How to Calculate 401(k) Earnings

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It is never too early to start saving for a comfortable and secure retirement. In fact, the sooner you start saving and investing in a 401k program the more you should be able to accumulate over a lifetime of work. It is important to keep an eye on how you are doing by calculating your earnings from time to time. You will see how your nest egg is growing. It will also allow you to make any investment changes needed based on your age, your tolerance for risk and the number of years until you retire.

Things You'll Need

  • 401k statements
  • Calculator or spreadsheet program
  • Pull out a copy of your latest 401k statements. Most 401k statements are sent on a quarterly basis.

  • Circle the beginning balance, the amount of contributions you made and the amount of contributions your employer made. Add these three numbers together.

  • Find your ending balance and subtract the total you calculated in Step 2 from that balance. This is the amount of your gain for the period.

  • Divide the amount of your gain from Step 3 by the total you calculated in Step 2 and multiply the result by 100 to get the percentage gain for your 401k portfolio during the time period. For instance, if the total of your beginning balance plus all contributions was $15,000 and the amount of your gain was $500, the percentage gain for the time period would be approximately 3.33 percent. If you are looking at a quarterly statement you would multiply that figure by four to come up with an annualized percentage gain of 13.32 percent.

References

  • Photo Credit stack of cash image by jimcox40 from Fotolia.com
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