Simple Way To Find True Return With Fees Included

by Scott Bilker
April 23, 2019

I saw this question come up in a Dateline NBC piece on retirement. So here goes: You have an investment that delivers a 7% return each year. However, you are charged a 2% management fee. What is the real rate of return on your money?

The answer is NOT 5%. Close, but not exactly.

It’s 4.86%.

Think about it like this:

You deposit $100 in the investment.

At the end of one year, you have a 7% return. That’s $7. Now your account balance is $107.00.

But now those investment managers take their 2% from the $107.00, which comes out to be $2.14.

That leaves you with $104.86 or a 4.86% return for the year.

A more straightforward solution is: Rate of Return = (1+0.07)(1-.02)-1 = 0.0486 = 4.86%

Please comment below, and let me know if you got it or if it was too hard, too easy, etc.

Scott Bilker Scott Bilker
Scott Bilker is the founder of DebtSmart and author of the best-selling books, Talk Your Way Out of Credit Card Debt, Credit Card and Debt Management, and How to be more Credit Card and Debt Smart.