What Is Compound Interest?

Updated: January 10, 2023
by TJ Salvatore

Have you ever heard of compound interest? It’s an important concept in financial literacy and one that can have a huge impact on your wealth over time. Compound interest is a type of investment or loan whereby the interest accrues over time, meaning the principal (original amount) plus the accumulated interest grows exponentially. I can explain to you what compound interest is, how it works, and why it’s so important to understand if you want to build wealth. How you can use compound interest is pretty easy - it is to your advantage and ways to make sure you take full advantage of its benefits. So read on.

What Is Compound Interest?

What is Compound Interest?

Compound interest is where you earn interest on your interest. It's what makes savings grow over time. The longer you save, the more compound interest can help your money grow.

Here's an example: Let's say you have $100 in a savings account that pays 2% interest per year. After one year, you'll have $102. And at the end of the second year, you'll have $104.04. That's because in the second year, you not only earned 2% interest on your original $100, but also on the $2 in interest you earned in the first year.

Compounding can help your money grow faster than if you just left it in a savings account that paid simple interest (where you only earn interest on your original investment). Compounding also works with investments like stocks and bonds. Over time, compounding can make a big difference in how much money you have.

The Benefits of Compound Interest

Essentially, compound interest is like being paid to save money. The more money you have in your account, the more interest you earn, and the faster your savings grow. Therefore it’s one of the most powerful methods to expand wealth on capital. It’s how wealthy people become and stay wealthy. If you want to build wealth, compound interest is your friend.

Here are a few benefits of compound interest:

1. It’s Like Being Paid to Save Money

With compound interest, you earn interest on your interest. So, the more money you have in your account, the more interest you earn, and the faster your savings grow.

2. It’s a Powerful Tool for Building Wealth

Compound interest is one of the simplest yet most powerful methods for building wealth. It’s how wealthy people become and stay wealthy. If you want to build wealth, compound interest is your friend.

3. It Works in Your Favor Over Time

The longer your money is invested, the more time it has to grow through compounding. This can result in significant growth over time - even if you don’t make additional contributions to your account.

How To Calculate the Compound Interest

To calculate the compound interest, you need to know the principal amount, the rate of interest, and the number of compounding periods.

The compound interest formula is:

A = P(1 + r/n)^nt


  • A is the final amount including interest
  • P is the original principal amount
  • r is the annual rate of interest (decimal)
  • n represents the number of “compounding” cycles per year
  • t is the number of years 

Compound interest can be calculated for any investment type including savings accounts, bonds, and stocks. This type of interest allows you to earn a return not only on your initial investment (the principal), but also on any previously accumulated interest. This can cause your investment to grow at a much faster rate than if you were earning simple interest.

The Drawbacks of Compound Interest

Compound interest can be a useful tool for growing your wealth over time. However, there are also some potential drawbacks to be aware of before you invest;

  • It can work against you if you have any debt. This is because the interest you owe on your debt will also increase over time, which can make it more difficult to pay off.
  • There is a lot of patience involved in this process. If you need access to your money sooner rather than later, investing in something with compound interest may not be the best option.
  • Compounding only works if you reinvest your earnings. If you withdraw your earnings instead, you won't reap the benefits of compound interest.

How To Make It Work For You

Compound Interest Formula

Assuming you already have a basic understanding of what compound interest is, here are a few tips to make it work for you:

1. Invest Early and Often 

Start investing as soon as you can, so your money has more time to grow. And the more money you invest, the more compound interest can work its magic. Also by investing early and often, you create a habit of saving and investing that will serve you well throughout your life. It’s never too early to start investing, and the sooner you start, the better off you’ll be down the road.

2. Think Long-Term 

Investments require patience. The longer you let your money grow, the more it will multiply. Essentially, it means taking a big-picture view of your investments. Focus on how your investments will perform over the next few years or even decades. And instead of trying to time the market perfectly, focus on making regular contributions to your investment accounts.

3. Reinvest Your Earnings 

Once you start earning money from your investments, it's important to reinvest that money so that it can continue working for you. By reinvesting your earnings, you'll help to grow your investment portfolio and make even more money in the future. 

Plus, reinvesting is a great way to keep your finances on track and ensure that you're making the most of your money. So be sure to reinvest your earnings as soon as you start making them - it could make a big difference to your financial future.

4. Stay Disciplined 

It can be tempting to cash out when your investments are doing well, but remember that compound interest only works if you let it do its thing over the long haul. So stay disciplined and stick to your investment plan.

What Is Compound Interest? Wrap Up

Compound interest is a powerful financial tool that can be used to generate wealth over time. The key to making the most of compound interest is understanding how it works and being disciplined enough to save regularly, so you can maximize your returns. With some careful planning, you can utilize this effective investment strategy and watch your money grow exponentially in the years ahead.

About the author 

TJ Salvatore

A freelancer. A nomad. An LGBTQ and animal rights activist. Love meeting new people, exploring new styles of living, new technologies and gadgets, new ways of making money.

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