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2. Your math sucks. You just divided those numbers by 4 to get "% change per year". Did you at least get your data for identical start and end dates? Did you add any money at all in between?

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Radagast - This is an important one for me - I don't actually know if my math is correct, which is one of the main reasons to post here. Yes, I simply calculated the amount over time (same start and end dates) which was 4 years, minus one month. I'm not worried about being exact so I figure that dividing the change by 4 is fair. How should I have done it? Does that change the final calculation about total percent gain (which is in the end the most important number)?

I can point you in the right direction.

Find the growth for that first year-- I'm going to use an average for the four years 11.8%-- you could/

should get exact numbers. And check mine!

1st year

$192,000 * 111.8% = $214,656 now multiply by 0.0175% for the dividend 1.0175 * $214,656 = 218,412

2nd year

$218,412 * 111.8% = $244,185 now multiply by 0.0175% for the dividend 1.0175 * $244,185 = $248,458

3rd year

$248,458 * 111.8% = $277,776 now multiply by 0.0175% for the dividend 1.0175 * $277,776 = $282,637

4th year

$282,637 * 111.8% = $315,988 now multiply by 0.0175% for the dividend 1.0175 * $277,776 = $321,518

So the ending balance with the numbers I used is $321,518.

However, I didn't use the actual individual gain for each year, I used the average, actual, will give a different ending balance.

I also used 1.75% for the dividend, I think it was above that 4 years ago and it's below that now, I didn't use actual.

Also dividends are not paid at the end of the year but at different times during the year, so it gets very complicated.

You could look back and see in your VTSMX account when the dividends were paid and use that to do the calculation.

Or you could just assume the portfolio that PC used for those 4 years cost you over $50,000. In another market scenario it might have went the other way.

Think of all the retired folks that were 50% bonds during this run up, they may have lost much more, but there is a time in life when you are into preservation of assets, and do lose out on growth.

I'm sure someone can point out what I missed, but I tried to show how I would do it.

PS. You have enough money to be in VTSAX, the same but with lower cost.