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2013 S&P 500 Return

Written by:
PK

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:

Don't Quit Your Day Job...

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