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Why is more interest paid at the beginning of a loan than the end?

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2007-12-05 21:57:54
2007-12-05 21:57:54

I presume that the person asking the question is referring to a loan with so called "levelized payments". Most mortgages have levelized payments which means that during the duration of the loan each month and each year you pay the same amount to your lender. Each payment to the lender consists of interest and principal payments. Via the principal payments you repay the lender the amount you borrowed. Interest is the compensation you pay for borrowing the money. This is the profit for the lender. Every time you borrow money you only pay interest on the amount that you owe the lender. When you first borrow money and have not paid back any principal, you have to pay interest over the entire amount you borrowed. After you have made several payments you have repaid part of what you have borrowed from the lender. The amount outstanding is lower than in the beginning. Hence the amount of interest you have to pay is less than in the beginning. Let's assume the principal is $100. In the beginning, the interest is calculated on the entire principal that is outstanding i.e., $100. When you pay $20 as installment towards repayment of the loan, $6 (say) goes towards interest component and the balance $14 towards principal repayment. Hence the principal outstanding is now $100- $14 = $86. The next installment is also $20. The interest component is 6% of $86= $5.16 (as against $6 for the previous installment). The principal component = $14.84. The outstanding principal now is $86 - $14.84 = $71.16 and so on. You can see that the interest component keeps decreasing while the principal component keeps increasing with time. The key is that the interest is calculated on the outstanding principal and hence varies with time.

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