New Year 2024: How to level up financial knowledge with the rule of 72?

The rule of 72 serves as a useful tool to estimate the time it takes for your investment to double, relying on the annual interest rate. While not a precise science, it provides a rapid and straightforward method to obtain a rough estimate in different situations.

Abeer Ray
Updated1 Jan 2024, 03:21 PM IST
Use the Rule of 72 to calculate your investment tenure.
Use the Rule of 72 to calculate your investment tenure.

As the new year unfolds, our aspirations centre around witnessing the growth of our finances. There’s an unparalleled satisfaction in realizing your financial objectives, particularly after dedicated periods of investment. The ongoing fluctuations in the market have spurred numerous individuals to delve into the intricacies of personal finance. Simple calculations, such as formula 72, have become a focal point of interest, providing insights into the time required to double one’s financial assets.

The specific avenue of your investment doesn’t determine its potential returns. Whether you’ve invested in bank fixed deposits offering up to eight per cent or ventured into the market where an average annual return of 12 per cent is expected, this formula remains a valuable tool. It aids in calculating the required investment duration for doubling your funds, regardless of whether you’ve opted for guaranteed schemes or market-linked investment opportunities.

Interpreting Formula 72

The “Rule of 72” serves as a convenient rule-of-thumb calculation in finance to estimate the number of years required for an investment to double in value at a given annual interest rate. While not extremely precise, it offers a rapid and straightforward method to obtain a rough estimate.

For those who uphold the efficacy of straightforward mathematical formulas and prefer to avoid reaching for the calculator or relying on a laptop for basic calculations, the simple formula outlined below can be employed.

Time needed to double the money (in years) = 72 / Interest rate (in %)

As an illustration, if your investment garners a nine per cent annual interest, you can roughly estimate that it will take around 72 / 9 ≈ 8 years to double.

However, it’s important to note that this rule is most effective for interest rates falling within the range of 6% to 10%. Accuracy diminishes for rates outside this range. Additionally, the formula assumes annual compounding. If your interest is compounded more frequently, such as quarterly in the case of bank deposits, the actual time required for doubling may be slightly shorter.

Can you do more with formula 72?

The Rule of 72 serves purposes beyond determining the time required to double your money. Here are alternative applications for this formula.

Calculate the needed rate of return: By rearranging the formula, you can estimate the required interest rate if you have a specific timeframe in mind for doubling your investment. For instance, aiming for a doubling within 10 years would imply a needed interest rate of approximately 72 / 10 ≈ 7.2%.

Predict the time for value reduction: Utilizing the Rule of 72, you can also approximate the duration it will take for your investment to diminish by half as a result of inflation. Simply divide 72 by the inflation rate. For instance, if the inflation rate stands at 6%, it will take approximately 72 / 6 ≈ 12 years for your money to experience a 50% reduction in purchasing power.

Inflation operates as a subtle depleter, gradually corroding the purchasing power of your savings over time. Employing the Rule of 72 as an initial tool to comprehend this influence is a prudent approach. By using this rule to determine the duration it would take for your money’s value to be halved based on the prevailing inflation rate, investors can strategically plan their retirement funds

Life post-retirement often relies on interest income derived primarily from savings and deposits, with limited or no access to new income streams. This underscores the significance of establishing a substantial retirement fund capable of withstanding the enduring effects of inflation. Recognizing how inflation can erode the value of your savings and the imperative to sustain focus on earnings, savings, and investments is crucial for effective financial planning.

In essence, the Rule of 72 can assist in determining the annual investment amount needed to mitigate potential challenges post-retirement, ensuring a more secure financial future.

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First Published:1 Jan 2024, 03:21 PM IST
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