Did you know that in any calculator chart, you can input custom numbers if there are blue lines around the boxes? For example, the Life Insurance Values tool has blue lines in the chart, indicating that you can paste your own numbers directly into the chart. This enables you to create varying cash flows if you so desire.
If, for example, you want to illustrate withdrawals from a life insurance policy, you can actually do this in the Life Values tool. We do this to demonstrate the Cash Flow Bridge in the diversification calculator. Note: This is an advanced example, as it requires you to comb through the Market History to ensure that your withdrawals align with down years AFTER you input them into diversification.
Life Values isn't the only place this is possible, however. Remember, if the boxes have blue lines, you can change numbers as you please. You can also fill in formulas if there's math involved in your custom number. To do this, you would click on the box you want, and write your formula with an equal sign first. Example: (=10,000*0.47). The box does the calculation for you.
Copy and Pasting Data
Sometimes, you can only create variable data points if you toggle the right button. For example, in most calculators, you can toggle between a Fixed Interest Rate and Variable Interest Rate. If you choose Variable Interest Rate, the cells will turn blue. You can either manually input them, or you can grab data from the Market History tool.
We often use Market History because while we cannot predict the future, we can look at the past as an indicator of what's possible. This lends credibility to your illustrations, so you can explain to anyone objecting that your numbers are made up—they're not.
First, you'll want to left-click the first cell with the data you want and hold that click. Then, you can drag your cursor down until all the data points that you want from one column are highlighted. Right-click anywhere in the highlighted area and choose copy. Then you can go back to your calculator, like Cash Flow, and right-click the cell where you want that data to start, and select Paste Values. That will fill in the whole column for you.
Note: This is also how you would copy and paste Life Insurance Data from an illustration into your Life Values tool.
If your Years to Illustrate is longer than the years of data you've copied, the last number might repeat itself. If this happens, left-click the box where you want this to stop, hit the backspace button, and then hit enter. This will clear out the cell and everything beneath it.
For more lessons on getting the most from your software, check out the Truth Tips section of the blog.