What Is Compound Interest?

When it comes to money management, compound interest is a must-know concept. It can help you make a larger return on your savings and investments, but it can also work against you when you have a loan with interest.

Learn how compound interest works, how it’s calculated, and how to use it to maximize your assets with this simple yet powerful idea.

Definition and Examples of Compound Interest

Consider compound interest in the same way that the “snowball effect” occurs. A snowball begins little, but when more snow is added, it grows larger. It gets bigger at a faster rate as it increases.

Interest generated on the original principal plus accumulated interest is referred to as compound interest. You’re not only getting interested on your initial deposit, but you’re also earning interest on your interest.

How Does Compound Interest Work?

To grasp the concept of compound interest, first grasp the concept of simple interest: You put money in the bank, and the bank gives you interest.

For example, if you get 5% yearly interest on a $100 deposit, you will receive $5 after a year. What will happen next year? Compounding comes into play here. You’ll earn interest on both your initial deposit and the interest you’ve already earned.

Because your account balance is now $105, rather than $100, the interest you earn in the second year will be higher. Even if you don’t make any further deposits, compound interest will boost your earnings.

Year One: A $100 deposit generates 5% interest, or $5, raising your total balance to $105.

Year two: Your $105 yields 5% interest, or $5.25, for the second year. The total amount due to you is $110.25.

Year three: Your balance of $110.25 gets 5% interest, or $5.51, for the third year. Your account balance rises to $115.76.

This is an example of yearly compounded interest. Many banks, particularly online banks, compound interest daily and add it to your account monthly, making the process even faster.

Compounding, on the other hand, works against you and in favor of your lender if you are borrowing money. On the money you’ve borrowed, you have to pay interest. If you haven’t paid off your debt in full by the end of the month, you’ll owe interest on the amount you borrowed plus the interest you’ve incurred.

Compound Interest Formula

Compound interest can be calculated in a variety of ways. Learning how to do it yourself might provide you with vital insight into how to meet your savings objectives while being realistic. Examine a few “what-if” scenarios using different numbers whenever you run calculations to see what would happen if you saved a bit more or earned interest for a few more years.

Some people choose to examine the figures in greater depth by completing their own calculations. You can calculate exponents with a financial calculator that provides storage facilities for formulas or a normal calculator with a key.

Use the following formula to calculate compound interest:


Fill in the following variables to use this calculation:

A: The total amount you’ll have.

P: The principal refers to your initial deposit.

r: the annual interest rate, expressed as a decimal.

n: the annual number of compounding periods (for example, monthly is 12, and weekly is 52).

t: the duration of time (in years) it takes for your money to compound.

For Example

You have $1,000 that is compounded monthly at 5%. After 15 years, how much money will you have?

  1. A = P (1 + [ r / n ]) ^ nt
  2. A = 1000 (1 + [.05 / 12]) ^ (12 * 15)
  3. A = 1000 (1.0041666…) ^ (180)
  4. A = 1000 (2.113703)
  5. A = 2113.70

You’d have about $2,114 after 15 years. Due to rounding, your final number may differ somewhat. The $1,000 represents your initial deposit, while the $1,114 represents interest.

Final Thoughts

Compounding is undoubtedly one of the most significant components of compounding, which is why young people should open investing accounts. Start making use of the power of compound interest and compound investment income right away so you don’t miss out on the chance to expand your savings. It is for this reason that you should begin investing as soon as possible. Make sure you choose a bank that gives a reasonable interest rate for your daily banking.

On the other hand, keep in mind that compound interest has a negative influence on debts. It has the potential to turn a manageable credit card amount into something more difficult to pay down. If you have credit card debt, think about some creative strategies to pay it off quickly. Focus on compound interest’s potential to supercharge your savings over time to make it work for you.

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