Continuous Compounding Formula

Updated on March 27, 2024
Article byWallstreetmojo Team
Edited byWallstreetmojo Team
Reviewed byDheeraj Vaidya, CFA, FRM

What is Continuous Compounding?

Continuous Compounding calculates the Limit at which the Compounded interest can reach by constantly compounding for an indefinite period, thereby increasing the Interest Component and ultimately the portfolio value of the Total Investments.

Key Takeaways

  • Continuous compounding reveals the maximum potential of compounded interest, compounding for an infinite duration, thereby magnifying both the interest component and the overall portfolio value over time.
  • This concept signifies that the principal amount generates returns, and the ceaseless compounding of interest continues to amplify.
  • Instead of recurring interest compounding at regular intervals (monthly, quarterly, or yearly), continuous compounding perpetually reinvests gains. This approach offers the advantage of ongoing interest reinvestment, facilitating substantial profit accumulation.

Continuous Compounding Formula

Continuous Compounding Formula = P * erf
continuous compounding formula

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For eg:
Source: Continuous Compounding Formula (wallstreetmojo.com)

The continuous compounding formulaCompounding FormulaCompounding is a method of investing in which the income generated by an investment is reinvested, and the new principal amount is increased by the amount of income reinvested. Depending on the time period of deposit, interest is added to the principal amount.read more determines the interest earned, which is repeatedly compounded for an infinite period.

where,

  • P = Principal amount (Present Value)
  • t = Time
  • r = Interest Rate

The calculation assumes constant compounding over an infinite number of periods. Since the period is infinite, the exponent helps in the multiplication of the current investment. This is multiplied by the current rate and time. Despite many investments, the difference in total interest earned through continuous compounding excel is less than traditional compounding, which will be examined through examples.

Example

Let us analyze some of the instances:

You can download this Continuous Compounding Excel Template here – Continuous Compounding Excel Template

If an initial investment of $1,000 is invested at 8% interest per year with continuous compounding, how much would be in the account after five years?

  • P = $1,000, r= 8%, n= 5 years
  • FV = P * e rt = 1,000 * e (0.08) (5) = 1,000 * e (0.40) [Exponent of 0.4 is 1.491] = 1,000 * 1.491                                    
  • = $1,491.8

Let us calculate the effects of the same on regular compounding:

Annual Compounding:

  • FV = 1,000 * (1 + 0.08) ^ 1 = $1,080

Semi-Annual Compounding:

  • FV = 1,000 * [(1 + 0.08/2)] ^ 2   
  • = 1,000 * (1.04) ^ 2   
  • = 1,000 * 1.0816   =   $1,081.60

Quarterly Compounding:

  • FV = 1,000 * [(1 + 0.08/4)] ^ 4
  • = 1,000 * (1.02) ^ 4
  • = 1,000 * 1.08243
  • = $1,082.43

Monthly Compounding:

  • FV = 1,000 * [(1 + 0.08/12)] ^ 12
  • = 1,000 * (1.006) ^ 4
  • = 1,000 * 1.083
  • = $1,083

Continuous Compounding:

  • FV = 1,000 * e 0.08
  • = 1,000 * 1.08328
  • = $1,083.29

As can be observed from the above example, the interest earned from continuous compounding is $83.28, which is only $0.28 more than monthly compounding.

Another example can say a Savings Account pays 6% annual interest, compounded continuously. How much must be invested to have $100,000 in the account 30 years from now?

  • FV = PV * ert
  • PV = FV * e – rt
  • PV = 100,000 * e – (0.06) (30)
  • PV = 100,000 * e – (1.80)
  • PV = 100,000 * 0.1652988
  • PV = $16,529.89

Thus, if an amount of $16,530 (rounded off) is invested today, it will yield $100,000 after 30 years at the given rate.

Another instance can be if a loan sharkLoan SharkA loan shark offers easy credit to borrowers at unreasonably high interest rates. Such lenders usually trap destitute borrowers who are desperate for immediate cash. They make profits out of exorbitant rates and unethical vehicles of debt recovery. read more charges 80% interest, compounded continuously, what will be the effective annual interest rate?

  • Interest rate = e 0.80 – 1
  • = 2.2255 – 1 = 1.22.55 = 122.55%

Uses

  1. Rather than continuously compounding of interest on a monthlyCompounding Of Interest On A MonthlyMonthly compound interest refers to the compounding of interest every month, which implies that the compounding interest is charged both on the principal and the accumulated interest.read more, quarterly, or annual, this will effectively reinvest gains perpetually.
  2. The effect allows interest amount to be reinvested, thereby allowing an investor to earn exponentially.
  3. This determines that it is not only the principal amount that will earn money, but the continuous compounding of interest amount will also keep on multiplying.

Continuous Compounding Calculator

You can use the following Calculator

P
r
t
Continuous Compounding Formula =
 

Continuous Compounding Formula = P x e(r x t) =
0 * e(0 * 0) = 0

Continuous Compounding Formula in Excel (with excel template)

This is very simple. You need to provide the Principle Amount, Time, and Interest rate inputs.

You can easily calculate the ratio in the template provided.

Example – 1

You can easily calculate the ratio in the template provided.

example 1

Let us calculate the effects of the same on regular compounding:

example 2

As can be observed from the continuous compounding exampleCompounding ExampleCompounding is a method of investing in which the income generated by an investment is reinvested, and the new principal amount is increased by the amount of income reinvested. Depending on the time period of deposit, interest is added to the principal amount.read more, the interest earned from this compounding is $83.28, which is only $0.28 more than monthly compounding.

Example – 2

example 3

Example – 3

example 4

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What is regular compounding vs. continuous compounding? 

Regular compounding involves the periodic addition of earned interest back into the principal at specified intervals, such as annually, semi-annually, quarterly, or monthly. Conversely, continuous compounding assumes that interest is being added to the principal continuously, without any discrete intervals. It’s a theoretical concept where the compounding frequency becomes infinite, resulting in the highest possible growth of an investment over time.

2. What is the relevance of continuous compounding? 

Continuous compounding is relevant because it demonstrates the maximum potential growth an investment can achieve. It’s a theoretical ideal that allows us to understand the upper limit of compounding’s effect on investment. While continuous compounding is not practically achievable due to real-world constraints, understanding its principles helps illustrate the remarkable impact of compounding, especially over extended periods.

3. Where is continuous compounding used?

Continuous compounding is used predominantly as a theoretical concept in mathematical finance and the field of calculus. It helps derive important mathematical equations, such as the continuous compounding formula, used in financial calculations. While not directly applied in real-world financial products, its principles influence the development of financial models and calculations that drive investment decisions and financial planning.

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This has guided the Continuous Compounding formula, its uses, and practical examples. Here we also provide you with Continuous Compounding Calculator with a downloadable excel template. You can refer to the following articles as well –

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