S&P 500 DCA Calculator

The S&P DCA 500 calculator below provides the nominal and inflation-adjusted total growth (assuming dividend reinvestment) of a monthly investment into U.S. stocks (i.e. the S&P 500) over any time period from January 1871 to the present (see the default “End Month” below for the latest date available).

The data comes from Robert Shiller’s website and does not account for taxes, fees, or transaction costs.

Total Nominal Contributions (Initial + Monthly):

Final Nominal Value (with dividends reinvested):

IRR (Nominal):

Final Inflation-Adjusted Value (with dividends reinvested):

IRR (Inflation-Adjusted):

Best Practices

  • To remove one of the lines from the chart above, click on the label at the top of the chart. This will remove it from the plot.
    • For example, if you just want to see the Total Contributions and the Nominal Value, you would click on the “Inflation-Adjusted Value” label at the top of the chart to remove that line in particular. Click on it again to re-add it.
    • The calculator assumes that all investments are made at the BEGINNING of the month, including the initial investment.
      • For example, if you had an initial investment of $100 with a “Start Month” of January 2022, that $100 would be invested at the beginning of January and the first return your money would experience would be in January 2022 as well. If you also had a monthly investment of $100, in the next month (i.e. February 2022) we would add the monthly investment to your portfolio and then multiple it by the February 2022 return. This process continues for every month until the “End Month” specified.
    • To calculate a 1-month return, use the same “Start Month” and “End Month”.
      • Unlike my “S&P 500 Historical Returns Calculator” which uses monthly snapshots and requires a different “Start Month” and “End Month”, this calculator uses actual 1-month returns, so you should use the same “Start Month” and “End Month” for a 1-month return.
    • For full year returns, use an 11-month difference between the “Start Month” and “End Month”.
      • For example, if you wanted to calculate the total growth of a $100 monthly investment throughout 2022, you would set the “Initial Investment” to $100, the “Monthly Investment” to $100, the “Start Month” to January 2022 and the “End Month” to December 2022.
      • Note that is is different than for the “S&P 500 Historical Returns Calculator” which requires that you use the same “Start Month” and “End Month” for full year returns. This is due to the nature of this calculator which uses BEGINNING of month investments and monthly returns instead of price snapshots.
    • The IRR (internal rate of return) calculations are an annualized measure.
      • If you run a scenario where the number of investment periods is not equal to 12 months, please keep in mind that the IRR will reflect the internal rate of return on an annualized basis.
      • For reference, the IRR is the rate of return that would make the net present value (NPV) of all of your cashflows (i.e. investments) equal to zero. If you want a better understanding of IRR and how it works, read this.

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    Historical return assumptions for U.S. stock market returns are based on monthly stock price, dividends, and earnings data and the consumer price index (to allow conversion to real values), all starting January 1871. The price, dividend, and earnings series are from the same sources as described in Chapter 26 of Robert Shiller’s book (Market Volatility [Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1989]), although he now uses monthly data, rather than annual data.

    Monthly dividend and earnings data are computed from the S&P four-quarter totals for the quarter since 1926, with linear interpolation to monthly figures. Dividend and earnings data before 1926 are from Cowles and associates (Common Stock Indexes, 2nd ed. [Bloomington, Ind.: Principia Press, 1939]), interpolated from annual data. Stock price data are monthly averages of daily closing prices through January 2000, the last month available as this book goes to press.

    The CPI-U (Consumer Price Index-All Urban Consumers) published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics begins in 1913; for years before 1913 1 spliced to the CPI Warren and Pearson’s price index, by multiplying it by the ratio of the indexes in January 1913. December 1999 and January 2000 values for the CPI-Uare extrapolated.

    An index is a hypothetical portfolio of securities representing a particular market or a segment of it used as indicator of the change in the securities market. Hypothetical performance is performance that was not actually achieved by any accounts. Indices are not available for direct investment; therefore, their performance does not reflect the expenses associated with the management of an actual portfolio.

    All investments involve some degree of risk, including loss of principal. There can be no assurances that any investment will be profitable or that you will achieve your investment goals. Your actual results will vary based upon your individual situation, when you invest, future market performance and other factors. Past performance does not guarantee future results. Analyses in this report indicating investment performance are based on past performance. Your portfolio’s performance may vary significantly from, and potentially be lower than, the performance presented.

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