Learn To Use A



Learn To Use A Financial Calculator

By Trevor Calton. Last updated 2/XX/2020.

The most important tool in your toolbox is the financial calculator.


If you are serious about learning commercial real estate, you’ll need to know how to use financial functions on a calculator. If not, you will be at a disadvantage against your competitors for a few reasons.


In commercial real estate, you will look at hundreds of deals. And each one will have its information presented in a different way. This makes it important that you understand the concepts behind the numbers. Otherwise, you may not be able to decipher them. To compare investments, you'll need to analyze the numbers and standardize the information. This will allow you to compare apples to apples.

What Is Different About a Financial Calculator?


Financial calculators are those that have the Time Value of Money functions:


  • N (Number of Periods)

  • I (Interest Rate)

  • PV (Present Value)

  • PMT (Payment)

  • FV (Future Value)


The best financial calculators also use Reverse Polish Notation, or RPN. RPN calculators allow you to run complex algebra without stopping in the middle of an equation to record your answer. For most people, this means faster calculations.


These calculators are available at most office supply stores, or you can download one on most smartphones. And many of my students have found them used online for as little as $5 or $10.

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Trevor Calton

President of Evergreen Capital

Commercial Real Estate Investment Advisor

Professor of Real Estate Finance

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