Investing is the act of using money to make more money. The Investment Calculator can help determine one of many different variables concerning investments with a fixed rate of return. For any typical financial investment, there are four crucial elements that make up the investment.
Our Investment Calculator can be used for mostly any investment opportunity that can be simplified to the variables above. A simple example of a type of investment that can be used with the calculator is a certificate of deposit, or CD, which is available at most banks. A CD is a low risk investment.
It pays a fixed interest rate for a specified amount of time, giving an easy-to-determine rate of return and investment length. Normally, the longer that money is left in a CD, the higher the rate of interest received. Other low-risk investments of this type include savings accounts and money market accounts, which pay relatively low rates of interest.
Risk is a key factor when making investments. In general, premiums must be paid for greater risks. Buying bonds from companies that are highly rated for being low-risk by the mentioned agencies is much safer, but this earns a lower rate of interest. Bonds can be bought for the short or long term. Short-term bond investors want to buy a bond when its price is low and sell it when its price has risen, rather than holding the bond to maturity.
Bond prices tend to drop as interest rates rise, and they typically rise when interest rates fall. Within different parts of the bond market, differences in supply and demand can also generate short-term trading opportunities. A conservative approach to bond investing is to hold them until maturity.
This way, interest payments become available, usually twice a year, and owners receive the face value of the bond at maturity. By following a long-term bond-buying strategy, it is not a requirement to be too concerned about the impact of interest rates on a bond's price or market value. If interest rates rise and the market value of bonds change, the strategy shouldn't change unless there is a decision to sell. TIPS offer an effective way to handle the risk of inflation.
They also provide a risk-free return guaranteed by the U. For this reason, they are a very popular investment, although the return is relatively low compared to other fixed-income investments. This is what makes them unique and characterizes their behavior.
Equity or stocks are popular forms of investments. While they are not fixed-interest investments, they are one of the most important forms of investments for both institutional and private investors. A stock is a share, literally a percentage of ownership, in a company. It permits a part owner of a public company to share in its profits, and shareholders receive funds in the form of dividends for as long as the shares are held and the company pays dividends. Most stocks are traded on exchanges, and many investors purchase stocks with the intent of buying them at a low price and selling them at a higher one hopefully.
Many investors also prefer to invest in mutual funds, or other types of stock funds, which group stocks together. These funds are actively managed by a finance manager or firm to bring together as many performing stocks as possible. The investor pays a small fee called a "load" for the privilege of working with the manager or firm. Once you've invested that initial sum, you'll likely want to keep adding to it.
Extreme savers may want to make drastic cutbacks in their budgets so they can contribute as much as possible. Casual savers may decide on a lower amount to contribute. The amount you regularly add to your investments is called your contribution. You can also choose how frequently you want to contribute. This is where things get interesting. Some people have their investments automatically deducted from their income.
Depending on your pay schedule, that could mean monthly or biweekly contributions if you get paid every other week. A lot of us, though, only manage to contribute to our investments once a year. When you've decided on your starting balance, contribution amount and contribution frequency, your putting your money in the hands of the market. So how do you know what rate of return you'll earn? This may seem low to you if you've read that the stock market averages much higher returns over the course of decades.
Let us explain. When we figure rates of return for our calculators, we're assuming you'll have an asset allocation that includes some stocks, some bonds and some cash. Those investments have varying rates of return, and experience ups and downs over time. It's always better to use a conservative estimated rate of return so you don't under-save. That, my friend, would lead to undersaving. Undersaving often leads to a future that's financially insecure.
The last factor to consider is your investment time frame. Consider the number of years you expect will elapse before you tap into your investments. The longer you have to invest, the more time you have to take advantage of the power of compound interest. That's why it's so important to start investing at the beginning of your career, rather than waiting until you're older. You may think of investing as something only old, rich people do, but it's not.
And remember that your investment performance will be better when you choose low-fee investments. You don't want to be giving up an unreasonable chunk of money to fund managers when that money could be growing for you. Sure, investing has risks, but not investing is riskier for anyone who wants to accrue retirement savings and beat inflation. Zoom between states and the national map to see the places in the country with the highest investment activity.
Methodology There are several ways individuals, governments and businesses can invest money in a county or region. Our study aims to capture the places across the country that are receiving the most incoming investments in business, real estate, government and the local economy as a whole. To do this we looked at four factors: business establishment growth, GDP growth, new building permits and federal funding.
We looked at the change in the number of businesses established in each location over a 3-year period. This shows whether or not people are starting new business ventures in the county. The second factor we looked at was the GDP growth. We used real growth inflation adjusted in the local economy. We also looked at investment and development in the local residential real estate market. To measure this real estate growth, we calculated the number of new building permits per 1, homes.
The final factor we considered was federal funding received by each county. We found federal funding in the form of contracts awarded to businesses in each county, which we divided by the population. This gave us a per capita look at the flow of investment from the federal to the local level. We scored every county in our study on these four factors. We then combined those scores to create a final ranking of cities.
With that ranking, we created an index where the county with the most incoming investments was assigned a value of and the county with the least investment activity received a zero. Bureau Economic Analysis , U. What is an Index Fund? How Does the Stock Market Work?
What are Bonds? Investing Advice What is a Fiduciary? What is a CFP? Your Details Done. Starting Amount:. Rate of Return:. Investment Growth Over Time. Investment Balance at Year. About This Answer. Our Assumptions. Our Investing Expert. Barbara Friedberg Investing Barbara Friedberg is an author, teacher and expert in personal finance, specifically investing.
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