SMI Financial Tools
Ever try to drive a nail with a wrench? Or turn a screw with a hammer? As any craftsman will attest, having the right tool for the job is critical.
Financial decisions involve many variables, which can make it difficult to identify the best course of action. To help cut through the confusion, this page contains links to more than a dozen excellent financial tools, many of which were developed specifically for SMI web members.
A few tools and calculators from other sites are included as well.
SMI Strategy Allocation Calculators
We created some calculator tools that help you determine how to initially allocate (or rebalance as needed) your total investment among the various recommended funds. They incorporate our risk temperament quiz and the allocation suggestions from our "seasons of life" table. There's one for both the Just-the-Basics and Fund Upgrading strategies.
SMI Personal Portfolio Tracker
With SMI's Portfolio Tracker, you can follow the specific funds available within your retirement plan! Each month you can access a custom report that ranks the funds in your plan. With a single click you'll learn what upgrades should be made in your 401(k) or other retirement-plan portfolio.
SMI Retirement Planning Calculator
This calculator is designed to serve only as a very general tool to help you think through your personal retirement planning responsibilities. It's based on a variety of assumptions concerning inflation and the rates of return you will earn on your investments. The closer you are to retirement, the more accurate it is likely to be. It's a good idea to run the numbers anew every year to keep them reasonably on target. Learn more
SMI Diversification Tool
The SMI Diversification Tool is designed to help you sort through the many portfolio options available to you. The tool, based on historical data from 1996-2009, will give you a rough idea of the returns and volatility to expect from different combinations of asset classes. Simply plug in "what-if-I-did-this" percentages for various theoretical mixes of stock and bond funds. You'll get a good sense of how diversifying your investments in different ways can have a significant impact on your returns. Learn more
SMI Income Portfolio Tools
These tools (one for taxable, one for tax-exempt bond funds) were designed for readers who want to take a more hands-on approach to their fixed-income investing, rather than simply using the Vanguard bond index funds normally recommended by SMI. They help readers see how various combinations of Vanguard bond (and other income-oriented) funds would have performed in the recent past. As explained in this introductory article, the tool for taxable bond funds allows any combination of 15 different income-oriented funds to be entered, then provides the Average, Best, and Worst results of that portfolio combination, for periods of 1-, 3-, and 5-years. It makes experimenting with different combinations of bond funds quick and easy. Try the tools here:
SMI Portfolio Tracking Spreadsheets
If you'd like some help monitoring your portfolio throughout the year, here's a spreadsheet that Austin uses for his own portfolios. On the left side (columns A-G), it shows the portfolio at month-end, then the buy/sell columns (H-I) record any upgrading changes that need to be made, and finally, the right side (K-M) shows what the portfolio will look like after the changes are made. You can tailor the spreadsheet to your personal needs or style.
Getting Started With A Cash Flow Plan
A budget, or a "Cash Flow Plan," is one of the most powerful tools for successful money management. To get started, download the following forms and guidelines. They're free!
It's more enjoyable to give gifts when doing so doesn't trash your finances. This simple form will help you set a gift budget for the year.
Net Worth Statements
Here's a more comprehensive way to think about and calculate your net worth.
Other Resources for Tools and Calculators
There are a variety of tools available on the web, free to use. Here's a few websites and calculators that we think make for good starting points.