Published June 27, 2024
# How Is Compound Interest Calculated?

### What's Compound Interest?

### The Formula

### The Dark Side: Credit Card Debt

#### Step-by-Step Calculation

#### Doing the Math!

### A Friendly Tip

Ever wondered why people always stress about paying off credit card debt? It’s all about compound interest, my friend. Let's break it down together.

Compound interest is like magic but for your money. It's the interest on both the amount you initially invested or borrowed and the interest that has been added to it over time. Essentially, it’s interest on interest, and while it can help your savings grow faster, it can also make your debt balloon in no time.

Let’s get nerdy for a second and look at the formula for compound interest:

Where:

- ( A ) is the amount of money accumulated after ( n ) years, including interest.
- ( P ) is the principal amount (the initial amount of money).
- ( r ) is the annual interest rate (in decimal form, so 5% would be 0.05).
- ( n ) is the number of times that interest is compounded per year.
- ( t ) is the time the money is invested or borrowed for, in years.

Now, let's see how compound interest can become the villain when it comes to credit card debt. Picture this: you have a credit card balance of $1,000 with an annual interest rate of 20%, compounded monthly (because most credit cards do that). For simplicity, we'll assume you don't make any payments. Let's see what happens after three years.

**Principal**( P ) = $1,000**Annual Interest Rate**( r ) = 0.20**Number of Times Compounded Annually**( n ) = 12**Time in Years**( t ) = 3

Plug these values into our formula:

Let’s simplify it:

Whoa, now your $1,000 debt has turned into roughly $1,822.10 in just 3 years without even spending another dime! Notice how the interest compounds, causing your debt to grow by more than 20% each year.

So, what’s the takeaway here? Compound interest can be a powerful force, both for growing savings and for making debt less palatable. If you’re funding your next latte with a credit card, make sure you’re aware of how fast that “magic” can work against you if left unchecked.

Stay savvy, keep an eye on those rates, and always aim to pay more than the minimum. Your future self will thank you for it!

If you want to take control of your finances and get a handle on where your money goes each month, Latwy offers a free 30-day trial.

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