Compound Interest: The Stuff Of Savings Dreams

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How Do People Build Wealth?

There is really only a few options.

  1. Inherit money! Why are you reading this website? Get back to maxin’, relaxin’, and livin’ large! You belong on East Egg and probably had your father give you a small loan of a million dollars to start out. Dope, dude!
  2. Zuckerberg somebody! Get out there and steal someone else’s idea and profit on that sh*t. No mercy.
  3. Come up with a billion dollar idea! Get your Elon Musk on. This is probably the fastest way to make a huge amount of money. You already knew this.
  4. Become a really smart investor. This also takes time. Warren Buffett didn’t just wake up one day to find he had billions in the bank. He makes smart picks, no doubt. But don’t think he’s always beating the market. The only person who can do that is someone with insider trading knowledge.
  5. Invest Money & Let It Grow. This is how most of us do it.

Sorry to bum you out if you were hoping I had an answer to making you wealthy through the first 4 options. If I did, I’d tell ya.

The truth is that most people build wealthy slowly and overtime. That’s how people save for retirement. They invest money as they go and eventually have a sizeable nest egg to retire on.

UNLESS, of course, you don’t invest enough or do so at a young age. Plenty of people can catch up if they work at it. But honestly, no matter how much you think you could catch up later on, there is NO advantage to building wealth better than TIME. The more you have of it, the more wealthy you’ll be based on how much you put in.

Now, you’ve most likely heard this before. That saving money while you’re young is really important. But hey, it’s tough to save money when you’re young. You don’t have as much of it right now. But it’s okay, even a little bit will make a huge difference.

What Is Compound Interest?

Investopedia defines it as, “Compound interest is interest calculated on the initial principle and also on the accumulated interest of previous periods of a deposit or loan.”

Okay, so what does that really mean? It means that when you invest money in the stock market, a mutual fund, a bond, a savings account, whatever…you’ll be paid in interest for investing your money. Stocks go up, you’re making money. Duh, you know this.

BUT, here is what it really means for you. Let’s say you invest $100 in your savings account. The bank pays you 5% interest. (We can only dream, but it works for this example)

After 1 year, you now have $105. ($100 you invested plus the $5 they paid you in interest for the year)

Now is when you start making MONEY ON YOUR MONEY. This is the sh*t if you’re into finance.

After 2 years, you now have $110.25. Wait, shouldn’t I have only $110 if they pay me $5 every year? NOPE. They paid you interest money on the $5 you earned last year too. So lets calculate that. $105 * 5% is $5.25. Add that together to get $110.25. You made 25 cents on the interest money they paid you from year one. Interest on your interest! Get it?

How Huge A Deal This Is

Here is an example of someone saving money and investing in the stock market that assumes a 7% return. (From BusinessInsider)

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Damn, Chris. You’re a millionaire now. You’re all all-star. Get your game on, go play.

So what happened here? Chris invested way earlier than the other two as you can see. This is what I was talking about in regards to time being on your side while you’re young. Compound interest doesn’t make a huge difference until around 40-50 years old for him compared to the others. But after 50, he skyrockets away from those other shmucks. This is because compound interest begins to snowball as you get older.

The Rule Of 72

There is a rule that says to find the number of years required to double your money at a given interest rate, you just divide the interest rate into 72. Let’s try it with Chris’s presumed 7% return. 72/7 =10.29. This means that every 10.29 years, he doubles the total amount of money in his account.

So if he is starting 10 years before anyone else…he doubles his money 1 more time than anyone else. This is where the ending of retirement gives you HUGE gains. Just by starting 10 years earlier, he has the chance to double his money once more before retirement. That is why he has roughly double what Bill has. Chris roughly got to Bill’s number 10 years before he did. Therefore, he doubled his money once more by the time they retired. Instead of 500k, he has over a million. One more time…Damn, Chris. Back at it again with that compound interest.

Do you see how big of a difference it can make to start early? Even small contributions earlier on makes the difference in how much you’ll have later on. And this assumed Chris ONLY had a 7% return. The AVERAGE return of the stock market from 1928 to 2014 was 10%.

How big of a difference would 10% make for Chris? He would have $2.8 Million.

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What if he bumped up his savings to 10k a year instead of just 5k? $5.6 Million

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Imagine The Possibilities!

This is how compound interest works and how people really build wealth. They invest wisely and save as much as they can. And they do it earlier than later.

THE PROBLEM

People in the United States don’t realize this. They push this off until later in life when they think they’ll be making more money and have more to save for retirement. But later in life you’ll probably have a significant other…then a spouse…then some kids. There is always an excuse for not saving. Which is why older generations getting ready to retire are in CRISIS.

Here are some stats to scare you. (Found here.)

  • 45% of Americans have saved nothing for retirement, including 40% of Baby Boomers.
  • 38% don’t actively save for retirement at all.
  • 20% of Americans tap into their 401(k) assets early, either through a loan or withdrawal.
  • 80% of Americans between the ages of 30 and 54 believe they will not have enough saved for retirement.
  • 36% of American adults over 65 are completely dependent on Social Security.
  • 63% are dependent (but not necessarily completely reliant) on Social Security, relatives, friends, or charity at age 65.
  • Social Security is running out of money, and will only be able to cover 77% of promised benefits beginning in 2034.

All those dreams of traveling the world in retirement? Consider them gone if you don’t seriously start thinking about this. There will be millions of American’s who will be just scraping by in their old age. It’s sad and it shouldn’t be that way.

But the reality is no one cares more about you than you. So do yourself a favor and begin saving as young as possible.

The Great News

You’re super smart. Yep. You are. You obviously care about this enough to read this site or have done some digging on your own. You can set yourself up and benefit from the knowledge others don’t have. Start thinking about saving!

In a future article, I’ll tell you where to do it and how to do it.

Thanks for reading! Subscribe to my email list! I’m basing how often I write on the subscribers I get. If you enjoy my content, please help me out and let me know you do. Just joining my email list is all I need to know you’re enjoy the posts!

Until next time!

Matt Dalton

What’s The Deal With CD’s?

Certificates Of Depositcds

(You didn’t think I meant compact disks, right?)

I’m not sure what’s happened, but everyone seems to want to know about CD’s these days. I’ve had at least 6 people ask me about this in the last couple months. In fact, my best friend’s fiancée asked about them last week.

Are your banks trying to pitch you on buying these or something? Just curious. With a strange amount of interest on these and because they’re easy to explain, I’m going to write about them.

So What Is A Certificate Of Deposit?

It’s an investment product offered by banks that offer a specified rate of return over a set period of time. The period of time varies depending on the bank, but common time frames are 6-Month, 1-Year, 2-Years, 3-Years, and 5-Years.

They are super easy to understand.

The deal is that you deposit a preset amount of money with your bank and agree to let them hold onto it for a period of time that you choose. In return for letting them hold your money, they will pay you interest on the money you deposited. At the end of the time period you get your principal (money you deposited) back.

If you’re wondering how this benefits them, it gives them cash reserves. Banks have a complex system of managing all the money that comes in and out. Basically, while your money is being “held” in the CD, they’re lending out your money to other customers or simply holding it because federal law mandates banks to keep a certain amount of money in reserves. But don’t worry, you’ll get your money back. CD’s are FDIC insured and are one of the safest investments you can make. You might as well go buy some T-Bills.

So They’re Safe To Invest In? Sweet, Dude! Sign Me Up.

Yes, they’re basically risk free investments that will make you money.

BUT: How much money you make largely depends on 2 things.

  1. How much you deposit
  2. How long you’re willing to deposit it for (this is the key to CD’s)

The more money you deposit and the longer you’re willing to let them hold onto it, the better interest they will pay you. I’m tempted to explain why time value of money (TVM in the finance world) makes this the case. But, for now, just know you’ll make more money for letting  them hold onto it longer.

So How Much Can I Make?

Ah, finally, what you really wanted to know. The best answer to this is you’d need to figure out how much money you’re willing to invest in one and how long you’d be OK with not having access to that money. This is because if you withdrawal from the CD before it matures, there’s a pretty big penalty. You don’t wanna do that.

You can check your own banks rates on CD’s, but here is a list of the BEST rates I could find. (As of 9/15/2016)

6 Months – Capital One 360 (0.9%) No min deposit

1 Year – Barclays (1.20%) No min deposit

2 Years – First Internet Bank (1.36%) $1,000 min deposit

3 Years – Barclays (1.50%) No min deposit

5 Years – First Internet Bank (1.92%) $1,000 min deposit

I found all these using NerdWallet.com. These also assumed my zip code and a minimum balance of $1,000. You can go play around with their tool to see if you can find higher ones that I did. You probably can, I didn’t dig that hard. I just wanted to give you an example of the going rate for them these days.

So the first thing you’ll notice is that to get higher rates, sometimes there is a minimum amount you need to deposit and that the longer you keep it in there, the more you make. Unless you find a CD like the ones Barclays seems to be offering right now that don’t require a minimum. This happens sometimes because banks just need to raise their capital reserves.

Great! I’ll Go Buy Some!

Well not so fast. Here comes the catch.

You knew there had to be one, right?

CD rates are at historical lows. Check out this graph from Bankrate.com.

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Sorry to disappoint but the rates on CD’s have literally never been lower. You’ll notice a serious drop off somewhere between 2005 and 2010. I’ll let you figure out what happened there.

Anyways, this doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t buy any. Just that they are not what they used to be.

Warning, Unqualified Opinion Ahead!

The reason I’m confused why people are so interested in these is because there are just so many better options out there to make money. Especially for college students who 1) don’t have tons of cash to invest and won’t earn a ton of interest money 2) don’t know where they’ll be 6 months, 1 year, 5 years from now as a CD requires.

Things are going to change for you a lot in the next few years. I’m going to tell you the same thing I told my best friends fiancée:

“What happens when you need that money for something next year?”

Now, this is something I’d really only say in a select set of situations. Investing money is very wise to do at a young age because of the immense benefits of compound interest. It’s the only way you could possibly ever retire! But investing in CD’s in my opinion is just not worth the draw backs of the time factor as well as the minimal amount you receive for all that commitment.

The stock market will give you way better returns than a CD as I’m sure you know.

BUT, that’s actually not what I recommend you do unless:

  1. Have a solid emergency savings account first
  2. Pay off all bad debt (there is a difference between good and bad)
  3. Get a retirement account set up and begin contributing (This is investing, but not in the same sense as a non-retirement investment account that invests in stocks, funds, ETF’s…etc.)

I probably just opened a can of worms. I swear this website will explain all that stuff.

But here’s my deal.

If you’re looking to make a bit of money on your savings (or at least better than your banks measly .01%)…

Check out an online savings.

Online banks can pay beyond 100x better than your brick and mortar bank. They can also pay better than lots of Money Markets!

This is because they don’t have the costs of running an actual retail location you can walk into. It’s all online. Less costs means they can pass the savings onto you in the form of higher interest rates on your savings.

The case for an online bank:

  1. Higher interest rates
  2. Higher than almost any CD under 1 year
  3. Take out your money anytime! No need to commit! (which I know you love)
  4. Often times, better user interface than your regular banks website
  5. Better customer service
  6. Move your money between your bank and online savings account very easily
  7. No monthly fees

OK, So How High?

Up to 1.05%! (Synchrony High Yield Savings)

Ok, so that’s not a ton of money. But hey, it is WAY better than your banks .01% by a huge margin.

You might be able to find a bank with 1.10%. Offers like that happen every so often.

Who Do I Use?

Ally Bank.

They pay 1.00% on all balance tiers. No minimum. I also really like their user interface and think they’ve got good customer service from my own experience with them. I just opened with them 6 months ago. So far, so good! They deposit my earnings at the end of each month. Now again, it’s not a ton. But it’s better than nothing.

I’ll do a full review of Ally soon, but just figured you’d might wanna know who I use. Not being paid by them to say this!

I’ve hoped you’ve learned something and feel better educated on CD’s pros and cons!

Please comment below! I want to hear from you guys. (Yes, you can comment anonymously if you like. Just don’t enter your info and press submit)

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Until next time!

Matt Dalton