The Power of Compound Interest: Building Wealth over Time

“The time to save for the future is now. Thanks to compounding interest, the earlier you start putting money away for the future, the more you will save” ― Alexa Von Tobel

3 min read

Compound Interest Success

The Power of Compound Interest: Building Wealth over Time

“The time to save for the future is now. Thanks to compounding interest, the earlier you start putting money away for the future, the more you will save” ― Alexa Von Tobel

3 min read

Compound interest is a great financial concept that can make your money grow exponentially over time, without you having to do anything! It’s often described as the “magic” behind long-term investing and wealth accumulation, so make sure to read to the end to find out all about how it works to benefit you.

Understanding Compound Interest

Compound interest, in its simplest form, is the interest earned on both the initial amount you invest (or save) and the interest that accumulates over time. This compounding effect makes your money grow faster than simple interest, where interest is earned only on the initial principal. The key to this magic is time – the longer your money compounds, the greater the financial rewards.

The Mechanics of Compound Interest

To understand the mechanics of compound interest, let’s consider an example: Imagine you invest CHF 1’000 in a savings account with an annual interest rate of 5%. After one year, you’ll earn CHF 50 in interest, resulting in a total of CHF 1’050.

In the second year, you’ll earn 5% interest not only on your initial CHF 1’000 but also on the CHF 50 in interest you earned during the first year. This compounding process continues, with your money growing more each year. This equates to you earning CHF 52.50 in the second year, resulting in a total of CHF 1’102.50.

The Compounding Formula

To calculate the future value of your investment with compound interest, the following formula applies:

FV = PV × (1 + r/n)nt


  • FV is the future value of the investment.
  • PV is the present value or initial amount invested.
  • r is the annual interest rate (as a decimal, so 5% interest would be expressed as 0.05).
  • n is the number of times interest is compounded per year.
  • t is the number of years the money is invested.

Comparing Compound Interest to Simple Interest

In contrast to compound interest, simple interest offers a straightforward approach (but leaves you with less money!). With simple interest, you earn a fixed percentage of your initial principal each year. Your interest earnings do not accumulate or compound over time. 

What this means is, should you invest CHF 1’000 at a simple interest rate of 5%, you’ll earn CHF 50 in interest each year, no matter how many years your money remains invested. In comparison to the previous section’s figures, after year-2 you will have CHF 1’100.

The key distinction lies in how your interest earnings affect the growth of your investment. With simple interest, the growth rate is linear and limited because you’re earning the same amount each year. Simple interest is suitable for shorter-term investments, but it lacks the exponential growth potential seen with compound interest.

To maximise your wealth and see the benefits of substantial growth over time, compound interest is the preferred choice. Compound interest allows your interest earnings to contribute to your principal, creating a compounding effect. Over longer periods, this exponential growth is where compound interest shines and transforms your financial journey.

For example, whilst after year-2 you have only CHF 2.50 more than simple interest, over 20-years, you will have CHF 2’653 from compound interest, whilst with simple interest you will have CHF 2’000. That’s CHF 653 in extra funds for you, simply through compound interest!

The Benefits of Early Investing

As you have seen, the magic of compound interest truly shines when you start early and have a longer time to allow your money to grow, and so the greater the wealth you can accumulate. Consider two investors: one who starts investing at 25 and another who begins at 35. The 25 year old can potentially accumulate significantly more wealth by retirement age, even if they both invest the same amount.

The Power of Compound Interest

It’s important to comprehend the difference compound interest can make in various aspects of personal finance. Here, we explore some real-life examples to highlight the significance of compound interest:

  • Savings and Investments: For savers and investors, compound interest can significantly enhance their financial portfolios. By reinvesting the earnings and allowing them to compound over time, individuals can watch their savings and investments grow at an accelerated pace.
  • Retirement Planning: Compound interest plays a pivotal role in building a comfortable retirement fund. Regular contributions, combined with the effects of compounding, can help individuals amass a substantial retirement fund. This, in turn, can secure a financially worry-free retirement.

  • Loans and Debt: It’s not only a boon for savers but also a bane for borrowers. On the flip side, compound interest can magnify the size of debts, especially if they are not paid off quickly. Credit cards and loans that employ compound interest can lead to larger overall repayments over time, making it crucial to manage debt wisely. You’ve been warned!

  • Long-Term Goals: Whether you aspire to buy a home, fund your children’s education, or start a business, understanding the power of compound interest can help you achieve your long-term financial goals more efficiently.

A Brighter Future

Throughout your life, keep compound interest in mind as a valuable ally. By leveraging its power wisely, you can unlock new opportunities, secure your financial future, and achieve your long-term goals. Often, without having to do anything extra!

If you’re ready to take advantage of compound interest, get in touch with Patterson Mills today and book your initial, no-cost and no-obligation meeting. Send us an e-mail to or call us direct at +41 21 801 36 84 and we shall be pleased to assist you.

Please note that all information within this article has been prepared for informational purposes only. This article does not constitute financial, legal or tax advice. Always ensure you speak to a regulated Financial Adviser before making any financial decisions.