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What is the Annual Percentage Yield and How is it Calculated?

Created on 17 Oct 2023

Wraps up in 5 Min

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Updated on 20 Oct 2023

annual percentage yield

What if I told you that your money could be working harder than just sitting in your savings account? Seriously, it's not a joke, and you don't need a degree in finance to do it. You can actually earn a bit more than your savings account interest rate. Interested in making your money work for you? Well, you're in the right place.

So, what's the deal with this "Annual Percentage Yield" or APY? It might sound complicated, but it's not. I am here to break it down. In this article, we will understand everything related to APY, from exploring its meaning and how it works to why it's a crucial concept when considering savings accounts. 

Let's get started by understanding its meaning, and maybe we can finally outsmart those sneaky banks! 🥱

Definition of Annual Percentage Yield

Annual Percentage Yield is a financial term you've likely encountered when researching savings accounts. Put simply, APY represents the total interest you earn on your savings over the course of a year, expressed as a percentage. This percentage includes both the interest your money earns as well as any compounding effects, which we'll get into shortly. In other words, it's like growing a money tree in your backyard (if only that were possible🫢).

Let's consider a simple example to illustrate APY. Imagine you deposit ₹1,000 into a savings account with an APY of 6%. At the end of the year, you'll have ₹1,060 in your account, which includes your initial ₹1,000 and ₹60 in interest. This ₹60 interest is precisely what APY is all about. Let’s now understand…

How Annual Percentage Yield Works

APY's magic lies in compounding. Compounding refers to the interest you earn on your initial deposit plus the interest you've already earned. 

Allow me to explain; let’s go back to our example. After the first year, you earned ₹60 in interest. In the second year, you'll earn interest not only on your initial ₹1,000 but also on the ₹60 interest you previously earned. This compounding effect allows your money to grow faster than if you were only earning interest on your initial deposit. To know more about it, make sure to check The Power of Compounding.

Now, you might wonder what sets APY apart from other interest rates. 🤔

The answer? It's all about “Inclusivity”.

So, unlike some other rates, now you know that APY takes into account compounding, making it a more accurate reflection of the interest you'll earn over time. As a result, when comparing savings accounts, it's essential to look at the APY rather than just the nominal interest rate to understand how your savings will grow. You don't want to miss out on any extra pennies, right?

Let us take a look at some of the examples:

Single Annual Payment Example

Let's break down a more complex scenario. Imagine you're considering a ₹1,000 investment that offers a 6% APY. In this case, your annual earnings would amount to ₹60. If you choose to keep the interest in your account, it will compound over the years, and your total balance will grow accordingly. This was very simple, right? Next is…

Monthly Compounding Example

Now consider the same ₹1,000 investment with a 6% APY, but this time with monthly compounding, your interest is added to your account balance every month, and you'll earn interest of ₹61.68. I know you might think there’s barely a difference of ₹1.68, but always remember “Boond boond se hi ghada bharta he”.

Take a look at the infographic below for a better understanding ⤵️

A higher Annual Percentage Yield on your savings account can be a financial game-changer. Even a seemingly modest difference in APY can dramatically boost your savings over time, highlighting the significance of finding the best rate for your financial goals.

Let’s move on to the next segment of the article.

Annual Percentage Rate vs. Annual Percentage Yield

While we're on the topic, it's crucial to understand the difference between Annual Percentage Rate (APR) and APY. APR is the simple interest rate you receive on a loan or investment. It doesn't take compounding into account. On the other hand, APY factors in compounding, making it the more accurate representation of the overall return you'll receive. Refer to the image below to gain a clear understanding of how returns differ between APR and APY ⤵️

When evaluating savings accounts or investments, it's essential to compare APY to APY for an apples-to-apples comparison. Now, if you're feeling adventurous and want to calculate APY for different scenarios, you can do so with a simple formula:

Calculating APY with a formula

APY = (1 + APR / n)^n - 1

Calculating APY using a spreadsheet

APY = (1 + (r / n))^n - 1

Where:

  • ‘r’ is the nominal annual interest rate (in decimal form).
  • ‘n’ is the number of times the interest is compounded per year.

Simply plug in your values for ‘r’ and ‘n’, and you'll get your APY.

You'll notice this formula is quite similar to the spreadsheet formula, with ‘APR’ being the nominal annual interest rate and ‘n’ being the number of compounding periods per year.

Now that you understand the ins and outs of APY, how can you maximise it?

Maximising APY

Here are some tips to squeeze every last drop of interest from my savings:

1. Shop Around: Look for the best savings account interest rate. Not all financial institutions offer the same APY. Comparing different options will help you find the most rewarding one.

2. Consider Online Banks: Online banks often offer higher APYs compared to traditional brick-and-mortar banks due to lower overhead costs. These can be excellent choices for earning more from your savings.

3. High-Yield Savings Accounts: Some banks offer specific accounts designed to provide higher interest rates. These high-yield savings accounts can be a great choice for those seeking to maximise their APY.

4. Avoid Unnecessary Fees: High fees can eat into your interest earnings. Look for accounts with minimal fees or ways to avoid them.

5. Regularly Review Your Accounts: Interest rates can change. Periodically check your account's APY and consider transferring your funds if you find a better option.

The Bottom Line

In conclusion, understanding the Annual Percentage Yield is crucial for making informed decisions about your savings. APY takes into account compounding, making it a more accurate representation of the interest you'll earn on your investments. 

By exploring different savings options, you can maximise your APY and watch your money grow. 

So whether you are saving for a rainy day or chasing your dreams, let APY be your money's secret superhero, helping it grow while you kick back and watch the magic happen. Happy savings! 🚀💰

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Sakshi Dhakre

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Sakshi is an adventurous spirit who enjoys both the intellectual stimulation of Finance and the sensory experiences of good food and nature’s beauty. She has a passion for delving into complex financial topics and distilling them down into easy-to-understand insights. When she's not poring over financial reports, you might find her exploring a new corner of the city, trying out new restaurants and cuisines or admiring the beauty of the night sky.

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