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How does compounding work in mutual funds?

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Compound interest is one of the most powerful concepts in finance. It refers to interest calculated on the initial principal and also on the accumulated interest of prior periods. Over long periods, compound interest can lead to exponential growth. Understanding how compounding works is especially important for investments like mutual funds.

What is compounding interest?

Compounding means that interest is calculated periodically on the principal amount as well as previously accumulated interest. For example, if you invested Rs. 10,000 at an annual interest rate of 10%, in the first year you would earn interest of Rs. 1,000 (10% of Rs. 10,000). In the second year, the interest would be calculated on Rs. 11,000 (the original principal plus the interest earned in the first year). So the interest in year two would be Rs. 1,100.

The effect of compounding is that your money grows faster and faster with time. The more frequently interest is compounded, the faster your money grows.

Why compounding matters for mutual funds

Mutual funds provide a simple way for investors to put money into financial markets. The fund pools money from many investors and invests it into stocks, bonds and other assets.

The profits or losses from the investments flow back to the investors in the fund. Mutual funds allow even small investors to benefit from compounding returns over the long run. Here’s why compounding really matters for mutual funds:

– Mutual funds invest in assets that tend to appreciate over time like stocks and bonds. The growth gets compounded year after year.

– Mutual funds pay out dividends from stocks and interest from bonds. These payments get reinvested to buy more assets, again compounding returns.

– Many mutual funds have dividend reinvestment plans (DRIPs). Rather than paying dividends to investors, the dividends are used to buy more units of the fund automatically. This leads to exponential growth through the power of compounding.

How to estimate compounding returns

Many mutual fund advertisements emphasize the power of compounding. But how can you estimate the compounded returns from a mutual fund investment? Here are some tips:

– Find out the historical annual returns of the mutual fund you wish to invest in. Leading funds have 10-year plus track records you can analyze.

– Assume the future average annual return is similar to the historical return. For example, if a fund has given 15% annual returns in the past 10 years, expect 15% in the future.

– Use an online compound interest calculator to estimate compounded returns. For Rs. 1 lakh invested at 15% annually for 20 years, the future value is approximately Rs. 11 lakhs.

– Account for inflation. Subtract the average inflation rate from expected returns. For example, if fund returns are 15% and inflation averages 6%, count on real returns of 9% per year.

– Be conservative in your estimates. Mutual fund returns are volatile and affected by market downturns. Don’t assume high returns for the long term.

Compounding requires patience and a long-term outlook. But over decades, it is one of the most powerful wealth creators. Understand how it works and use it judiciously to grow your top mutual fund investments.

To calculate compound interest on your investment visit https://mf.nipponindiaim.com/knowledge-center/tools/power-of-compounding-calculator.

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