What if I ran the bank? Well, I’m glad I rhetorically asked!
I would do away with the drab old types of interest: “compounded annually,” “compounded continuously”… I’m asleep before I’ve even listed a third. Instead, I’d offer the following dramatically more awesome types of interest.
Compounded sporadically: Your balance grows whenever I remember to update the spreadsheet.
Compounded in media res: We begin by revealing your shocking balance statement from 5 years in the future. Then, in real time, you experience the thrilling story of how that balance came to be.
Compounded over social media: Any interest you earn is paid out in the form of Twitter followers and likes on your band’s Facebook page. For large investors (over $50,000), a bank representative will claim to have actually listened to your music, though she won’t remember any specific songs.
Compounded without the middleman: We transfer any interest you earn directly to the bar, store, or casino where—let’s be honest—you were going to lose it all anyway. (For a convenience fee, we will do the same for your principal.)
Compounded theatrically: Right before I update the spreadsheet, I hum a dramatic musical sting, such as “ba bada BAH!” or the Jaws theme.
Compounded historically: In this account, the violent conquests of your ancestors pay many forms of interest, all of which you may collect automatically, without weighing the ethical implications. Enjoy!
Compounded by Malcolm Gladwell: Your balance statement will be wonderfully clear, thought-provoking, and enjoyable to read. It may or may not reflect how much money you actually have.
Compounded via political dysfunction: Your entire investment will be spent on a lobbyist for laxer banking regulations. The expense will pay off 10,000-fold, though not necessarily for you.
Compounded Madoff-ly: After years of dubiously high interest, it will come out that I’m just typing random numbers into the spreadsheet, and have actually spent your entire investment on my dream of opening a risotto food truck.
Compounded 2006-style: If your balance exceeds $0.76, we will urge you to buy a three-bedroom house. No down payment required! Don’t worry, we trust you.