Investing Answers Building and Protecting Your Wealth through Education Publisher of The Next Banks That Could Fail
Investing Answers Building and Protecting Your Wealth through Education Publisher of The Next Banks That Could Fail

Real Rate of Return

What it is:

A real rate of return is a return on an investment that is adjusted for inflation, taxes or other external factors.

How it works (Example):

Let's say John Doe opens a savings account that offers a 2.5% interest rate (this is called the nominal rate). This sounds like a nice deal, until you consider the 3% inflation rate and the 28% tax John must pay on the interest. Acccordingly, John's real rate of return is negative (2.5% - 3% loss for inflation – 28% tax on interest income).

Why it Matters:

It is critical to consider the real rate of return on an investment before investing. Inflation, which is often 2% or 3% per year, reduces the value of money as time passes, and taxes certainly take a chunk away too. What's left -- the real rate of return -- often can be unimpressive after considering these adjustments. Accordingly, investors must consider whether the risk associated with the investment is appropriate given the real rate of return.

Related Terms View All
  • Auction Market
    Though most of the trading is done via computer, auction markets can also be operated via...
  • Best Execution
    Let's assume you place an order to buy 100 shares of Company XYZ stock. The current quote...
  • Book-Entry Savings Bond
    Savings bonds are bonds issued by the U.S. government at face values ranging from $50 to...
  • Break-Even Point
    The basic idea behind break-even point is to calculate the point at which revenues begin...
  • Calendar Year
    If Company XYZ starts its fiscal year on January 1 and ends its fiscal year on December...