Visualized: How Long Does it Take to Double Your Money?
At first glance, a 7% return on your investment may not seem that impressive. Yet what if you heard that your money could double in roughly 10 years?
The above graphic takes the rule of 72 shortcut and uses the more precise logarithmic formula to show how long it takes to grow your money at different annualized returns.
Why it Pays to Know the Math
Using the classic rule of 72, an investor can estimate how long it takes to double their money. At 7% annual returns, an investor would see $10,000 grow to $20,000 in about a decade by taking 72 and dividing it by 7%, the rate of return.
While the rule of 72 serves as a guide to estimating when your money will double, the more accurate way to arrive at this number is through a logarithmic equation.
In short, it divides the natural log of 2 by the natural log of 1 and adds this to the rate of return. We can see in the table below how leads to different results from the rule of 72:
|Rate of Return||Rule of 72|
# of Years to Double Money
# of Years to Double Money
Consider if an investor put their money in the S&P 500. Historically, it has averaged 11.5% returns between 1928 and 2022. In 6.4 years, their money would double, assuming these average returns.
If they were to put this money in a savings account, where the average savings rate is 0.6%, it would take 120 more years for their money to reach this potential.
In real terms, which takes inflation into account, an investor would see their money lose value if they parked it in a savings account. Historically, inflation has averaged 3.3% over the last century.
Historical Asset Returns
Here’s how often different assets double, based on historical returns between 1928 and 2022:
|Asset||Average Annual Return|
|# of Years to|
|End Value of $100 Invested
|3-Month T Bill||+3.32%||21.22||$2,140.51|
|U.S. T Bond||+4.87%||14.58||$7,006.75|
Source: NYU Stern. *Represents Baa corporate bonds, which are considered investment grade. **Includes reinvested dividends.
We can see that 3-month T-Bills, often considered among the safest assets, doubled about every 21 years. Often, investors consider this a place to put cash that is low-risk and highly liquid.
Interestingly, real estate assets had returns of 4.4%, doubling roughly every 16 years. Between 1928 and 2022, the value of $100 invested in real estate assets would be worth $5,121.52. By contrast, the value of $100 invested in the S&P 500, including reinvested dividends, would have reached over $624,000.
Data from NYU Stern shows that the S&P 500 has doubled about 10 times since 1949—through recessions and bull markets—illustrating the power of investing over the long run.
Visualizing U.S. GDP by Industry in 2023
Services-producing industries account for the majority of U.S. GDP in 2023, followed by other private industries and the government.
Visualizing U.S. GDP by Industry
The U.S. economy is like a giant machine driven by many different industries, each one akin to an essential cog that moves the whole.
Understanding the breakdown of national gross domestic product (GDP) by industry shows where commercial activity is bustling and how diverse the economy truly is.
The above infographic uses data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis to visualize a breakdown of U.S. GDP by industry in 2023. To show this, we use value added by industry, which reflects the difference between gross output and the cost of intermediate inputs.
The Top 10 U.S. Industries by GDP
As of Q1 2023, the annualized GDP of the U.S. sits at $26.5 trillion.
Of this, 88% or $23.5 trillion comes from private industries. The remaining $3 trillion is government spending at the federal, state, and local levels.
Here’s a look at the largest private industries by economic contribution in the United States:
|Industry||Annualized Nominal GDP |
(as of Q1 2023)
|% of U.S. GDP|
|Professional and business services||$3.5T||13%|
|Real estate, rental, and leasing||$3.3T||12%|
|Educational services, health care, and social assistance||$2.3T||9%|
|Finance and insurance||$2.0T||8%|
|Arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodation, and food services||$1.2T||4%|
|Other private industries||$2.6T||10%|
Like most other developed nations, the U.S. economy is largely based on services.
Service-based industries, including professional and business services, real estate, finance, and health care, make up the bulk (70%) of U.S. GDP. In comparison, goods-producing industries like agriculture, manufacturing, mining, and construction play a smaller role.
Professional and business services is the largest industry with $3.5 trillion in value added. It comprises establishments providing legal, consulting, design, administration, and other services. This is followed by real estate at $3.3 trillion, which has consistently been an integral part of the economy.
Due to outsourcing and other factors, the manufacturing industry’s share of GDP has been declining for decades, but it still remains a significant part of the economy. Manufacturing of durable goods (metals, machines, computers) accounts for $1.6 trillion in value added, alongside nondurable goods (food, petroleum, chemicals) at $1.3 trillion.
The Government’s Contribution to GDP
Just like private industries, the government’s value added to GDP consists of compensation of employees, taxes collected (less subsidies), and gross operating surplus.
|Government||Annualized Nominal GDP |
(as of Q1 2023)
|% of U.S. GDP|
|State and Local||$2.1T||8%|
Figures may not add up to the total due to rounding.
State and local government spending, largely focused on the education and public welfare sectors, accounts for the bulk of value added. The Federal contribution to GDP amounts to roughly $948 billion, with 52% of it attributed to national defense.
The Fastest Growing Industries (2022–2032P)
In the next 10 years, services-producing industries are projected to see the fastest growth in output.
The table below shows the five fastest-growing industries in the U.S. from 2022–2032 in terms of total output, based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:
|Industry||Sector||Compound Annual Rate of Output Growth (2022–2032P)|
|Computing infrastructure providers, data processing, and related services||Information||3.9%|
|Wireless telecommunications carriers (except satellite)||Information||3.6%|
|Home health care services||Health care and social assistance||3.6%|
|Oil and gas extraction||Mining||3.5%|
Three of the fastest-growing industries are in the information sector, underscoring the growing role of technology and digital infrastructure. Meanwhile, the projected growth of the oil and gas extraction industry highlights the enduring demand for traditional energy sources, despite the energy transition.
Overall, the development of these industries suggests that the U.S. will continue its shift toward a services-oriented economy. But today, it’s also worth noticing how services- and goods-producing industries are increasingly tied together. For example, it’s now common for tech companies to produce devices, and for manufacturers to use software in their operations.
Therefore, the oncoming tide of growth in service-based industries could potentially lift other interconnected sectors of the diverse U.S. economy.
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