Return vs. Yield: What’s the Difference? (With Examples)

What is the difference between yield and return?

Most bond funds’ primary goal is to generate income. However, if you only pay attention to a bond fund’s yield, you only get a partial picture. Bond investments can be examined more thoroughly by examining the fund’s total return, which combines yield and changes in the fund’s or the bond’s price changes. The net total return may also take fees and taxes into account.

Yields vs Returns in 2mins

What is yield?

Yield is the term used to describe the earnings that were made on an investment over time. It represents the potential earnings that a business or investor could expect to receive under the same circumstances. In most cases, yield is a percentage based on:

When using constant or varying valuations, categorize the yield as known or anticipated. While anticipated yield has a fluctuating valuation, known yield has a fixed valuation.

What is return?

Return, also referred to as “financial return,” is the money made or lost as a result of an investment’s performance over time. Returns are frequently expressed as a percentage of the profit-to-investment ratio and as the dollar value of investments over time.

In addition, some returns appear as net results or gross returns that only take the price into account. A common example of this is a 401(k).

What are the differences between return and yield?

The key distinctions between returns and yields for businesses are as follows:

Past performance vs future performance

Returns are an analysis of past performance. They keep track of how much money an investor has already made from an investment over a certain amount of time. Returns account for:

Alternatively, yields analyze potential future performance. Based on the assumption that interest rates will remain stable, yields forecast future earnings. Yields account for:

Absolute dollar amount vs percentage increase

Returns are frequently described as a specific dollar amount, referring to earnings from an earlier period of investment. Yields are referred to as an estimated annual percentage increase on an investment because they are projections.

Change in value vs. measure of income

Returns represent the overall change in value, assuming that the owner of the investment fund reinvested all dividends and gains. Yield is the measurement of income rather than capital gains and shows the income and earnings on investments.

No risk vs future risk

Returns are merely a metric that measures historical performance, so they carry no risk. Risk is the main element of yields because they are predictions of the future intended to help with decision-making. The projection for a yield increases in proportion to the level of risk. Though not all investments carry the same amount of risk.

Examples and calculations returns

The returns for three different scenarios were calculated as shown by the examples below:

Return on investment

A ratio comparing net profit to the cost of an investment is known as a return on investment (ROI). ROI is the return on investment (return on investment) expressed simply. Calculating ROI involves dividing the return by the initial investment. You find the percentage by multiplying the result by 100.

Assume you put $1,000 into a real estate business to build a house. After a year passes, your accumulated returns amount to $200. Heres how you would determine the ROI:

ROI = (200 / 1,000) x 100

ROI = 0.2 x 100

ROI = 20%

Your ROI for the housing project is 20%.

Return on equity

Return on equity (ROE) is a metric used to assess a company’s profitability. Divide the net income by the average shareholders equity to get return on equity (ROE), which measures net income per dollar invested in stocks.

For instance, a clothing retailer’s net income last year was $100,000. The average equity capital during that period was $1,000,000. You would run the calculations below to determine the retailers ROI:

ROE = (100,000 / 1,000,000) x 100

ROE = 0.1 x 100

ROE = 10%

The clothing retailers ROE is 10%.

Return on assets

Return on assets (ROA) measures the profitability of a company’s assets as a percentage. ROA is calculated by dividing net income by the average of all assets.

For instance, a pet store’s annual net income is $50,000. Their total assets during that period amounted to $150,000. Heres how you would find the ROA:

ROA = (50,000 / 150,000) x 100

ROA = 0.3 x 100

ROA = 30%

The pet stores ROA is 30%.

Examples and calculations of yields

The amount of income obtained from stock investments is known as a yield on stock. There are two primary types of yields used for stocks:

Yield on cost

YOC is calculated by summing the dividends received and price increase, then dividing the result by the purchase price. For instance, after investing $2,000 and seeing a price increase of the same amount, the investor made a profit of $1,000. Additionally, they received a $20 dividend payment from the company they invested in. The following is how you can find the YOC:

YOC = [(1,000 + 20) / 1,000] x 100

YOC = (1,020 / 1,000) x 100

YOC = 1.02 x 100

YOC = 102%

The investors yield on cost is 102%.

Yield on bonds

The income derived from a bond is its yield. Some bonds require a nominal yield (NY) for calculation of their annual interest payments. To determine the nominal yield, divide the annual interest received by the bond’s face value, then multiply the result by 100 to get the percentage.

As an illustration, a buyer chooses a $1,000 bond with a one-year maturity and 5% yearly interest. After five years, $50 accrues. To determine the investors nominal yield, heres the calculation:

NY = (50 / 1,000) x 100

NY = 0.05 x 100

NY = 5%

The investors nominal yield or yield on bond is 5%.


Which is better yield or return?

The total return is more significant than the dividend yield if all you are interested in is determining which stocks have outperformed others over time. The dividend yield is more significant if you are counting on your investments to generate a steady stream of income.

Does yield mean return?

Yield is defined as the income return on investment. The interest or dividends received from a security are referred to by this term, which is typically expressed as an annual percentage based on the investment’s purchase price, its current market value, or its face value.

Does higher yield mean higher return?

A higher value is frequently interpreted as a sign of lower risk and higher income because a higher yield value shows that an investor can recover higher sums of cash flows from their investments.

Does total return include yield?

Yield is the monthly or quarterly income that a fund pays out. You have the option of receiving this income as a check or investing it back into the fund. Interest payments made by the bonds held in the fund have an impact on the overall return. Included are any capital gains, losses, and increases in portfolio value.

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