How to Calculate ROI (+ Definition)

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When it comes to making investment decisions, ROI (return on investment) is always one of the most important factors to consider. After all, no one wants to invest their hard-earned money in something that isn’t going to provide a good return. But what exactly is ROI? And how can you calculate it?

In the following article, we’ll shed light on this metric.

What Is the Return on Investment?

Return on investment, or ROI, is a performance metric used to evaluate the efficiency of an investment. The higher the ROI, the more profitable the investment. ROI is calculated by subtracting the initial cost of the investment from the final value of the investment, then dividing that number by the initial cost. The result is then expressed as a percentage.

ROI can be used for any type of investment, including stocks, bonds, real estate, and businesses. It is a popular metric because it is simple to calculate and easy to understand. However, ROI should not be used as the only metric when evaluating an investment; other factors, such as risk and liquidity, should also be considered.

How to Calculate ROI

To calculate ROI, you will need three pieces of information: the initial cost of the investment, the final value of the investment, and the time frame in which the investment was made. The initial cost is what you paid for the asset at the time of purchase; this includes any commissions or fees paid. The final value is what you sold the asset for at the end of the holding period; again, this includes any commissions or fees paid. The time frame is simply how long you held onto the asset before selling it.

Once you have gathered this information, you are ready to calculate ROI using this formula: (final value – initial cost) / initial cost = ROI. For example, let’s say you purchased a stock for $1,000 and sold it one year later for $1,200. Using our formula, we would calculate ROI as follows: ($1,200 – $1),000) / $1,000 = 20%.

Pros and Cons of Using ROI as a Metric


ROI, or return on investment, is a valuable metric for businesses to use when evaluating potential investments and determining where to allocate resources.

ROI takes into account both the financial and non-financial benefits of an investment, making it a well-rounded measure of success.

Additionally, ROI can be used to compare different types of investments, allowing businesses to make informed decisions about where to best allocate their resources.

Furthermore, ROI provides a clear goal for businesses to strive for, and can be used to motivate employees and track progress over time.

Overall, ROI is a versatile and useful metric that can provide valuable insights for businesses of all types.


There are some drawbacks to using ROI as your sole performance metric.

First of all, ROI does not take risk into account; a high-risk investment could have a higher potential return than a low-risk investment but may not actually be more profitable in reality due to the increased likelihood of loss.

Secondly, ROI does not consider liquidity; an illiquid investment may have a higher potential return than a liquid one but may not be as profitable due to difficulty in selling it quickly if necessary.

Finally, ROI does not take taxes into account; an investment that is taxed at a higher rate will have a lower net return than one that is taxed at a lower rate even if both investments have identical gross returns.


When it comes to ROI, the bottom line is that it pays to do your homework before making any decisions. By taking the time to understand the different types of ROI and how they can be applied to your business, you can make more informed decisions that will ultimately lead to greater profitability.

With a clear understanding of ROI, you can make sound investments in marketing campaigns, product development, and other areas of your business that will provide a positive return on investment. In today’s competitive business environment, a clear understanding of ROI is essential for long-term success.