I have a few accounts with Vanguard and because of the many transactions that I have on there, it’s sometimes hard to know what my investment performance is.
Vanguard has a link where they tell you how to check your personal performance. I thought I would dive into a little more detail.
The overall investment performance is the performance of the particular fund and doesn’t have anything to do with your own portfolio. If you hold a particular index fund such as an ETF then it may have gone up by 8% for the year. But if you sold out of it prematurely or bought it when it was priced high during the year then your personal performance will be lower.
Also, investment return data shows that most investors underperform the market by quite a bit. The last such studies I came across showed an average personal performance of 2% while the market had an average performance of 10%.
This has to do with us panicking and selling prematurely or trading too frequently and not allowing our investment portfolio adequate time to grow.
My personal performance is how my investment portfolio performs overall, taking into account how much I invested, how much I withdrew, the appreciation of the particular fund, and its dividend income.
Rate of Return
One way I can summarize the performance of my investment accounts is to calculate its rate of return. This is the annual average percentage by which my account has grown.
This doesn’t include additions to the account. It only calculates the returns from fund appreciation and dividend income. This is then averaged over however long I’ve been investing my money for.
My goal is for my overall investment portfolio to underperform the best-performing asset in my class.
That’s the point of asset allocation and investment diversification. Though my stock funds might be my strongest drivers usually, I try to have some bonds to soften the blow.
The bond fund is what will lower my overall investment performance which is intentional.
Vanguard Personal Performance
Here is a step by step to get you to your personal performance page.
Go to [My Accounts].
Click on [Personal Performance].
This should take you directly to your personal performance screen where you should see a graph of how all your accounts performed.
If you don’t see that then click on the [Personal performance] tab lower down on the screen.
You should now see the screen below which, for you, will be the overall performance of all your funds. But you’re going to want to select each account individually to see how you’ve done in it.
By default, [Groups] will be selected which will show the performance of everything you have with Vanguard.
In order to see individual accounts, click on [Accounts] on the bottom of the screen and you can then select whichever account’s performance you’d like to view.
My Personal Performance by Account
I will go over each account type that I have with Vanguard to show you my investment performance numbers and what they mean.
I have 3 main accounts with Vanguard:
- private brokerage
- traditional IRA
- Roth IRA
1. Private Brokerage Performance
My private brokerage in Vanguard holds about $196,348.
I have a personal rate of return of 5.9%. Which is the average annual return I earned over the past 4 years.
If I hover over the graph I get more details.
You can see that I had invested a total of $167,078. That includes all my deposits and withdrawals.
I probably started with like $25k and slowly added to that over the last 4 years. That’s why my actual returns will be lower than how each single fund performed individually.
My entire investment return is made up of $19,232 of market gains and $10,038 in income returns from dividends. For a total of $29,270 of profits.
In summary, I invested a total of $167,000 and had some $29,000 in appreciation and profits. That makes for a 17% profit for the entire account as a whole.
2. Traditional IRA Performance
My returns are a little higher here – average annual rate of return of 10% – because I withdrew less money from this account.
I invested $120,000 and have an ending balance of $156,000. That’s a total profit of 29% since I first started this account.
3. Roth IRA Performance
This account holds only a Vanguard REIT fund so it’s a little simpler unlike the other ones where I invest in multiple different funds.
I had no major fund appreciations, only $62, but I’ve had a good amount of dividend income from this account – $2,950.
That puts me at a total return of 17% and an annual average annual rate of return of 4.2%.