2013 S&P 500 Return

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32.39% was the 2013 S&P 500 Return, not the 29.60% you'll see quoted on tons of other sites.

We told you last year, but we'll obnoxiously repeat the lesson once again: dividends matter.  While every other web site on the internet gives you the price returns of the S&P 500, we do the extra step and tell you both types of returns: price returns and dividend reinvestment returns.

2013 S&P 500 Return

2013 S&P 500 Return: Reinvested Dividends vs. Price

2013 S&P 500 Return: Reinvested Dividends vs. Price

Dividend reinvested returns in green, index returns in orange.

We've heard plenty of arguments to the contrary, but they all fail for the same general reason: it makes no sense to consider index returns without doing something with the dividends.  Yes, SPXT isn't a perfect comparison (it ignores taxes and trading fees to list two issues), but it's vastly superior to ignoring dividends altogether.

So, once again, when you look at the S&P 500, please use the S&P 500 Total Return Index, graciously provided by S&P to fix this commonly made error.  For longer time frames, Don't Quit Your Day Job has a S&P 500 Reinvestment Calculator which uses Robert Shiller's data back to 1871 (and, hilariously enough, covers times when the S&P "500" wasn't 500).

1/2/2013 Open12/31/2013 CloseAnnual Return
S&P 500 Total Return2504.453315.5932.39%
S&P 500 Price Return1426.191848.3629.60%

Other years:



PK started DQYDJ in 2009 to research and discuss finance and investing and help answer financial questions. He's expanded DQYDJ to build visualizations, calculators, and interactive tools.

PK lives in New Hampshire with his wife, kids, and dog.

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