The best time to learn about money is when you're young and still in school. Starting young lets you take advantage of the magic of "compound interest. Compound interest is the interest you earn on interest.
If you have $100.00 and it earns 5% interest each year, you'll have $105.00 at the end of the first year. But at the end of the second year, you'll have $110.25. Not only did you earn $5.00 on the $100.00 you initially deposited-your original "principal"-but you also earned an extra $0.25 on the $5.00 in interest. Twenty-five cents may not sound like much at first, but it adds up over time. Even if you never add another dime to that account, in 10 years you'll have over $162.00 through the power of compound interest, and in 25 years you'll have almost $340.00.
Here's another way to look at compound interest. How much does a slice of pizza cost? Would you believe nearly $65,000? If a slice of plain pizza costs $2.00, and you buy a slice every week until you're old enough to retire, you'll spend $5,200 on pizza. If you give up that slice of pizza and invest the money instead, earning 8% interest compounded every year for 50 years, you'll have over $64,678.87.
The Rule of 72 - really just a "rule of thumb" - is a great way to estimate how your investment will grow over time. If you know your investment's expected rate of return, the Rule of 72 can tell you approximately how long it will take for your investment to double in value. Simply divide the number 72 by your investment's expected rate of return (ignoring the percent sign). Assuming an expected rate of return of 9 percent, your investment will double in value about every 8 years (72 divided by 9 equals 8).