2014 S&P 500 Return

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Includes: SPY
by: Don't Quit Your Day Job

We include dividend reinvestment in our calculations.

Although most financial media sources will list 11.74% as the S&P 500 index's return in 2014, an investor reinvesting dividends in the S&P 500 would have theoretically done even better: 14.04%.

Subtract from that (of course) applicable taxes, fees, slippage/timing concerns - but… needless to say, buying, holding, and reinvesting was a very lucrative strategy this year.

The S&P 500's 2014 Drive

After the large 32.39% dividend reinvested return in 2013, a further 14.04% is more than most could have asked for on such a widely invested index - happy new year for that! Compound that with 2012's 16.00% dividend reinvested return and you're looking at a huge 74.60% reinvestment return just from sitting on your hands and reinvesting your funds - a hefty geometric average of 20.46% a year!

Marketwatch Chart of S&P 500 Total return vs. S&P Index

Marketwatch Chart of S&P 500 Total return vs. S&P Index

01/01/2014 Open 12/31/2014 Close Annual Return
S&P 500 Total Return 3305.28 3769.44 14.04%
S&P 500 Index 1842.61 2058.9 11.74%

Buying and Holding

We, of course, have a few calculators which can help you determine the real returns of theoretical holdings - our S&P 500 Total Return Calculator works on a monthly basis, while our retrospective calculator allows you to compare all rolling S&P 500 reinvested returns. We also have a calculator for individual stock reinvestment calculations.

The retrospective calculator ranks the last three years very highly - (Top) 38.12%, 12.00%, 41.96% of years, respectively - all in the top half (and more than half of rolling years are positive returns). Add to that all of the other gains since March of 2009… well, now that's a bull market!

Will we maintain this momentum? Well, no one can say for certain - but since this is the internet, feel free to leave your no-cost-to-you predictions in the comments!

  • Where will the S&P 500 go from here?
  • Are you a dividend reinvestor?