Early 20th Century Germany: A Disastrous Stock Market

Benjamin Franklin was so enthralled by the prospect of long-term compounding that he found a way to teach Americans about it even after his death. When he updated his last will in 1789, two thousand pound sterling (about $4,444) each to Boston, Philadelphia, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania and called for 200 years of compounding. At the 100 year mark, Franklin called for 75% of the money to go towards public improvements, and the remaining 25% should be allowed to compounding until 1989 when the remaining funds would be dispersed for public investment projects that would serve the purpose of improving the community and teaching Americans about the value of long-term compounding.

Franklin anticipated that, even with the 75% distribution at the 100 year mark, the $4,444 investment would grow into $36 million at the 200 year mark. That didn’t happen–in 1989, the final disbursements only hit $6.5 million because city managers … Read the rest of this article!