What is simple return?

Moneybox owl standing in front of a chart with upward trendholding a phone with coins

Your simple return shows how much your investments have changed in value since your first contribution, and it can be used to measure how your investments have performed over time. 

How is simple return calculated?

Simple return is calculated by dividing your current earnings (your overall gain or loss plus any fees and bonuses) by your net contributions (your total contributions minus your total withdrawals). 

For example, if you’d invested £1,000 and it grew to £1,100 after a year, your current earnings would be £100. To calculate your simple return, you’d divide your current earnings of £100 by your net contribution of £1,000, which results in a simple return of 10%.

At Moneybox, you can calculate your simple return using the current earnings and net contributions shown on your Breakdown screen. 

Simple returns vs time-weighted returns

One of the quirks of simple return is the skewing effect of contributions and withdrawals. This means contributing into your account decreases your simple return, and withdrawing from your account increases it.

Using our first example, if you withdrew £500 at the end of the year, you’d now find your simple return to be 20% (calculated by dividing £100 by £500). This doesn’t mean that your investment performance has increased by 10%, it just means it has been skewed by the withdrawal.

This is why we introduced time-weighted returns, which is an alternative way to measure how your investments have performed, and it removes the skewing effect.

So if you see ‘n/a’ displayed for your simple return, don’t worry, it just means that your simple return has been heavily skewed by your withdrawals. In this scenario, using time-weighted returns might be a more effective way to see how your investments have performed.