Total return

SeekingAlpha  Apr 15  Comment 
ByDale Roberts: Seems crazy to write an article on the most-read investing site on the planet with that subject line, "What is Total Return?" That said, it seems like a basic concept to understand, but as we've found out recently on Seeking...
SeekingAlpha  Apr 9  Comment 
By David Crosetti: Introduction: Recently there seems to be a lot of discussion about "total return" investing and how more investors should be focused on "total return" as a guiding principle to their investment strategies. Some of the...
SeekingAlpha  Apr 8  Comment 
ByDale Roberts: In the accumulation phase the only thing that matters is total return*. That is a mathematical fact that should not consume much space or energy or gigs on Seeking Alpha. That may sound like an arrogant statement but certain...
SeekingAlpha  Mar 20  Comment 
ByEddie Herring: You may be familiar with this picture. If not, do you see the old woman or the young woman? While this picture has been used in the past to demonstrate right brain and left brain thinking, I'm simply using it here to illustrate...
SeekingAlpha  Mar 5  Comment 
ByCranky: Dividend Growth is very popular on Seeking Alpha. It doesn't take a Sherlock to recognize that it is likely the most popular topic for readers, and likely one of the investment models or philosophies embraced by new investors arriving...
DailyFinance  Mar 3  Comment 
NEW YORK, NEW YORK -- (Marketwired) -- 03/03/14 -- Brookfield Investment Management Inc. will host a conference call for the Brookfield Total Return Fund Inc. (NYSE:HTR) (the "Fund") on March 10, 2014 at 4:15pm EST. The Fund's portfolio management...
SeekingAlpha  Feb 25  Comment 
ByDuane Batcheler: (Editors' Note: This article covers a micro-cap stock. Please be aware of the risks associated with these stocks.) This is a series of articles attempting to find the "best in class" BDCs for my updated "Total Return...
SeekingAlpha  Feb 16  Comment 
By Steven Bavaria: Last year was a good year for what I began referring to a while ago as my "Savvy Senior" IRA portfolio. (Curious about the name? Read this). Total return for 2013 (capital appreciation plus dividends) was 17.8%, which I am...


Total return

As investors use the term, total return is the change in value of an investment over a given period, assuming reinvestment of any dividends or capital gain distributions, expressed as a percentage of the initial investment. [1] The total return includes dividends, capital gains distributions, and the increase in the net asset value of the asset. [1]

Assets are usually purchased, or equivalently a deposit is made, in hopes of getting a future return, or interest from it. Assets are held to have some recurring, or capital appreciation. Assets are expected to give income, without any work on the asset per se. [2] Total return is all that is expected to return, assuming it is reinvested and expressed as a percent.


An investor purchases an asset for $100 on 1/1/90. The asset yields $10 of cash flows at the end of one year. After one year, the asset has a market value of $130. The investors total return is thus:

Total Return = ( (130 + 10) / 100 ) - 1 = .4, or 40%

Cash Flow

Seen from a cash flow perspective, an asset is something that puts money in your pocket, and a liability is something that takes money out of your pocket. [2] The word investment originates in the Latin "vestis," meaning garment, or vest, and refers to the act of putting assets into others pockets. [3]

14c total from entire, sum total, all, whole. [4] 14c "to come back, act of coming back;" 16c a yield, a profit returning. [5]


  1. Mutual Funds: An Introduction to the Core Concepts by Dr. Mark Mobius ISBN-10: 0470821434 pg 83
  2. Rich Dad Poor Dad Robert T. Kiyosaki ISBN-10: 0446677450 pg61
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