No matter what you do for a living or where you are in your career, you need to put money aside for the future. But simply putting money into your favorite investment is not enough—in order to accumulate a substantial nest egg over time, you also need to keep a close eye on how your investments are doing. Taking the time to calculate the return on your money will help you keep on track toward a comfortable retirement, the education of your children and other long-term goals.

### Things You'll Need

- Brokerage or mutual fund statements

- Calculator or spreadsheet program

Locate a copy of the original purchase confirmation for each investment you own. Also find statements showing any additional money you put into the same funds or stocks.

Add any recurring investments to the initial amount of money you put in to each investment. For instance, if you purchased $3,000 worth of XYZ mutual fund at the beginning of the year and made monthly $100 investments over the following year, your total investment is $4,200.

Find your most recent statement for each of your investments. Subtract the total invested in each fund or stock from the current value. For instance, if your investment in XYZ fund is now worth $5,000, your total gain would be $800.

Divide the total gain by the total amount invested. In the case of XYZ mutual fund, you would divide $800 by $4,200, for a total gain of just over 19 percent.