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<<I just received my 401(k) statement today, and I am trying to analyze my returns>>

TMFPixy wrote:
<<You can get a rough approximation of return, though, by using the average balance you were playing with. IF: S = Starting balance, C = Contributions, A = Average balance, E = Ending balance, R = Return

Then: A = (S + C) / 2 and R = (E - A) / E>>

I just needed a doubleu-check, here, shouldn't that be "A=S+(C/2)"? Assuming the S earned a full year's returns, while the C's earned (on average) only half a year's returns?

<<It's not accurate, but it will give you a rough idea of performance. You could get closer by computing quarterly A's and R's and then averaging the R's, but you don't have that data.>>

With a halfway decent spreadsheet, you can build a column with the starting balance, each contribution, and a space for a total. Stuff an estimate of your return somewhere (I'll call it ereturn), plus the ending balance somewhere (next to the total is good). Build a formula which takes each contribution and the starting balance, multiplies by 1+(ereturn/12)*(months the amount was around for), and then sums it all.

Is that less than the ending contribution, or more? Adjust the estimated return accordingly. I know, this is a _very_ ugly way to do things, but it only takes something like 5 minutes, and if you only need the result once a year, it's not a problem.

[I often use this type of thing when I know what I need, but don't know which function I want to use. For short periods, it's quick enough to just hack it out rather than reading for ten minutes or searching the web for fifteen.]

Later,
shess

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