Investment Calculator

Use our investment calculator to calculate how much your money may grow and return over time when invested in stocks, mutual funds or other investments.

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About this investment calculator

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Written by Chris Davis
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Edited by Arielle O'Shea
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The goal of any investment is to get more cash out than you put in. The profit (or loss) you incur is your "return on investment." Thanks to compounding returns, the longer you leave your money invested, the higher your potential returns could be.

Use this investment calculator to estimate how your investment could grow over time.

How to use NerdWallet's investment calculator

  1. Enter an initial investment. If you have money to invest right now, include that amount here. If you don’t have an initial amount to invest, you can enter $0.

  2. Enter your regular contributions. If you plan to invest a certain amount, include this amount after selecting the “monthly” option. Or, if you’d rather invest a lump sum once per year, choose “annually” and include your planned annual contribution. If you do not plan to make regular contributions, select either option and enter $0.

  3. Choose how long your investment will grow. How long do you plan to keep your money invested? If you’re investing in stocks, staying invested for at least five years is generally a good idea to weather any post-purchase volatility.

  4. Enter your expected rate of return. As a point of reference, the S&P 500 has a historical average annual total return of about 10%, not accounting for inflation. This doesn’t mean you can expect 10% growth every year. You could experience a gain one year and a loss the next. But if you keep your money invested for the long term, the goal is for these gains and losses to average out over time. We've set the default return to 0%. Feel free to adjust it to match your expectations for your investment portfolio.

  5. Enter how frequently you want your investment returns to compound. Daily compounding is likely to get you closest to estimating typical investment performance. Compounding at more frequent intervals leads to higher growth over time.

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Investment calculator key terms

Initial investment

The lump sum of money you will use to buy an investment, such as stocks.

Expected rate of return

Expressed as a percentage, this is the amount you expect to receive from your investment. If your investment is $100 and you expect a 6% rate of return, you would earn $6 at the end of the investment period.

Dollar-cost averaging

Dollar-cost averaging is a strategy in which you invest set amounts at regular intervals, such as $100 per month, rather than a lump sum all at once.

Total return

Total return is the total amount of profit (or loss) an investment earns, including dividends, interest or other forms of distribution. This differs from price return, which only factors in a stock's change in price, and doesn't include additional distributions.

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