If you’ve wondered about how to double your money. This page is the ultimate guide to that quest.
This article will explore many ways in which you could double your money. We’ll set out some low-risk options and some higher-risk options. Some will have positive expected returns, and some will have negative expected returns, but in common they will all provide a chance to double your money.
The higher-risk options will introduce the risk that you may lose money, rather than gain.
Therefore please appreciate that this guide is discussing possibilities and not certainties. The relationship between rewards and risk is at the heart of what I hope this article will ultimately convey.
There is no magical money tree
Before we explore the different ways you can double your money, let’s reflect on what doubling money actually entails.
You’ll end with hopefully twice the value of money you began with. Money is simply a means of acquiring resources, and therefore each pound or dollar in your pocket is a claim to a share of the world’s total output of goods and services. If you double your money, you have doubled the share of these goods and services that you can claim.
Yet everyone wants money. We become educated, train, and work hard all for the pursuit of wages or profits. If everyone is pursuing a self-centric quest to increase their own bank account, to increase their own share of the world’s resources, then who exactly is going to give you think money? For you to significantly increase your own share, someone else must have lost out.
This leads us to an early yet important point in this article; money is never achieved or received in return for nothing. There is always a trade-off. When reading through the methods for doubling your money later in this article, ask yourself the question “What am I giving up or risking in exchange for the chance to double my money?”.
If you cannot clearly put your figure on the trade-off, then you should not invest as this means that you do not fully understand the investment risk.
How to double your money: 4 options
1: Double your money with gambling
The obvious place to begin is with the method most people will associate with doubling their money; gambling.
If you place the right type of bet, your stake will be doubled if the winning conditions of the bet are met. For example, you could check out 20 free no deposit casino UK and place a roulette wheel bet on red or blank. A winning £1 bet on red will return the gambler a £1 return, in addition to their original stake. In this case, your bet has been doubled.
The odds of your bet being successful will vary depending on the exact design of the roulette wheel. If it’s a European Roulette wheel with a single green ‘0’ featured on the wheel, the odds of the ball landing on a red number is 18/37 = 48.6%.
On an American-style Roulette wheel, the addition of a double zero on the wheel further squeezes the odds to 18/38 = 47.3%.
Without green options, this would be a perfectly balanced bet. You would expect to win half of all bets placed, and double your money each time. This would deliver an expected return of 0% over a large number of plays. The inclusion of green numbers gives ‘the house’ an advantage, which means that the longer you play this game, the greater your losses are expected to be.
You can calculate your expected return, by adding together the probability-weighted possible outcomes. On the European table this would be (200% payout * 48.6%) + (0% payout * 51.4%) = 97.2%. This means that if 100 players wagered £1 each, we’d expect their collective purse to be worth £97 after one bet – a loss of £3 across the population.
Because of the house’s edge, gambling is not a sustainable way to double your money over a series of games. The longer you play, the more certain it will be that you will actually lose money rather than gain. Also, if you choose to bet too much, a long chain of losses could wipe out your funds entirely.
This way, it is helping to see gambling as an entertaining way to experience the thrill of risking your money for a short run (or even a single bet) to provide the exciting opportunity to double your money. It should be viewed as a recreational pastime rather than a serious way to save money.
If the money you are trying to double is needed to cover urgent costs or will be used to save for education etc, this would be an illogical method to use. If you or someone you know is struggling to keep gambling fun, you can seek help or find further resources about gambling issues at BeGambleAware.org.
2: Double your money by saving
The next most popular way to double your money is by placing it into a high-interest savings account. Since the Autumn of 2022, the UK has witnessed a substantial increase in the Official Rate of interest set by the Bank of England. This means that for the first time in over a decade, savers face the prospect of receiving a healthy return on their savings in the form of a savings interest rate.
At the time of writing, the highest savings rate available to UK savers without specific requirements (like a connected current account held with the same bank) is 4.9% in a 3-year fixed-term savings account.
So how long would you need a save a lump sum in a high-interest savings account to be able to double your money?
The answer depends on your interest rate, as this will control the speed at which your money grows. Here’s a summary of how long it would take you to double your money in a savings account with different rates of interest.
- 2% = 36 years
- 3% = 24 years
- 4% = 18 years
- 5% = 15 years
- 6% = 12 years
- 7% = 10 years
Therefore, currently, it would take approximately 15 years to double your money if you save with the market-leading interest rate available at the time of writing.
For many, this will feel like an awfully long time.
However, the flip side is that this approach is the lowest risk. This makes it very popular with conservative savers who don’t want to speculate or gamble with their hard-earned money.
That’s because thanks to government support, deposits up to £85,000 saved at a single regulated UK financial institution are fully insured against loss due to failure or mismanagement of the bank. This is known as the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
Is knowing that your money is fully protected enough of a win to justify waiting a lot longer for you to double your money? This is a personal choice and will differ between people due to different tolerances to risk.
3. Double your money by investing broadly in the stock market
Investors who can stomach some volatility in the value of their money as it rises over time, will do well to research stock market investments.
There is a common misconception that investing in the stock market requires a large lump sum and a financial advisor. However, with the right self-education and a sensible choice of stockbroker, you can invest with very little money.
The average historic returns of the stock market vary between 5% and 8% depending on the period chosen. This means that most investors hope to double their money in under ten years.
The word ‘hope’ is very important to emphasise in that sentence. The financial markets are fickle and don’t tend to produce gradual increases in asset prices over an extended period. Rather; they see intense periods of growth, followed by price corrections that see values fall below recent averages.
A good stock market investor needs to fully accept their inability to avoid such crashes, and accept that they are a part of the bumpy journey to long-term growth. If you invest in a fund at the top of the market, you may lose 40% of your money initially, and it could take years longer than originally expected to double your money.
4. Double your money by investing in a single company
Instead of investing in some of the best funds that give access to a diversified portfolio, you could go ‘all-in’ and invest in the shares of a single company.
The share price of an individual firm will move up and down in a more extreme manner than the market as a whole. The entire market, as measured by stock market indices such as the FTSE 100, behaves like an average and therefore benefit from the smoothness caused by risers and fallers offsetting each other.
However, if you only invest in a single firm, you’ll be taken along for the full ride.
Unlike gambling, this approach still has a positive expected return, so long as you invest at an appropriate valuation, and avoid falling victim to an investment scam. After all, companies exist solely to provide a positive return to shareholders through profitable trading and the growth of their business.
However, just because an investment has a positive expected return in theory, does not necessarily translate to you have a good chance of experiencing a positive return yourself.
Consider the following investment opportunity in a pharmaceutical company that is currently researching a moonshot drug programme with a high likelihood of failure, but a lucrative outcome if it secures a breakthrough
- Cost: £100
- 1% chance of a £10,000 return
- 99% chance of a £50 return
Using the same formulae we applied above, we know that the expected return of this investment is:
£10,000 payout * 1% + £50 payout * 99% = £149.50 expected return compared to £100 investment = 49.5% expected return.
Because this positive return is inflated by the tiny chance of a massive payout, it doesn’t reflect the experience of the masses. While the expected return is positive, you will experience a negative return 99 times out of every 100.
This is the crucial reason why successful angel investors don’t place all their eggs in one basket. They try to invest in as many high-risk, positive expected return opportunities as possible. This increases the odds that they will pick an astronomically successful company with at least one of their private equity investments.
Compare equity crowdfunding platforms if you want to take the ultimate risk of backing a company at its early stages. This will carry a high likelihood of failure, but if your investment financially pays off, you’ll do much better than doubling your money.
Summary: Double or nothing
You were looking for ways to double your money and we have outlined four different options in this article; gambling, saving and investing with or without diversification. The financial markets and broader economy offer literally thousands of different opportunities to create wealth using a lump sum of cash, but we’ve honed in on the commonplace opportunities that are available to all adults in the UK.