Yield: Definition, Meaning, Types and How to Calculate Yield

Yield-meaning, how to calculate
Yield-meaning, how to calculate

We all love to earn from our investments, that’s the idea behind yield. No matter how much of an argument you may wish to put up, this still remains the truth. To this effect, we have brought yield, its meaning, types, and how to calculate it to your staples.
We have a lot to discuss, let us begin.
For the sake of this post, we will interchange yield with returns. However, it is important you know they differ.
Basically, a return is a gain or loss on an investment, while the yield refers to the income returned on the investment. It anticipates interest and dividends earned on an investment, not capital gains. Return, on the other hand, looks at the past as it shows what has been earned.
Definition
Yield in simple terms is the earnings made from an investment or security over a period of time.
Oftentimes, you hear lenders ask how much return they’d make from a loan. They simply mean how much money they will earn as interest on the loan and at what time interval. For shares, it becomes dividends you will earn over a period of time.
It is expressed in percentages. The percentage is based on the amount invested, the current market value, or the face value of the investment security.
It includes interest earned or dividends received from holding particular security over a specific period.

 Yield Meaning

In understanding yield meaning, one would have to know 3 basic things; Cost, return, and time.
If Mr. A bought a share from company ABC at $10(cost) per share with a yearly(time) dividend of $1(return).
What is the return?
(Return/cost) X 100%.
(1/10)×100
0.1×100 = 10%
So with this, one can say the return of this investment is 10%.

Importance of Return

This helps in basic financial and investment decisions. Investors want to put their money where they will get a high return with less capital as well as low risk.
It is a financial ratio that shows how much a company pays in dividends/interest to investors, each year, relative to the security price.
In addition, it measures the cash flow that an investor will get on the money invested in security.
A person who invests $10,000 in a small business capable of giving him $2,000 annually and another who invests $50,000 in another small business capable of earning him $8,000. Which do you think will have more returns?
While the first scenario has a 20% return, the second will have a 16% return. So one will prefer to spread his $10,000 in 5 different investment plans than investing $50,000 in the other small business.
Once it’s about finance, business, and management. This calculation matters a lot in decision making.

What are the types of yield/return

Returns can be classified according to the type of security.

Yield on Stocks


This is based on the type of security.

For investments in stock, two types of returns are popularly known.

  • Cost yield: This is gotten when the return is calculated based on the purchase price.

Cost Yield = (Price Increase + Dividends Paid) / Purchase Price

  • Current yield: To calculate the return here, you use the current market price.

Current Yield = (Price Increase + Dividend Paid) / Current Price

When a company’s stock price increases, the current return decreases because of the inverse relationship between yield and stock price.


Understanding Dividend stock and how to invest is a resource for you to read.

Yield on Bonds

This is another type of return according to security.

There are bonds that pay annual interest. Their calculation is according to the nominal yield.

Nominal Yield = (Annual Interest Earned / Face Value of Bond)


For example, if there is a bond with a face value of $1,000 and maturity of one year and pays 5% annual interest. The return is $50 / $1,000 = 0.05 or 5%.

However, it is important to note that there are bonds with floating interest rates. Their returns change and are not steady over the life of the bond.

Mutual fund yield

This represents the net income return of a mutual fund.

You calculate it by dividing the annual income paid by the value of a mutual fund’s shares.

It includes the income received through dividends and interest earned during the given year.

Since mutual fund valuation changes based on the daily net asset value, the mutual fund returns also vary with the fund’s daily market value.

How to Calculate Yield?

It measures the cash flow an investor receives on the amount invested.

Generally, yield meaning = dividends or interest received in a set period of time / amount originally invested or current price.

For a bond, for example, if you invest $900 in a $1,000 bond that pays a 5% coupon rate, your interest income would be ($1,000 x 5%) = $50. The current yield will be ($50)/($900) = 5.56%.

High return either in stocks or bonds can be the result of a falling market value of the security.

For a stock, there are two kinds of yields: the yield on cost, and current yield.

Yield on Cost = Div/Purchase Price and Current Yield = Div/Current Price

If an investor puts $100 into a stock that paid $1 as an annual dividend. The yield on cost is $1/$100 = 0.01 = 1%.

If the investment made $10 during the year, and its current yield is $1/$110 = 0.009 = 0.91%.

From the examples, we can conclude that if the stock price increases and the dividend remain the same, the current yield will be lower than when the stock was originally bought. This is because yields have an inverse relationship with the stock price.

Read Also: Inverted Yield Curve: All you need to know with detailed analysis (+examples)

How to evaluate yield

Yield is one part of the total return of holding a security.

A higher return allows the owner to regain his investment amount sooner, and so reduces risk. On the other hand, this high return may have been a result of higher risk that has made the market value to fall.

Fears of high inflation in the future mean that investors ask for a high return on investment today.

The relationship between yields and maturity is described by the yield curve.

The more the risk, the higher the return since investors need a form of compensation for the risk.

Yield is quite an interesting subject. Did we explain it to your satisfaction? Leave us a comment in the box below.

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