead to a sizeable nest egg. But make sure you know the difference between stashing cash into savings and investing it.

The Economic and Stock Market Terms You Should Know

It’s like learning a new language when you decide to invest for the first time. We’ll walk you through the main concepts you need to understand as you start investing.

How to Invest in a Downturn

How you act during a stock market downturn can have huge implications for your retirement account. Learn how to stay level-headed even if the market crashes.

 

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What’s Your Investing Age?

The type of companies and asset classes you should invest in depends on your age. Use this tool to see if you’re investing in the right industries for your age bracket.

View financial tools

Still figuring out your financial action plan? Our interactive tools can put you on the right track.

 

Footnotes

  • 1 The invested amount is provided for illustrative purposes and does not reflect an actual investment and there is no guarantee of expected future results.

 

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