When it comes to understanding the growth potential of investments, financial experts rely on several methods to predict future trends. One method is the Rule of 70, a simple “rule of thumb” for estimating how long it will take for any given investments to double. It also has other applications, which we will dive into in this article.
As investors, we want to know how quickly we can expect our investments to grow. The Rule of 70 provides a quick estimation by considering a constant rate of return. Though the rule offers only an approximation and not a guarantee of an investment’s performance, it is a helpful tool to determine which assets might be most suitable for our financial goals.
But how does the Rule of 70 work, and why is it essential for us as investors? Let’s explore this concept further and see how we can use it to make more informed investment decisions.
- The Rule of 70 is a simple method to estimate the years it takes for an investment to double in value, given a constant rate of return.
- To apply the Rule of 70, divide 70 by the annual rate of return (expressed as a percentage).
- The Rule of 70 provides a rough estimate and is best used for quick assessments and comparisons between investments.
- The Rule of 70 assumes a constant growth rate, which may need to be revised due to real-world fluctuations and varying interest rates.
- Alternatives to the Rule of 70 include the Rule of 69 (continuous compounding) and the Rule of 72 (annual compounding).
- The Rule of 70 can also be applied to personal growth and development by setting realistic goals and understanding the power of compounding in personal development.
- The accuracy of the Rule of 70 and other financial rules of thumb may be limited due to the assumption of an average rate of return, which may not reflect actual investment performance.
What Is the Rule of 70 – Explained
The Rule of 70 will give you a quick estimate of the years it takes for an investment to 2x itself constant rate of return. Investors often rely upon this simple formula to quickly evaluate the growth potential of various investments.
To apply the rule, we divide 70 by the annual rate of return (expressed as a percentage rate). For example, if we have an investment with a yearly rate of return of 7%, by dividing 70 by 7, we get ten years as the estimated doubling time.
It is important to remember that the Rule of 70 is just an estimation and not a guarantee. It can provide a rough idea of the time required for an investment to double, but various factors can impact the actual growth potential.
When should we use the Rule of 70? It’s best to employ this formula for quick, high-level assessments or when comparing different investments with relatively stable rates of return. It has it’s limitations, which we will lay out later in this article.
The Formula for Rule of 70
The Rule of 70 is a simple yet effective method to estimate the time required for an investment to double in value. We’ll be discussing the formula and how to use it and providing examples to demonstrate its practical application. Let’s dive in!
Calculating the Rule of 70
To apply the above formula, we divide 70 by the annual rate of return in percentage. The result is a rough estimate of the years it could take for an investment to double. Remember that this formula is an estimate, not an exact calculation.
Formula: Years to Double = 70 / Annual Rate of Return %
For example, if we have an investment with an annual growth rate of 5%:
Years to Double = 70 / 5 = 14 years
Examples of the Rule of 70
Let’s consider some examples to demonstrate how the Rule of 70 can be applied:
- Example 1: If our investment has an annual rate of return of 8%, it will take approximately:
Years to Double = 70 / 8 = 8.75 years
- Example 2: Suppose we have a stock portfolio with a 6% annual growth rate. In this case, it would take nearly:
Years to Double = 70 / 6 = 11.67 years
- Example 3: If we’ve invested in a mutual fund with a 4% annual rate of return, the doubling time can be estimated as:
Years to Double = 70 / 4 = 17.5 years
These examples show that a higher annual return will result in a shorter doubling time. Remember, the Rule of 70 provides a rough estimate, and actual investment growth may differ. It’s always smart to consult a financial advisor to obtain personalized advice based on your situation and investment goals.
What Does the Rule of 70 Actually Tell You?
The Rule of 70 is a simple and effective calculation that helps us understand how many years it takes for investments to double based on a constant rate of return or annual growth rate. By using this straightforward formula, we can quickly make estimates related to investing and overall financial growth.
But why would we choose the Rule of 70 instead of similar equations like the Rule of 72? The main reason is that the Rule of 70 provides slightly more accurate estimates for lower growth rates. While both rules are helpful, knowing which to use based on the situation helps us make better-informed decisions.
How the Rule of 70 Works
The Rule of 70 is a helpful, quick math framework for investors to gauge how long it takes for an investments to dovalue, assuming a constant rate of return. We use this rule to make quick 30,000-foot views on decisions on our investment potential. It is crucial, however, to understand that the Rule of 70 offers an estimate and is not a guarantee of growth.
It is crucial to remember that the Rule of 70 works best when growth rates are relatively stable. If an investment has fluctuating growth rates, the accuracy of the Rule of 70 becomes more and more erratic. For instance, a sudden shift in economic conditions or market volatility can render the rule less effective. We get into an example at the end of this article.
As investors, we must balance our desire for fast growth with the need for accuracy and risk assessment. While the Rule of 70 is an excellent tool for rough estimations, we must consider other factors when determining the ideal investment strategies for our portfolio, such as market trends and industry analysis.
Do I Need the Rule of 70?
As investors, we may wonder if it is necessary to know about the Rule of 70. The short answer is “No.” While not essential, understanding this rule can be helpful when making investment decisions. As with all rules of thumb in investments, it’s best used as a quick guide.
But why should we care about the Rule of 70? One reason is that it presents a quick and efficient way to evaluate investments with differing rates of return. Using the rule, we can get a ballpark figure of how long it might take for our investment to grow, which is especially useful when comparing different options.
Though this rule may not give us an exact answer, it is a handy approximation tool in our financial toolkit. Knowing the Rule of 70 can be quite helpful, especially when working with limited information or when we want to make a swift investment decision.
It’s important to remember that the Rule of 70 should not be used as the sole basis for investment decisions, and instead, we should consider it as one part of a broader evaluation process. There may be other factors to consider, and it’s always wise to consult with a professional financial advisor before making any significant investment.
Pros and Cons of the Rule of 70
As with any financial calculation or rule of thumb, the Rule of 70 has its own advantages and disadvantages. In this section, let’s look at these aspects to understand this investment tool better.
Pros To Rule Of 70
First and foremost, the Rule of 70 provides what I’d call a “rule of thumb”investment growth prediction model, which allows us to estimate quickly the number of years it may take for an investment to double in value. This makes it easier for us to make informed decisions and set realistic investment expectations.
Another positive aspect of this rule is its straightforward formula. By dividing 70 by the investment’s annual rate of return, we can efficiently compute the expected time frame for doubling our investment. This simplicity makes it an accessible tool for novice and experienced investors.
Cons To Rule Of 70
While the Rule of 70 offers valuable insights, there are a few limitations to remember. One significant drawback is that the rule assumes a consistent annual growth rate throughout the investment period. Real-world investments, however, are subject to global economic fluctuations and varying interest rates, which could lead to inaccurate estimates.
This is and has always been one of the main drawbacks of any financial rule of thumb. Many financial advisors will spout off things such as “Based on an average rate of growth of 7%, your investments will do this.” More on our take on this negative to using the rule later on in the article.
Moreover, this rule is considered a rough estimate rather than an exact prediction. As a result, using more than the Rule of 70 is advisable when making critical investment decisions. Seeking professional financial advice is always encouraged, especially when dealing with substantial funds and long-term strategies.
However, there are other alternatives, such as the rule of 69 and rule of 72. Exploring these options and determining which method works best for our unique financial goals and circumstances is essential.
Is There A Difference With the Rule of 70 and the Rules of 69 or 72?
When discussing the Rule of 70, it’s essential to understand the differences between it and the Rules of 69 and 72. Although they all share the goal of estimating the time it takes for investments to double, the distinction lies in the dividend used and their accuracy based on the frequency of compounding.
On the other hand, the Rule of 72 is best suited for annual interest rates, as it offers a straightforward method for determining the time it takes for investments to double at a fixed annual interest rate.
Meanwhile, the Rule of 69 is more accurate when addressing continuous compounding processes, such as daily or monthly compounding. Moreover, it’s important to remember that all these rules are only approximations, and the more precise the number used (69, 70, or 72), the lower the margin of error will be.
So, which rule should we use when dealing with investments? It primarily depends on the frequency of compounding:
- Rule of 69: continuous compounding
- Rule of 70: semi-annual compounding
- Rule of 72: annual compounding
By understanding these differences and choosing the appropriate rule based on the compounding frequency, we can make more accurate predictions about our investments and their potential growth.
Compound Interest and the Rule of 70
When discussing investments and economic growth, understanding compound interest is vital. This section will explore how the Rule of 70 relates to compound interest and how it can be applied in various scenarios.
For investors, compound interest is the process by which an investment grows over time, with interest being earned not only on the initial principal amount but also on any accumulated interest. This exponential growth sounds impressive.
Let’s dive deeper into the Rule of 70. This rule helps us estimate how long it will take for an investment to double in value, given a steady annual growth rate. It works by simply dividing 70 by the annual growth rate in percentage. For instance, if our investment has a 7% yearly growth rate, the Rule of 70 tells us it will take approximately 10 years to double (70 / 7 = 10).
Now, how accurate is the Rule of 70? It’s important to note that this rule is an approximation and works best for small percentages (< 10%). While it could be better, it offers a quick and easy method for us to gauge our investment’s potential growth and make informed decisions.
The Rule of 70 in Personal Growth and Development
Regarding personal growth and development, we can apply the Rule of 70 in several ways. Understanding and implementing this rule allows us to set realistic goals, better manage our time and resources, and maximize our potential.
Now, we will explore how the Rule of 70 can be utilized for personal growth, specifically focusing on applying the concept to setting personal goals, estimating the impact of consistent improvement over time, and understanding the power of compounding in personal development.
One of our favorite books, “The One Thing” by Gary Keller, discussed focusing on one thing at a time. By limiting your focus, you will slowly improve, but over time the growth curve becomes steeper and steeper, and you get better and better.
Applying the Concept to Setting Personal Goals
The Rule of 70 can help us set attainable and measurable goals by allowing us to divide the desired result by a specified growth rate. This gives us a realistic time frame for doubling our skill set, knowledge, or output. By doing so, we can eliminate the feeling of being overwhelmed, leading to more effective planning and execution of our personal goals.
Estimating the Impact of Consistent Improvement Over Time
Given a consistent growth rate, we can apply the Rule of 70 to gauge how long it will take to double our abilities or accomplishments. For example, if we aim to increase our productivity by 5% annually, we can use the Rule of 70 to determine that it will take approximately 14 years to double our output (70 ÷ 5 = 14). This understanding allows us to appreciate the importance of steady progression and incremental growth in achieving significant results over time.
Understanding the Power of Compounding in Personal Development
Just as compound interest magnifies financial growth, the Rule of 70 highlights the power of compounding in personal development; by making minor, consistent improvements over time, we can experience exponential growth in our skills, knowledge, and achievements. The effects of this compounding can be seen in various aspects of our lives, from establishing healthy habits and routines to acquiring new skills or personal connections. Recognizing the impact of compounding on personal growth can inspire us to commit to long-term development and self-improvement.
Our Take On The Rule Of 70 And Other Financial Rules Of Thumb
While the rule of 70 is a quick, down, and dirty rule of thumb, we view it as needing to be improved for financial planning purposes. This is because it’s based on an average rate of return.
This is and has always been one of the main drawbacks of any financial rule of thumb. Many financial advisors will spout off things such as “Based on an average rate of growth of 7%, your investments will do this.”
When was the last time your investments performed at an average rate?
Here is an example of the issue at hand. Look at the chat below for how the S&P has performed over the last 20 years.
You can see in years like 2008; there was a tremendous decrease in the S&P 500. The rule of 70 doesn’t take that into account.
Here is a simple example of the S&P 500:
Year 1 Growth: -50%
Year 2 Growth: +50%
Using the logic of rules of thumb such as this, the “average rate of return” between those two years 0%
(-50% + 50%)/2 = 0
However, the actual rate of return is -25%
Taking 1000 dollars in S&P value
$1000 after year 1 = $500 (-50%)
After Year 2 = $750 (+50%)
As you can see, the actual math varies quite a bit.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: What is the Rule of 70, and how does it estimate investment growth?
A: The Rule of 70 is a simple method used to estimate how many years it will take for an investment to double in value, given a constant rate of return. To apply the Rule of 70, you divide 70 by the annual rate of return expressed as a percentage. It provides a rough estimate and is helpful for quick assessments and comparisons between investments. However, it assumes a constant growth rate, which may need adjustments due to real-world fluctuations and varying interest rates.
Q: How is the Rule of 70 different from the Rule of 69 and the Rule of 72?
A: All these rules aim to estimate the time it takes for an investment to double, but the key distinction lies in the dividend used and their accuracy based on the compounding frequency. The Rule of 70 is most appropriate for semi-annual compounding, the Rule of 72 works best for annual compounding, and the Rule of 69 is more accurate when dealing with continuous compounding processes like daily or monthly compounding.
Q: Can the Rule of 70 be applied beyond financial investments, such as personal growth and development?
A: The Rule of 70 can also be applied to personal growth and development. It allows you to set realistic goals, manage your time and resources better, and maximize your potential. By dividing your desired result by a specified growth rate, you can use the Rule of 70 to provide a realistic time frame for doubling your skill set, knowledge, or output. It also helps estimate the impact of consistent improvement over time and illustrates the power of compounding in personal development.
Kurt has gone from the financial lows of the ’08 financial crisis to personal financial success. He is a professional real estate investor owning properties in multiple states.
One of his passions is financial education and the pursuit of financial freedom.
You can learn more about Kurt here.