“Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it … he who doesn’t … pays it.
Compound interest is the most powerful force in the universe.
Compound interest is the greatest mathematical discovery of all time.”
~Albert Einstein (source: quotesonfinance website)
I’ve been amazed at the power of compounding ever since my mom explained the Rule of 72 to me many years ago. This simple exercise shows how long it will take for your money to double at a particular interest rate. Divide the expected interest rate into 72 and you have an approximation of how long it will take for your investment to double at the given interest rate. For example, if your projected return is 9 percent, then you divide 9 into 72 and the result is 8. According to the rule of 72, it will take approximately 8 years for your money to double at a 9 percent interest rate.
More recently – as I see the traditional retirement age coming into view- I’m doing some portfolio analysis to assess our financial picture now and into the future. One of the thing that amazes me is a particular TIAA CREF retirement account I contributed to decades ago when I worked at San Diego State University. I contributed to this account during my ten years of employment and invested 75 percent of my allocation in a diversified stock fund and 25 percent in a fixed option. After those ten years were up, I never contributed again nor did I change the asset allocation.
Several decades later, the account value has increased 6 times. That means if I invested $35,000 during those ten years, that account would be worth $210,000 today. It still amazes me as I write this article how a mere $300 or so dollars per month invested conservatively for ten years grew to a respectable sum. When calculating the annual average rate of return on that account, it was approximately 6.75 percent. This is a very attainable rate of return. Read More