# IRR Calculator

### What is an internal rate of return (IRR) calculation?

The IRR is an annualized rate-of-return on an investment. It is calculated using only cash flow amounts for inputs and does not depend on an interest rate, thus the term "internal."

An Internal Rate of Return Calculator (IRR) is used to calculate an investment's bottom line. You can use the results for bragging rights, or more importantly, to compare two or more different investment options.

This calculator will calculate the IRR for a complicated series of cash flows as well as the total invested, total returned and the profit (or loss). It supports both irregular length periods and exact date data entry.

On the other hand, the frequency option makes it easy to set up regular cash flows such as daily, monthly, or quarterly. (You have eleven from which to pick!)

Make sure that you check out the usage tips below (click to scroll).

### Information

- Feb. 13: Change the calculator's layout so that user can add a description to each cash flow. The description is not required.
- Feb. 16: On smaller desktop monitors, the browser should set the calculator, by default, to an easier-to-use size — no change for mobile devices. Users can always adjust the size by clicking the '-' or '+' buttons. Please let me know if you have any difficulties. The sizing improvement will be rolled out to nearly all calculators over the coming weeks.

## Why is IRR useful beyond bragging rights?

IRR is a Very Useful Number because it gives the investor the ability to compare investments. That is, the IRR normalizes the results for different cash flows.

Take, for example, two rental properties that are for sale. The offer price for both buildings is about the same. Projected rents are about the same. However, one will have a higher upfront renovation cost while the other has higher property taxes. How does an investor know which purchase represents a better investment?

They can use an IRR calculator to make this determination.

A note of caution. When comparing investments, never make the comparison using internal rates of return calculated with different calculators.

Why is that?

Because two different calculators may calculate the results slightly differently, and neither one of them will necessarily be wrong either. (Consider for a moment that Microsoft Excel has two IRR functions that may calculate different IRRs for the same cash flows.) You don't need to get hung up on this idea. But it is something to be aware of so that you understand how to use the results correctly.

For the record, this calculator calculates the IRR using Newton's method and counting days (some calculators count periods).

If you want to try a calculator that uses another IRR calculation algorithm, look no farther than this site's Annual Percentage Rate (APR) calculator. The APR calculator follows the method specified in the Truth-in-Lending Act for calculating APR (which is an IRR calculation).

### Calculator usage and tips

**Zero amounts have no impact on the IRR result.**If you set the frequency to "Monthly," and there are only four cash flows in a year, you may leave eight initialized to 0. The same applies to 0 amounts after you've entered the final liquidation value.- Enter the
**investment's current or final value**as the last cash flow. If you are calculating the IRR for a stock or mutual fund, and you still own the investment, you should enter the investment's value as the last amount. **You do not need to enter cash flows in date order.**The calculator will sort them before calculating the result. This feature is handy, of course, if you realize that you missed entering a cash flow. Enter the amount in any available cell. Then change the date associated with that cell. Click "Calc" to sort.- If you mistakenly duplicate a cash flow, set one of the duplicates to "0".
- Changing the "First Cash Flow Date" will reset the dates without clearing the values you've entered.
- Depending on the order you use "First Cash Flow Date," "Remove 0's" and "Add Series," the "First Cash Flow Date" may not be the first date in the input area. This is not a bug. Changing "First Cash Flow Date" initializes a series starting on the date selected. However, the user can change the date, or it can be removed with "Remove 0's" if the value for the start date is 0. Finally, a user can insert a series with a date before "First Cash Flow Date."
- Calendar Tip: When using the calendar, click on the month at the top to list the months, then, if needed, click on the year at the top to list years. Click to select a year, select a month, and select a day. Naturally, you can scroll through the months and days too. Or you can click on "Today" to quickly select the current date.
- If you prefer not using a calendar, single click on a date or use the [Tab] key (or [Shift][Tab]) to select a date. Then, as mentioned, type 8 digits only - no need to type the date part separators. Also, because the date is selected, you do not need to clear the prior date before typing. If your selected date format equals mm/dd/yyyy, then for Dec. 1, 2024, type 12012024.
- And don't stress out: you do
**not**need to enter the cash flows in date order. You have a computer. It and this calculator are smart enough to sort the cash flows for you once you've clicked the "Calc" button.

### And now to repeat an essential word about IRR calculators.

Different IRR calculators may use different algorithms for finding the rate-of-return. (There is no equation or formula for calculating IRR.) Therefore, don't compare the results from one IRR calculator for one investment with results from another calculator for a different investment. Always use the same calculator to compare different investments.

IRR is the annualized return on an investment expressed as a percentage.

The investment can be made up of a series of cash flows. That is, there can be more than one investment or one withdrawal. (However, there has to be at least one or each.) The cash flows may occur on any date and for any amount.

It is essential to use the right sign (positive or negative) for each cash flow. How do you know what the correct sign is?

Think of it this way. When you first invest, you have to write a check or transfer funds. Writing a check decreases your account balance. **Therefore, enter all investment cash flows, including the "Initial Investment" as negative values.**

When you earn money back on your investment, you can deposit it into your checking account. The return increases your account balance. **Therefore, enter all investment returns, including the final liquidation value of your investment, as positive values.**

The scheduled dates update every time you change the "Cash Flow Frequency." The new dates are calculated based on the "First Cash Flow Date." But the "Cash Flow Frequency" has no direct impact on the IRR result per se. The calculator only uses the "Cash Flow Frequency" setting to create dates that most closely match your investment cash flows. If, in general, you only make additional investments (or withdrawals) twice a year, then set "Cash Flow Frequency" to "Semiannually" for example.

## cheryl says:

I am looking to calculate the IRR for an investment that had an initial investment contribution and several more subsequent investment contributions. There is a return rate set of 7% and there have been distributions made approx. quarterly. This has spanned approximately the last 6-7 years. Since only a portion of each distribution amount is a return of capital, not all of the original investment amount has been returned yet. What would be the best way to calculate the IRR for the partner considering their total investment and what distributions they have received over time? Is there an online calculator that would be helpful since there are multiple tranches?

## Karl says:

This page’s IRR calculator is the correct calculator to use. Did you try it and have a problem?

To calculate the IRR, you’ll enter all the investment amounts as of the dates made. Make sure they are negative values.

Enter the withdrawals as positive values.

Then, for today’s date, enter the current value of the investment as a positive number (that is the value of the investment if you were going to withdrawal the remaining amount today).

The resulting IRR will be the IRR through today.

## Joe says:

I used your IRR calculator for a home development project, it worked great with money going into the project at different times and cash flo being earned with the sale of each house, is there a calculator that will do this and show you your biggest drawdown or what your peak capital is at any time?

## Karl says:

Hi Joe, yes there is. This financial calculator should do what you need. To see the IRR click on "settings" and then "analytics" to turn the IRR option on. This calculator will create a more detailed, printable schedule.

Scroll down the page for the tutorials.

## Xander says:

Why do i get different IRR’s when i have a one time investment vs when i make multiple investments over say 5 years? Example, say i invest $1M today vs investing $200k over 5 years?

## Karl says:

The reason is due to what is known as the time value of money. The IRR is the rate-of-return, with "rate" being the operative word. It is the return annualized or over a year.

Let’s make the example even simpler. Would you rather invest a million today and get back 1.1 million in six months or in 12 months? Of course, you would rather get it back in 6 months. In both cases the gross returned is 10%, but the

rate-of-returnwill be higher for the 6 month term.In your example, if the investment’s value is the same after 5 years, it’s better to invest the money in $200k increments, because a) you have less at risk in each of the preceding years; and b) if you have the funds, the money could be invested in other investments. The IRR result reflects these facts.

## Gerald GIOVANELLI says:

I have investments that pay dividends monthly based on the number of units I own which change every month because I purchase (DRIP) additional units with my dividends. I believe your IRR calculator is. the answer.

Please confirm or make a suggestion before I purchase.

Thank you for your answer

## Karl says:

First, there is nothing that you have to purchase. The use of this IRR calculator is free.

The IRR calculator will calculate an annualized rate of return for you. If that’s your goal, then this is the calculator. Enter the amount(s) you invest (-) on the day(s) you make the investment, and enter the withdrawals (+) from the investment on the days you make the withdrawal. The final value (+) you enter is the value of the investment as of the final date.

## Jaycee says:

What does “wave Browser” have to do with your IRR Calculator which I would like to purchase?

## Karl says:

Where do you see "wave Browser?" I don’t know what that’s referring to. Perhaps you are looking at an ad on the page?

And by the way, the IRR calculator is free. There is no need to purchase anything.

## Dawn Jones says:

I am trying to provide a rate of return for a quarterly investments report. We periodically make deposits and withdrawals. Is this the calculator I should use? If so, do I also enter the interest earned as a cash flow?

## Karl says:

Yes, you would use the IRR calculator. No, the interest rate is not a cash flow. The annualized rate of return (IRR) is calculated from the actual cash flows paid out or received. If you check out this page, there are a couple of examples. After reviewing them, if you have any other questions, just ask.

## Nate says:

Can this calculator be used with a plugin or with HTML on a website we’ve built for a client?

## Karl says:

No. I offer 7 WordPress plugins here.

## Jack Cassidy says:

I have a couple of questions. 1) I use a very old version of this IRR product that I beleive I purchased for $5 and loaded onto a Windows friendly computer that I now keep only for purposes of running that program. I obviously believe it is an indispensible tool and I have looked high and low for one that is as good without success. In my earlier version of this program there is a column on the spread sheet that allows for me to enter comments that do not factor into the calculation i.e., “sold 7 Febraury 18, 50 strikes for $1.40.” I can’t see where this online version of the product allows for the input of commentary or notes. What am I missing. 2) I love the old program I purchased a million years ago. Is it possible to transfer the program and data files from my old computer to a new Windows friendly device? As I vaguely recall, when I purchased the Windows friendly computer I now run IRR on (ten years ago maybe). I simply paid another $5 to PGS to get a new program disk. Thanks for your help. I’ve used your tool weekly for many, many years and it is simply the best. I don’t know how I could acccurately judge the return on my investmetns without it.

## Karl says:

Currently, the online version does not allow users to make a comment on a cash flow (as you have discovered). I have plans to add that feature, but I’m not sure when it will happen.

I had forgotten that the calculator was sold separately for a short time in the past. That is no longer the case.

To get a copy of the calculator, that will run on the latest version of Windows, you can purchase SolveIT!. SolveIT! has over 50 calculators it is available for a one-time fee of $69.95.

## Jack says:

Thanks so much. I bought the package you suggested and the IRR calculator is perfect (it has my needed description column). I loaded it on the cheapest Windows friendly computer I could find ($200) and it runs much better than it did on my ten year old desk top which will soon be headed to the Goodwill. I don’t think I would ever have found a suitable program replacement for my old version of IRR without your help. I’d buy you a beer if I could. Thanks again.

## Karl says:

Thank you for letting me know. And I think you just did buy me SEVERAL beers. 🙂

## steve says:

I have made made different investment amounts on different dates over the years in a mutual fund. I would like to calculate the average annual rate of return on my investment from the start and not sure how to do it with your financial calculators. i have dates and amounts of each deposit into the mutual fund and the ending value of the account. i assumed i would enter deposits amounts with respective dates then enter withdraw of total account value on the current date amount (account value) with interest rate to be the calculated factor. I started the investments back in 2001. can you help with any suggestions?

## Karl says:

I think you have the right calculator for what you want to do.

Do you have any specific questions? Have you tried the calculator with a few investments and you are having problems understanding the results?