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Money hacks: compound interest

And why this is your finances’ secret super-power

As a money coach, one of the most important concepts that I recommend everyone understand is compound interest. It’s a simple but powerful tool that can help you grow your money over time. So, what is compound interest?

Imagine you put some money in a savings account, and the bank gives you a certain interest rate for keeping your money with them. Now, compound interest comes into play when the bank adds the interest you earned back into your account, making your total balance bigger. And guess what? The next time the bank calculates your interest, they’ll include the interest you earned on top of your initial investment, making your balance grow even more! Over time, the interest keeps adding up and accelerating the growth of your money, allowing it to grow faster and faster. That’s the power of compound interest, and that’s why it’s so important to understand it.

Why is compound interest so important?

  1. It helps you build wealth over time: By earning interest on your interest, your money can grow at a faster rate than it would with simple interest. This can help you build wealth over time, even with small initial investments.
  2. It allows you to take advantage of time: One of the key factors in the power of compound interest is time. The longer you have to invest, the more time your money has to grow. This is why it’s so important to start investing early and consistently.
  3. It can help you reach your financial goals: Whether you’re saving for a down payment on a house, a child’s education, or your retirement, compound interest can help you reach your financial goals faster.

How does compound interest work?

Let’s say you invest €1,000 in a savings account with a 5% annual interest rate. After one year, you’ll have earned €50 in interest. If you leave that interest in the account and continue to earn 5% interest each year, you’ll earn €52.50 in interest the next year. That means you’ll have a total of €1,102.50 in your account after two years.

Over time, the interest you earn will continue to compound, and your account balance will grow at an exponential rate. The longer you leave your money invested, the more powerful the effect of compound interest becomes.

How can you take advantage of compound interest?

Here are some tips to help you take advantage of compound interest and grow your wealth over time:

  1. Start early – The earlier you start investing, the more time your money has to compound. Even small investments made early can add up over time.
  2. Be consistent – Regular contributions can help your investments grow even faster. Consider setting up automatic contributions to your investment accounts to make it easy to stay on track.
  3. Choose the right investments – Different investments offer different rates of return. Make sure you choose investments that align with your financial goals and risk tolerance.
  4. Avoid taking money out early – Taking money out of your investments early can reduce the power of compound interest. Make sure you have a solid emergency fund in place so you don’t have to dip into your investments in case of unexpected expenses.

In conclusion, compound interest is a powerful tool that can help you grow your wealth over time. By starting early, being consistent, and making smart investment choices, you can take advantage of the power of compound interest and reach your financial goals faster.

Luca Caruana is the founder of the Money Coaching Hub. Follow his weekly column here and his LinkedIn account for more budgeting hacks. For other money-related columns, check out Luca’s hacks to budget like a pro and how to build an emergency fund.

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