Understanding Investment Returns

Investment Returns Are The Profits Or Losses That An Investor Earns From Their Investments. Investment Returns Can Also Be Measured In Terms Of Risk-Adjusted Returns, Which Take Into Account The Volatility Of The Investment And The Amount Of Risk The Investor Takes. They Can Help Investors Compare Different Investments And Determine The Most Suitable Investments For Their Risk Tolerance And Goals.


Investment returns are generally measured as a percentage of the original investment and can be calculated over different periods, such as daily, monthly, semi-annually, or annually. The most common way to measure investment returns is the total return, which includes both capital appreciation and income, such as dividends and interest. Another way to determine investment returns is the compound return, which accounts for the reinvestment of returns and can result in exponential growth over time.

Investment returns and volatility are generally inversely correlated, meaning that investments with higher returns tend to have higher volatility and vice versa. A higher volatility means the investment is more likely to experience more significant swings in value, which can lead to potential losses.

Capital preservation is the ability of an investment to maintain its value over time, which is generally negatively correlated with volatility. Capital preservation is usually achieved by investing in low-risk, low-volatile investments. This is because less volatile investments tend to carry the least risks and offer a greater degree of security and vice versa.  


Investment returns can be measured in a variety of ways and can include both capital appreciation and income.

  1. Capital appreciation: This is the increase in the value of an investment, such as a stock or real estate, over time.
  2. Dividend income: This is the money paid out to investors by a company as a return on their investment. Dividends are generally paid quarterly.
  3. Interest income: This is the money earned from an investment that pays interest, such as a bond or a savings account. Interest is generally paid regularly, such as monthly or annually.
  4. Rental income: This is the money earned from renting out a property, such as a rental property or a storage facility.
  5. Royalty income: This is the money earned from using an asset, such as a patent, trademark, or copyrighted work.
  6. Total return: This is the sum of all the returns on an investment over a certain period, including capital appreciation, dividends, interest, and other income.
  7. Compound return: This is the return on an investment over a period of time, including capital appreciation and income, where the returns are reinvested. This allows the returns to compound over time, leading to exponential growth.
  8. Relative return: This is the return of an investment relative to a benchmark or other investment. It measures the performance of an investment relative to a benchmark rather than in absolute terms.

It’s important to note that different investments have different returns, and that past performance is not always indicative of future performance. Investors should always research and consult a financial advisor before making any investment decisions.


Fixed interest return, compounding returns, relative return, and cumulative return are different ways to measure the performance of an investment.

  1. Fixed interest return: A fixed interest return is the interest rate that an investment pays out regularly, usually annually or semi-annually. For example, if an investment pays a fixed interest rate of 5% per year, an investor will receive $50 in interest for every $1,000 invested.
  2. Compounding returns: Compounding returns refer to the process of reinvesting the interest or dividends earned on investment so that the investment can earn interest on top of interest. This can result in an exponential growth as the returns on the investment compound over time.
  3. Relative return: A relative return compares the performance of an investment to a benchmark, such as a stock market index or bond market index. For example, if an investment has a relative return of 10% and the benchmark has returned 5%, the investment has outperformed the benchmark by 5%.
  4. Cumulative return: A cumulative return is a total return on an investment over a period of time, including both capital appreciation and income. It considers the change in the value of the investment and any income or dividends it has generated. It is usually represented as a percentage of the original investment.

In terms of long-term investment performance, compounding returns and cumulative returns are the most useful ways to evaluate an investment’s performance. Compounding returns take into account the reinvestment of returns, which can result in exponential growth over time, and cumulative return takes into account both the change in the value of the investment and any income or dividends it has generated. Both are essential factors to consider when evaluating the long-term performance of an investment.

Fixed interest and relative return can provide helpful information but do not give a complete picture of an investment’s performance over time. As always, it’s essential to consider all these factors when evaluating an investment’s performance and consult with a financial advisor to determine if they suit your investment strategy.


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