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Understanding Total Return

Understanding Total Return

February 07, 2024

When we talk about building a solid retirement plan, especially in sunny Pensacola where the beach life might make you want to retire early, focusing solely on dividend yields is like fishing with just one type of bait. Sure, you'll catch something, but imagine what you're missing out on in the vast sea of investment opportunities. This is where the total return approach comes into play, a strategy that considers both the fish you've caught (dividends and interest) and the ones that got bigger while you were holding onto them (capital gains).

Let's break it down with an example that's as easy to understand. Suppose you've got an IRA or a ROTH IRA. You've invested in a mix of assets, including some dividend-paying stocks because, let's face it, who doesn't like a little extra cash flow? But, you also cast your net wider to include non-dividend-paying stocks with potential for price appreciation. Over time, some of these stocks might not hand you cash directly, but they grow in value. When you decide to sell them at a higher price than you bought them for, that's capital gains—a crucial part of your total return.

By adopting a total return approach, you're not just sitting back and collecting dividends; you're actively managing your portfolio to ensure it grows in value over time. This strategy is particularly important when planning for retirement. Whether it's through your IRA or ROTH IRA, focusing on the overall growth of your investments means you're looking at the big picture, ensuring you have a well-rounded portfolio that's capable of supporting your dream retirement in Pensacola or wherever your retirement paradise might be.

Remember, the goal of investing for retirement isn't just about earning dividends; it's about increasing the total value of your investments to secure a comfortable and financially stable retirement.