DEFINITION of 'Compounding'

The ability of an asset to generate earnings, which are then reinvested in order to generate their own earnings. In other words, compounding refers to generating earnings from previous earnings.

Also known as "compound interest".


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BREAKING DOWN 'Compounding'

Suppose you invest $10,000 into Cory's Tequila Company (ticker: CTC). The first year, the shares rises 20%. Your investment is now worth $12,000. Based on good performance, you hold the stock. In Year 2, the shares appreciate another 20%. Therefore, your $12,000 grows to $14,400. Rather than your shares appreciating an additional $2,000 (20%) like they did in the first year, they appreciate an additional $400, because the $2,000 you gained in the first year grew by 20% too. If you extrapolate the process out, the numbers can start to get very big as your previous earnings start to provide returns. In fact, $10,000 invested at 20% annually for 25 years would grow to nearly $1,000,000 (and that's without adding any money to the investment)!

The power of compounding was said to be deemed the eighth wonder of the world - or so the story goes - by Albert Einstein.

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