Total Return


DEFINITION of 'Total Return'

When measuring performance, the actual rate of return of an investment or a pool of investments over a given evaluation period. Total return includes interest, capital gains, dividends and distributions realized over a given period of time.


Loading the player...

BREAKING DOWN 'Total Return'

Total return accounts for two categories of return: income and capital appreciation. Income includes interest paid by fixed-income investments, distributions or dividends. Capital appreciation represents the change in the market price of an asset.

  1. Return On Investment - ROI

    A performance measure used to evaluate the efficiency of an investment ...
  2. Dividend

    A distribution of a portion of a company's earnings, decided ...
  3. Return On Equity - ROE

    The amount of net income returned as a percentage of shareholders ...
  4. Compound Return

    The rate of return, usually expressed as a percentage, that represents ...
  5. Absolute Return

    The return that an asset achieves over a certain period of time. ...
  6. Return On Assets - ROA

    An indicator of how profitable a company is relative to its total ...
Related Articles
  1. Term

    Understanding Total Returns

    Total return measures the rate of return earned from an investment over a period of time.
  2. Retirement

    Projected Returns: Honing The Craft

    Find out how to forecast long-term returns on the three major asset classes.
  3. Professionals

    Is Your Investment Manager Skilled Or Lucky?

    Being familiar with composite presentations will help you better assess the quality of an investment manager's performance.
  4. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    Published Mutual Fund Returns Not Always What They Appear

    Survivorship bias erases substandard performers, distorting overall mutual fund returns.
  5. Options & Futures

    Don't Let Brokerage Fees Undermine Your Returns

    Smart investors don't give away more money than necessary in commissions and fees. Find out how to save.
  6. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    Passively Managed Vs. Actively Managed Mutual Funds: Which is Better?

    Learn about the differences between actively and passively managed mutual funds, and for which types of investors each management style is best suited.
  7. Professionals

    How to Navigate Taxable Mutual Fund Distributions

    It's almost time for year-end capital gains distributions for mutual funds. Here's how to monitor them and minimize their tax impact.
  8. Investing Basics

    3 Alternative Investments the Ultra-Rich Usually Own

    Learn about the ultra rich and what normally comprises their net worth; understand the top three alternative investments usually owned by the ultra rich.
  9. Stock Analysis

    The 5 Best Dividend Stocks in the Healthcare Sector

    Learn about the top five dividend stocks of companies operating in the health care sector that generate substantial cash flows to afford high payouts.
  10. Investing

    Baby Boomer Philanthropy Shifts Wealth Adviser Focus

    Wealth advisers who integrate philanthropy and finance planning can stand out with baby boomer clients.
  1. How do dividends affect net asset value (NAV) in mutual funds?

    Distribution of dividends reduces the net asset value (NAV) of mutual fund shares. However, this doesn't mean that fund investors ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. What is the difference between yield and rate of return?

    Both rate of return and yield describe the performance of investments over a set period of time (normally a year), but they ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Which is more important - dividend yield or total return?

    Both dividend yield and total return are terms used to describe the performance of a stock over a certain time period, usually ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. Are Cafeteria plans taxable?

    Whether the benefits you receive through your employer-sponsored cafeteria plan are taxable depends entirely on which benefits ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. Can mutual funds only hold stocks?

    There are some types of mutual funds, called stock funds or equity funds, which hold only stocks. However, there are a number ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. How do I read and analyze an income statement?

    The income statement, also known as the profit and loss (P&L) statement, is the financial statement that depicts the ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Real Estate Investment Trust - REIT

    A REIT is a type of security that invests in real estate through property or mortgages and often trades on major exchanges ...
  2. Section 1231 Property

    A tax term relating to depreciable business property that has been held for over a year. Section 1231 property includes buildings, ...
  3. Term Deposit

    A deposit held at a financial institution that has a fixed term, and guarantees return of principal.
  4. Zero-Sum Game

    A situation in which one person’s gain is equivalent to another’s loss, so that the net change in wealth or benefit is zero. ...
  5. Capitalization Rate

    The rate of return on a real estate investment property based on the income that the property is expected to generate.
  6. Gross Profit

    A company's total revenue (equivalent to total sales) minus the cost of goods sold. Gross profit is the profit a company ...
Trading Center
You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!