INVESTMENT COMPOUNDING over long periods can produce impressive results—but the results are even more impressive when you couple that compounding with regular savings. For instance, if you invest $100 initially and left it to grow at 5% a year, you would have $339 after 25 years, thanks to the 239% cumulative gain. But if you invested $100 at the start of each of the 25 years, for a total of $2,500, you would have $5,011 after 25 years.
You can do this calculation with Excel or with a financial calculator, such as Texas Instruments Business Analyst II Plus (TI-BA II Plus). Alternatively, you could use an online savings calculator, such as the compound savings calculator at Dinkytown.net or the finance calculator available at Calculator.net.
One warning: Pay attention to when additional savings are credited. You end up with a lower accumulated value if additional savings are credited at the end of each year, rather than at the beginning, because that means those savings miss out on a year of investment gains.
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