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I'm going to have to google the Beardstown ladies problem . But, be assured that I am accounting for my contributions. I'm not using Excel but Openoffice. It does seem to have the XIRR, but I never used it .

However, if I want to use XIRR to calculate the rate of return within one year, it would appear that I need to input the time of every contribution, dividend, etc. And I'm not sure how I would account for simple valuation changes. If it is so, it seems to be awfully complicated, and seems like having to go that deep into detail is an excellent reason to me not to use XIRR .

In my earlier formula, "annual market value change" is calculated like this :
final balance - all contributions (personal and match) - starting balance .

If I use your example with end = 200, start = 150, total contributions = 30, then using my formulas I find :

annual market value change = 200 - 150 - 30 = 20
rate of return = 100* (20 / (150 + 30/2)) = surprise .. 12.12% !
Our formulas don't disagree much, do they ?
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