**Starting amount**

The starting balance or current amount you have invested
or saved.

**Years**

The total number of years you are planning to save or
invest.

**Additional contributions**

The amount that you plan on adding to your savings or
investment each period. The investment period options include
weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, quarterly and annually. This
calculator assumes that you make your contributions at the
beginning of each period.

**Rate of return**

The annual rate of return for this investment or savings
account. The actual rate of return is largely dependant
on the type of investments you select. From January 1970
to December 2007, the average compounded rate of return
for the S&P 500, including reinvestment of dividends, was
approximately 11.4% per year (source: www.standardandpoors.com).
During this period, the highest 12-month return was 61%,
and the lowest was -39%. Savings accounts at a bank can
pay as little as 1% or less.

It is important to remember that future rates of return
can't be predicted with certainty and that investments
that pay higher rates of return are generally subject
to higher risk and volatility. The actual rate of return
on investments can vary widely over time, especially for
long-term investments. This includes the potential loss
of principal on your investment. It is not possible to
invest directly in an index and the compounded rate of
return noted above does not reflect sales charges and
other fees that funds and/or investment companies may
charge.

**Compounding**

Earnings on an investment's earnings, plus previous interest.
This calculator allows you to choose the frequency that
your investment's interest or income is added to your account.
The more frequently this occurs, the sooner your accumulated
earnings will generate additional earnings. For stock and
mutual fund investments, you should usually choose 'Annual'.
For savings accounts and CDs, all of the options are valid,
although you will need to check with your financial institution
to find out how often interest is being compounded on your
particular investment.