Investment Returns

Meeting your long-term investment goal is dependent on a number of factors. This not only includes your investment capital and rate of return, but inflation, taxes and your time horizon. This calculator helps you sort through these factors and determine your bottom line. Click the "View Report" button for a detailed look at the results.

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Definitions

Years
The number of years you wish to analyze. This can be any number from one to one hundred.

Rate of return
This is the annually compounded rate of return you expect from your investments before taxes. The actual rate of return is largely dependant on the type of investments you select. From January 1970 to December 2004, the average compounded rate of return for the S&P 500, including reinvestment of dividends, was approximately 11.5% per year. During this period, the highest 12-month return was 64%, and the lowest was -39%. Savings accounts at a bank pay as little as 1% or less. It is important to remember that future rates of return can't be predicted with certainty and that investments that pay higher rates of return are subject to higher risk and volatility. The actual rate of return on investments can vary widely over time, especially for long-term investments. This includes the potential loss of principal on your investment.

Compound Interest
Interest on an investment's interest, plus previous interest. The more frequently this occurs, the sooner your accumulated interest will generate additional interest. You should check with your financial institution to find out how often interest is being compounded on your particular investment.

Initial investment
Total you currently have invested that should be included in this analysis.

Inflation rate
What you expect for the average long-term inflation rate. A common measure of inflation in the U.S. is the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which has a long-term average of 3.1% annually, from 1925 through 2004.

Annual investments
The amount you will contribute each year to your investments. If you check the box to adjust this amount for inflation, your annual investment will increase each year by the inflation rate.

Tax rate
The percentage of your investment return you will pay in taxes. Your taxes are assumed to be payable annually, at the end of the year.

Compounded interest return
Total after-tax return if your investment profit is compounded annually.

Simple interest return
Total after-tax return if your investment profit is simple interest with no compounding.

Total invested capital
Total you have invested. This includes your initial investment and all periodic investments.

Investment final total
Your investments total ending value. If you have checked the box to show values after inflation, this amount is the total value of your investment in today's dollars. If this box is unchecked, it will show the actual value of the investment.