# Rate of Return Definition

## What is Rate of Return

Rate of return (ROR) is the financial gain or loss an investor receives on their investment. In other words, it’s the increase or decrease in the value of their investment, usually shown as a percentage. For example, an investor puts $100 into a savings account and after a year, they have $110. The additional $10 represents a rate of return of 10 percent.

There are also negative returns whereby a loss is made on the initial investment. For instance, if the share price of a stock goes down by 10 percent, it would represent a negative rate of return.

Investors will use rate of return to evaluate future opportunities and compare past performance of financial instruments such as stocks, bonds, real estate, and even dividend payments. This is usually shown on an annual basis.

##### Key Points

## How to Calculate Rate of Return

The Rate of Return (RoR) measures the gain or loss on an investment over a set period, expressed as a percentage. It considers the initial investment, final value, and any capital gains or losses, interest, or any dividend income. We can calculate it using the following steps:

- Find out the initial investment – the sum of money that was originally invested in the asset.
- Work out the final value of the investment. This is the total value after increases in value from interest, capital gains, or dividends.
- Find out the time period – the time that the investment was held for.
- Calculate the total return of the investment. This is the final value minus the initial investment amount.
- Calculate the rate of return. Divide the total return by the initial investment amount, and then multiply by 100 to get the percentage rate of return.

For example, if you invested $10,000 in a stock and sold it for $12,500 after one year, your total return would be $2,500. To calculate the rate of return, you would divide $2,500 by $10,000, which gives you 0.25, and then multiply by 100 to get 25%. So, your rate of return for the investment is 25%.

### Rate of Return Formula

The formula for calculating the rate of return (RoR) on an investment is as follows:

RoR = [(Ending value of investment – Beginning value of investment) / Beginning value of investment] x 100%

In this formula:

Ending value of investment is the total value of the investment at the end of the investment period, which includes any capital gains or losses, dividends, or interest earned.

Beginning value of investment is the initial amount of money invested in the asset.

By subtracting the beginning value from the ending value and dividing it by the beginning value, you get the percentage increase or decrease in the investment’s value over the given period of time. Multiplying this by 100% gives you the rate of return as a percentage.

For example, suppose you invested $10,000 in a stock and sold it for $12,000 at the end of one year, and you received $500 in dividends during that time. The RoR would be:

[(12,000 + 500 – 10,000) / 10,000] x 100% = 25%

This means that the investment earned a 25% rate of return over one year.

## Rate of Return Calculator

## Rate of Return Example

Let’s say you invested $5,000 in a mutual fund on January 1st, 2022. On December 31st, 2022, the value of your investment had grown to $6,000, and you received $300 in dividends during the year. To calculate your RoR for the year, you would use the following formula:

RoR = [(Ending value of investment – Beginning value of investment + Income) / Beginning value of investment] x 100%

RoR = [(6,000 – 5,000 + 300) / 5,000] x 100%

RoR = 26%

Therefore, your RoR for the year 2022 would be 26%, meaning that your investment earned a return of 26% over the course of the year. This calculation takes into account both the capital appreciation of the investment (the increase in value from $5,000 to $6,000) and the income generated by the investment (the $300 in dividends received during the year).

## Types of Rate of Return

There are different types of rate of return, including total rate of return, simple rate of return, and compound rate of return.

### Compound Rate of Return

Compound Rate of Return (CRR) is a measure of investment performance that takes into account the effect of compounding. Compounding is the process of reinvesting earnings generated by an investment back into the investment, which can result in exponential growth over time.

The Compound Rate of Return is the rate at which an investment grows over a given period of time, taking into account not only the initial investment but also the accumulated earnings generated by the investment. The CRR formula considers the number of compounding periods per year and the time horizon of the investment to calculate the total return generated by the investment over the period.

For example, suppose you invest $10,000 in a stock that grows at a compound rate of return of 10% per year for five years. At the end of the five years, the investment will have grown to $16,386.17, assuming that the earnings are reinvested back into the investment. This calculation takes into account the compounding effect of the earnings generated by the investment.

The Compound Rate of Return is a useful tool for evaluating the performance of an investment over a period of time, particularly for long-term investments. It provides a more accurate picture of the return generated by the investment than the simple rate of return, which only takes into account the capital gains but not the effect of compounding.

### Simple Rate of Return

Simple Rate of Return (SRR) is a measure of investment performance that calculates the return on an investment as a percentage of the initial investment amount. It is a straightforward way to measure the profitability of an investment, and it is often used for short-term investments.

The Simple Rate of Return formula is as follows:

SRR = (Net Profit / Initial Investment) x 100%

Where Net Profit is the difference between the final value of the investment and the initial investment amount.

For example, suppose you buy a stock for $1,000 and sell it for $1,200, making a profit of $200. The Simple Rate of Return for this investment would be:

SRR = ($200 / $1,000) x 100% = 20%

This means that the investment generated a 20% return on the initial investment.

The Simple Rate of Return does not take into account the time value of money, the effects of compounding, or any other factors that may affect the return on an investment over time. Therefore, it is not as accurate as the Compound Rate of Return for evaluating the long-term profitability of an investment. However, it can be a useful tool for comparing the profitability of different short-term investment opportunities.

### Total Rate of Return

Total Rate of Return (TRR) is a financial metric that measures the overall return on an investment over a given period of time. It includes all sources of return, such as price appreciation and dividends or interest payments.

TRR is expressed as a percentage and takes into account both capital gains (increase in the value of the investment) and income generated by the investment (such as dividends or interest). TRR also considers the timing of cash flows, such as dividends or capital gains distributions, and reinvestment of those cash flows.

TRR is a useful measure for evaluating the performance of an investment, as it provides a comprehensive view of the return earned over a specific period of time. It can be calculated for individual securities, mutual funds, or entire portfolios.

It is important to note that TRR does not take into account transaction costs, taxes, or other expenses associated with investing. These costs should be considered when evaluating the overall performance of an investment.

## Factors affecting Rate of Return

- Time Horizon: The length of the investment period affects the rate of return. Short-term investments tend to have lower returns than long-term investments, but they may also involve less risk.
- Risk vs. Return: The higher the potential return of an investment, the higher the risk. It’s important to evaluate the risk and return trade-off when making investment decisions.
- Inflation: Inflation can have a significant impact on the rate of return. It’s important to take into account the inflation rate when calculating the real rate of return.
- Taxation: Taxes can also affect the rate of return. Capital gains taxes can reduce the overall return on an investment.
- Benchmarking: Comparing the rate of return of an investment to a benchmark can provide insight into the performance of the investment. Common benchmarks include stock market indexes like the S&P 500 or the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

## Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) vs. Rate of Return

Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) and Rate of Return (RoR) are both measures of investment performance, but they are calculated differently and serve different purposes.

Rate of Return (RoR) is a measure of the gain or loss on an investment over a given period of time, expressed as a percentage. RoR takes into account the initial investment amount and the final value, including any capital gains or losses, dividends, or interest earned. RoR does not consider the time value of money or the compounding effect of reinvesting earnings.

On the other hand, Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) is a measure of the average annual rate of return on an investment over a specified period of time, assuming that the investment has been reinvested at the end of each year. CAGR takes into account the compounding effect of reinvesting earnings, which means that the returns earned in one year are added to the investment value and earn returns in the following year. CAGR provides a more accurate measure of investment performance over time, especially when comparing investments with different time horizons.

To summarize, RoR measures the total return on an investment, while CAGR measures the average annual return on an investment over a specific period of time, taking into account the compounding effect of reinvesting earnings.

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### About Paul

Paul Boyce is an economics editor with over 10 years experience in the industry. Currently working as a consultant within the financial services sector, Paul is the CEO and chief editor of BoyceWire. He has written publications for FEE, the Mises Institute, and many others.