If you’re interested in investing and want to know how compound interest works, this article explains **how does compounding interest work**?.

Compounding interest is one of the most powerful financial tools. It is the amount of interest earned on the principal plus all the previously earned interest. It is used in compound interest tables to calculate interest. For example, if you deposit $1000 into a savings account that pays 10 percent interest per annum simple interest, after one year you will have $1,100 in the account. With compound interest, $110 in interest is added to $1000, so you end up with $1110 in the account after one year.

Compound interest is really simple to understand when you look at the formula and can have a big impact on your savings. In this blog we will explain what is compound interest, *How Does Compounding Interest work*? and why it’s so vital to your retirement fund.

## What is compound interest?

Compound interest is the interest on interest. It’s the process of earning interest on whatever money you invested in something. It’s one of the most important tools the wealthy use to get rich. The best part is, you can use this tool to build an immense amount of wealth if you know how to use it.

Compound interest occurs when interest gets added to the principal amount invested or borrowed, and then the interest rate applies to the new (larger) principal. This means that the interest that has been paid during the early years of a loan is used to pay off the interest on the loan and the loan amount grows faster and faster. This article discusses the basics of compound interest, and how it can be used to grow your savings or investments over time.

## How does compound interest work?

It is important to understand how does compounding interest works because it can have a dramatic effect on how much money you will earn in a savings account. If you have $100 in a savings account and earn 5% compound interest per year, after the first year you will have $105. After the second year, you will have $110.25. You can see how fast the interest starts to add up. After 10 years, you will have $110.92. After 20 years, you will have $111.88, and after 30 years you will have $113.43.

Let’s take a look at another example.

**Example:** if you deposit $1,000 in a bank and the bank pays 6% interest compounded annually, you would earn $60 in the interest the first year. In the second year, you would earn $60 in interest on the $1,060 total you have, which means you’d earn $1,120 in interest. The key to understanding here is the interest is calculated on the total, which is the initial investment plus the interest earned in the previous year. That’s how compound interest works. When you earn simple interest, you’re only earning interest on the principal, not the interest you earned in the previous period.

## How does compound interest work in real life?

The way compound interest works in real life is based on an example. Below is a table outlining the results of a $10,000 investment that earns 15% over 5 years. The table demonstrates how the interest is compounded annually, semi-annually, quarterly, monthly, daily, and continuously. The last row demonstrates how the total balance increases when the interest is compounded continuously.

Did you know that if you put $5,000 into a savings account earning at a 5% APR and leave it there for 20 years, you’d have over $15,000? If you never touched the money, this would be true. But what if you made another deposit of the same amount every three months? Or every month? The results would be even more impressive.

## Compound Interest Table

Year | Balance | Total Interest |

1 | $10,000 | $1,500 |

2 | $10,450 | $3,845 |

3 | $10,903 | $6,899 |

4 | $11,356 | $10,903 |

5 | $11,811 | $15,420 |

6 | $12,280 | $23,907 |

7 | $12,800 | $33,903 |

8 | $13,306 | $48,062 |

9 | $13,818 | $64,482 |

10 | $14,383 | $84,232 |

## Advantages of Compounding Interest

Compound interest has its advantages for both banks and borrowers. Banks do not charge compound interest on deposits, but they do pay it to depositors, which is why many people keep a significant percentage of their assets in savings accounts or in longer-term investments like CDs or money-market funds. Compound interest can crush the hopes of an investor who is used to saving small amounts throughout the beginning. An initial investment with little growth will barely make an impact because of the minor amount being added each month.

Compound interest is usually applied to savings, and it refers to the way a person’s initial investment earns interest from periodic deposits that increase the total amount of their investment without them doing anything beyond leaving their money alone. But compound interest can also work against investors if they withdraw funds before earning a significant amount of interest on those funds.

## Disadvantages of Compounding Interest

One of the downsides of compound interest is that it works in favor of financial institutions and against borrowers.

Compound interest helps lenders make money, but it can also cause student loans or credit card debt to grow out of control over time. When you are paying down a loan or credit card, the interest is calculated before you’ve sent in your payment. If you are ever late with a payment, your rate of return will decrease, and compound interest can cost you more money.

The biggest challenge is that the benefits of this type of interest can apply to financial institutions and credit card companies, as well as consumers. Lenders and credit card issuers can apply compound interest to the repayment of student loans and credit card debt. This interest can grow out of control over time, especially for consumers paying the minimum monthly amount on these bills.

## Compound Interest and Simple Interest Difference

When you and I talk about interest, we’re almost always talking about compound interest. But there’s another kind of interest that can be charged on a loan: simple interest. While the difference between compound interest and simple interest lies in the way in which the interest is generated, it’s important to understand both types of interest so that you know what you’re getting into when you borrow money or invest capital.

**Simple Interest Defined**

Simple interest is calculated annually, based only on the loan or debt principal amount, and typically applies to mortgages, personal loans, or credit card balances. It is the easiest form of interest to calculate since it does not change over time. For example, if you borrow $1000 for 5 years at a 10% simple rate of interest, your total interest cost would be $500 ($1000 * 0.10 * 5). The borrower benefits from simple interest since he/she is only paying interest charges on the principal.

**Compound Interest Defined**

Compound interest refers to the process of generating earnings on an asset’s reinvested earnings in addition to its principal amount. This means that with each compounding period, the asset’s earnings are added to its principal so that it

## How to take advantage of compound interest?

It’s a simple concept with incredible results: If you invest $100 a month from ages 25-35 and then stop contributing, you’ll have $1.2 million by age 65, assuming an 8% rate of return.

So how can you take advantage of this time-tested strategy for building wealth? Here are three tips:

**Invest early –** the longer your money is invested, the more time it has to grow. When it comes to compounding returns, time is an advantage.

**Contribute regularly –** regardless of the amount – the important thing is to start and be consistent. Even small contributions made each month will grow. You can increase your contributions as your financial situation changes throughout your life.

**Don’t take money out –** as your savings grow and earn compound returns, the gains made through compounding will also help you build your wealth.

**Conclusion**

Ultimately, it seems like compound interest is a double-edged sword. It can either work for you (with investments) or against you (with debt). If you want to get ahead, you simply have to be smart about how you’re using it. The most important thing, as mentioned at the beginning, is to understand compound interest as best as possible so that you know how to use it to your advantage. Having a firm grasp of it will keep it from beating you over the head, and allow you to make the most of it with your own finances.