Close this search box.

Table of Contents

Annualized Total Return


Annualized total return is a statistical method used in finance to evaluate an investment’s profit or loss over a specified period, typically a year. It depicts the average amount of money earned by an investment each year over a given time period. The calculation takes into account both capital gains and dividends or interest earned, which are then compounded each year.


The phonetics of “Annualized Total Return” is:- Annualized: /ˈæn.ju.ə.laɪzd/- Total: /ˈtoʊ.tl/- Return: /rɪˈtɜːrn/

Key Takeaways

1. Understanding Annualized Total Return:
Annualized total return is a calculation that provides the average return an investment has generated per year. It’s a standard way to compare the performance of different investments over time. These returns, however, don’t guarantee future results. 2. Components of Annualized Total Return:
Annualized total return includes both capital appreciation (or depreciation) and dividends or interest earned by the investment. It takes compound growth into account, allowing for a more accurate reflection of overall performance than a simple yield or straightforward return.3. Applications of Annualized Total Return:
Annualized total return is an important tool for investors, as it provides a standardized basis for comparing the performance of different types of investments. This figure is frequently used by mutual funds, ETFs, and other investment vehicles for reporting their performance data to investors.


The business/finance term ‘Annualized Total Return’ is important because it gives potential or current investors a comprehensive snapshot of the investment’s performance over a specific period of time, often expressed in terms of a year. It takes into account both capital gains and additional profits such as dividends or interest, projecting them over a yearly term. This allows a fair comparison between investments with different time horizons, enhancing investment decision-making. Understanding the annualized total return is essential in accurately evaluating the viability and success of an investment, aiding investors in analyzing trends, assessing risks, and making informed decisions on whether to continue, discontinue, or invest in a given venture.


Annualized Total Return is principally used as an effective tool to gauge the success of an investment or to compare the efficiency of different investments. The primary purpose of annualizing returns is to put all results on a comparable timescale — usually a common period of one year. The idea is to convert shorter- or longer-term returns into an annual measure to enable an apples-to-apples comparison. This is particularly significant when dealing with investments that have been held for different periods of time. A central aspect for which Annualized Total Return is used is in the performance assessment of mutual funds. This metric is most valuable if you’re attempting to compare one fund’s performance to another or to an investment index. Mutual fund companies and other financial services often use annualized total return as part of their marketing materials and investor reports to demonstrate their fund’s track record. The aim is to help investors comprehend how an investment has performed over an extended period and provide a clear, standardized metric for comparison purposes.


1. Example 1: Stock Market Investment Let’s say you invest $10,000 in Apple Inc. stock on January 1, 2020, and by the end of December 2020, your investment has grown to $12,000. You received dividends totaling $200 during the year. So, your Annualized Total Return would be the gain in stock price ($2000) plus the dividend ($200) divided by the initial investment ($10,000), yielding 22% annualized total return.2. Example 2: Mutual FundsIn a mutual fund, consider an initial investment of $5000 in January 2018. Two years later, at the end of December 2019, the value of your investment is $5600, and you haven’t withdrawn any funds in the period. Your annualized total return can be calculated as follows: (($5600 / $5000)^(1/2))-1 = 0.059 or 5.9%. This means, on average, the investment has returned approximately 5.9% per year.3. Example 3: Real Estate InvestmentSuppose you invest $300,000 in a rental property in 2015. In 2020, the value of your property has appreciated to $400,000. Additionally, you’ve earned rental income of $10,000 each year. Over the 5 years, your annualized total return will be the gain in property value ($100,000), plus total rental income ($50,000), divided by initial investment ($300,000), divided by 5 years = 10%.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is an Annualized Total Return?

Annualized total return is a method through which the compounded rate of return for a given investment is adjusted so that it can be measured on an annual basis. It takes into account both capital gains and dividends or interest earned, making it an effective measure of overall investment profitability over a one-year period.

How is Annualized Total Return calculated?

The Annualized Total Return is calculated by taking the geometric average of the periodic return of the investment, and then extrapolating it over a one-year period. This often involves a complicated mathematical formula, usually performed with the help of financial software.

How is the Annualized Total Return different from Total Return?

Annualized Total Return takes into account the time period of investment, standardizing the return as if the investment was made for one year. On the other hand, Total return just provides the actual return without adjusting it for the time period.

Where can I find the Annualized Total Return for a specific investment?

Information about the Annualized Total Return of an investment can be found in financial reports and disclosures provided by the investment company or it can be calculated if the necessary data like periodic returns is available.

Why is Annualized Total Return considered an important metric in finance?

The Annualized Total Return allows investors to compare the performance of different investments over identical periods of time, providing a standardized and objective measure to make comparisons and make informed investment decisions.

Does Annualized Total Return include reinvested dividends?

Yes, the Annualized Total Return includes reinvested dividends or interest. This is beneficial to investors as it provides a comprehensive view of the investment’s performance, including additional earnings from dividends or interest.

Is a higher Annualized Total Return always better?

A higher Annualized Total Return does indicate a more profitable investment within the evaluated year. However, higher expected returns often come with greater risk. Hence, investors need to consider their risk tolerance level along with return potential before investing.

Related Finance Terms

  • Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR): This represents the rate at which an investment would have grown if it had grown at the same rate every year and profits were reinvested at the end of each year.
  • Rate of Return (RoR): This is the gain or loss made on an investment relative to the amount of money invested.
  • Dividend Yield: It’s a financial metric that shows how much cash an investor is getting for every dollar invested in a company’s equity.
  • Capital Appreciation: This is the increase in value of an asset or an investment over time.
  • Benchmark Index: This is a standard against which the performance of an investment, mutual fund or investment manager can be measured.

Sources for More Information

About Due

Due makes it easier to retire on your terms. We give you a realistic view on exactly where you’re at financially so when you retire you know how much money you’ll get each month. Get started today.

Due Fact-Checking Standards and Processes

To ensure we’re putting out the highest content standards, we sought out the help of certified financial experts and accredited individuals to verify our advice. We also rely on them for the most up to date information and data to make sure our in-depth research has the facts right, for today… Not yesterday. Our financial expert review board allows our readers to not only trust the information they are reading but to act on it as well. Most of our authors are CFP (Certified Financial Planners) or CRPC (Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor) certified and all have college degrees. Learn more about annuities, retirement advice and take the correct steps towards financial freedom and knowing exactly where you stand today. Learn everything about our top-notch financial expert reviews below… Learn More