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Yearly Rate of Return: Definition, Formula & Example

Updated: November 24, 2022

The yearly rate of return is a measure of the performance of an investment over a one-year period. For example, an investment may have earned a large absolute return over the course of a year, but if the original investment was large, the yearly rate of return may be small.

The yearly rate of return is therefore a measure of how much money an investment has earned over the course of a year, in relation to the amount of money that was originally invested.

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    • The value of an investment at the end of a year is compared to the value at the beginning of the year to determine the yearly rate of return.
    • A stock’s rate of return includes dividend payments and capital growth.
    • The fact that the yearly rate of return only takes into account one year and does not take into account the possibility of compounding over several years is a drawback.

    What Is the Yearly Rate of Return?

    The yearly rate of return is the amount made on a fund over the course of a full year. By dividing the total gain or loss at the end of the year by the original investment made at the beginning of the year, the yearly rate of return is determined. The yearly rate of return or nominal annual rate are other names for this approach.

    It is also commonly referred to as the annualized rate of return or the annual rate of return. 

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    Yearly Rate of Return Formula

    The formula for rate of return can be shown as follows:

    Yearly Rate of Return Formula

    What Does the Yearly Rate of Return Determine?

    The rate of return, which is often stated as a percentage, is the profit (or loss) compared to the cost of the initial investment. When the ROR is positive, the investment is said to have made money; when the ROR is negative, it has lost money.

    For instance, if you estimate a 10% annual rate of return, you’re anticipating that your investment’s value would rise by 10% annually.

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    What Are the Uses of the Yearly Rate of Return?

    The rate of return for all investments is determined annually using the yearly rate of return. It makes it simple to determine which investments are the most profitable by allowing us to compare several investment types over the same time period.

    The yearly rate of return makes it simple for investors with diversified portfolios to compare the performance of various investments. Returns on assets, like stocks, might alter at any time, and a 10% gain from the previous year might be followed by a 30% loss this year.

    It might be challenging to determine an investment’s performance accurately if it has unpredictable returns or changeable interest rates. For investments where the returns are known in terms of a dollar amount but the precise percentage rate is unknown, the yearly rate of return is particularly helpful.

    It is simple to identify underperforming investments and those that offer the best long-term returns by calculating a single yearly percentage for all investments.

    Example of the Yearly Rate of Return

    Let’s say that a stock starts the year at $250.00 per share and closes the year with a market price of $450.00 per share. This would mean that it has an annual interest rate of 80%. 

    In order to figure this out, first, we would divide the beginning unit price by the end-of-year current price, which equals 450 – 250, or 200. 

    Then we split by the starting price, which is 200 / 250 which would equal 0.80. Finally, 0.80 is multiplied by 100 to get a percentage. This means that the rate of return method will equal 80%. 


    The yearly rate of return describes the growth of a stock over a period of time. It is a simple and easy-to-use metric to better understand your investment returns and rate of growth. By using this calculation, you can get a complete picture of the compound rate increase of your stock investment. Meaning you can see whether it has either undergone capital appreciation or depreciation over the period of a year. 

    As with any stock measurement, the annualized rate of return should be used alongside other metrics to get the clearest possible picture. 

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    FAQS on Yearly Rate of Return

    What Is an Average Rate of Return on a 401K?

    According to market conditions, many financial planners estimate that the typical 401(k) portfolio yields an average annual return of 5% to 8%.

    What Is a Good Rate of Return?

    Generally speaking, a yearly ROI of around 7% or higher is regarded as a decent ROI for a bond investment in stocks.

    Is the Rate of Return the Same as the Interest Rate?

    An internal indicator of the return on investment in a project is the rate of return. The interest rate is the imposed cost for borrowing money from lenders.


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