Gold Return Calculator (Inflation Adjusted)

September 7th, 2020 by 

Below is a gold return calculator which calculates the return made buying and selling gold (without transaction fees).  Enter the ending and starting dates for a theoretical investment, and we'll do the math. Optionally, adjust for inflation using CPI

If you find this interesting, please also see our Treasury Return Calculator, S&P 500 Total Return Calculator and Daily Inflation Calculator.

(Note: the data file is large; give it some time on first load.)

Inflation Adjusted Gold Return Calculator

This gold calculator takes 10:30 AM daily gold prices from the London Bullion Market from the St. Louis Fed and calculates the difference in price levels.

  • Starting Date - The day the investment started. (Note the tool may move this date to account for missing data).
  • Ending Date - The day the gold was sold. (The tool may switch the date for missing data).
  • Total Gold Return - Either be the total price return on gold from starting to the ending date, or the same return adjusted for inflation.
  • Annualized Gold Return - The annualized return of the above calculation. 
  • Inflation Adjusted (CPI-U)? - Denotes whether the calculation performed was inflation adjusted as explained in the Daily Inflation Calculator methodology section.

Methodology on the Gold Return Calculator

The gold price used in the calculator is from the St. Louis Fed, and is the 10:30 AM price in the London Bullion market. Not every day is listed, so the calculator may adjust the dates slightly to avoid weekends or days where there was no trading in London.

The inflation methodology is exactly the same as for the daily inflation calculator.  Please see the methodology section there.

We use Javascript date objects to calculate the number of days between two dates. We then annualize the returns so you can easily compare the return on gold to other investments.

Implications on Gold Investing

Unlike with our 10 Year Treasury return calculator or the S&P 500 Total Return Calculator, an investor in gold didn't have to worry about dividends. Even when gold has a run-up in price, investors in the shiny metal fight a constant battle with inflation. There are some date ranges where a nominal gain in the price of gold was completely overwhelmed by inflation.

Limitations on the Gold Return Calculator

The gold return calculator's results should be used for research or informational purposes only. Do not rely on this tool for forensics or precision!

As always, the assumptions in this tool limit its usefulness. You won't be able to say with 100% precision how a gold investor performed. This tool assumes no transaction fees, management fees, storage fees, or anything of that nature.

Gold sales have transaction fees in most cases. Also, there is risk to storing physical gold, so major investors often also pay storage and housing fees.

As for the tool, there are a number of off-by-one type errors you can run into around leap years. The tool assumes 365 days in a year, regardless of whether February 29 would have appeared between the two dates or not. (Give us some slack, though - the Treasury uses 360 day years to make monthly math easy!)

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