If you are new to investing you may not know how investing works or what it exactly entails. It sounds easy but if you have no clue what it actually means to invest or how investing makes you money, you may avoid it altogether.
If you invested $1,000 in Amazon when it first went public in 1997 , it would be worth over $1 million dollars today. Please note that not many people would have stuck with the stock for the last 20 plus years to ride out the lows to get to where it’s at today but this is an example of compound interest at work. I am using Amazon as an example because it has been one of those stock success stories that people look to replicate but if it was that easy to make millions we would all be millionaires so please keep in mind that Amazon is quite the anomaly. I chose this example to show you how compound interest can work wonders and since it is a company that most people know it is easy to follow along. Although, there is more to the high returns with Amazon stock I just want to focus on compound interest for this blog post because it really is the reason people risk investing their money.
A simple way to explain compound interest is “interest on interest”. It is where interest is calculated on the initial principle amount plus any previous interest you accumulated. The compound frequency varies depending on the type of account you have your money in. The compounding frequency can be daily, weekly, quarterly semiannual, annually or continuously. If you are still lost to what any of this means please see the following example below to help you get a better understanding of how this works.
Let’s say you invest $100 in an account with an annual/yearly 10% interest rate. If you initially invested $100 , your money would now be worth $110 at the end of the year. The following year, you make another 10% return on your money which would now leave you with $121.00 at the end of that second year. The $121.00 in the second year was calculated by taking the initial principle amount you invested the year before of $100 plus the 10% interest which was $10.00 totaling $110 and adding another 10% to that amount. You can do the same thing for the following year and add 10% to the $121.00 from the second year so that by the end of the third year your money is now worth $133.10. It may not sound like a lot but if you keep that money in that same account for 20 years without touching it that money will be worth $672.75. Most people would continue to add money to the account and not just make one deposit. This is where the magic of compound interest can help you build a nice size nest egg for retirement or any large purchase you may be planning. If you continue to add money to that account over the 20 years you will have a nice amount of money to fall back on. Let’s say after your initial investment of $100, you continue to add $1,500 to the account annually for 20 years from the date you made the initial investment. Your account would be worth $86,585.25. There are many different investment vehicles and I would recommend researching this information in books or online immediately. The earlier you start, the easier it will be for your money to grow. If you have 30 years until you retire you can invest less money over time than if you wait until later on in life and have to play catch up by putting away much more just to be able to enjoy a comfortable retirement.
If you have any questions please feel free to ask below. You can also google compound interest calculators if you want to play with different numbers and lengths of times to see how much money you can have in the future if you start investing now.