- Starting amount
- The starting balance or current amount you have invested or saved.
- Years to save
- The total number years you are planning to save or invest.
- Rate of return
- The annual rate of return for this investment or savings account. The actual rate of return is largely dependent on the types of investments you select. The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) for the
10 years ending Dec. 31st, 2012 had an annual compounded rate of return of 7.1%, including reinvestment of dividends. From January 1970 through the end of 2012, the average annual compounded rate of
return for the S&P 500, including reinvestment of dividends, was approximately 10.1% (source: www.standardandpoors.com). Since 1970, the highest 12-month return was 61% (June 1982 through June 1983).
The lowest 12-month return was -43% (March 2008 to March 2009). Savings accounts at a financial institution may pay as little as 0.25% or less but carry significantly lower risk of loss of principal
It is important to remember that these scenarios are hypothetical and that future rates of return can't be predicted with certainty and that investments that pay higher rates of return are generally subject to higher risk and volatility. The actual rate of return on investments can vary widely over time, especially for long-term investments. This includes the potential loss of principal on your investment. It is not possible to invest directly in an index and the compounded rate of return noted above does not reflect sales charges and other fees that funds and/or investment companies may charge.
- Interest compounding
- Earnings on an investment's earnings, plus previous interest. This calculator allows you to choose the frequency that your investment's interest or income is added to your account. The more frequently this occurs, the sooner your accumulated earnings will generate additional earnings. For stock and mutual fund investments, you should usually choose 'Annual'. For savings accounts and CDs, all of the options are valid, although you will need to check with your financial institution to find out how often interest is being compounded on your particular investment.
- Additional contributions
- The amount that you plan on adding to your savings or investment each period. This calculator assumes that you make your contributions at the beginning of each period.
- Frequency of contributions
- How often you make contributions to your account. The options include weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, quarterly and annually. This calculator assumes that you make your contributions at the beginning of each period.