'Total return is the amount of value an investor earns from a security over a specific period, typically one year, when all distributions are reinvested. Total return is expressed as a percentage of the amount invested. For example, a total return of 20% means the security increased by 20% of its original value due to a price increase, distribution of dividends (if a stock), coupons (if a bond) or capital gains (if a fund). Total return is a strong measure of an investment’s overall performance.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:- The total return over 5 years of Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund is 120.7%, which is greater, thus better compared to the benchmark SPY (115.6%) in the same period.
- Compared with SPY (43%) in the period of the last 3 years, the total return, or increase in value of 45.5% is higher, thus better.

'The compound annual growth rate isn't a true return rate, but rather a representational figure. It is essentially a number that describes the rate at which an investment would have grown if it had grown the same rate every year and the profits were reinvested at the end of each year. In reality, this sort of performance is unlikely. However, CAGR can be used to smooth returns so that they may be more easily understood when compared to alternative investments.'

Which means for our asset as example:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (16.6%) in the period of the last 5 years, the compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17.2% of Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund is greater, thus better.
- Compared with SPY (12.6%) in the period of the last 3 years, the compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.3% is higher, thus better.

'Volatility is a rate at which the price of a security increases or decreases for a given set of returns. Volatility is measured by calculating the standard deviation of the annualized returns over a given period of time. It shows the range to which the price of a security may increase or decrease. Volatility measures the risk of a security. It is used in option pricing formula to gauge the fluctuations in the returns of the underlying assets. Volatility indicates the pricing behavior of the security and helps estimate the fluctuations that may happen in a short period of time.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:- Looking at the volatility of 19.4% in the last 5 years of Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund, we see it is relatively higher, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (18.8%)
- Looking at 30 days standard deviation in of 23.5% in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively higher, thus worse in comparison to SPY (22.8%).

'Risk measures typically quantify the downside risk, whereas the standard deviation (an example of a deviation risk measure) measures both the upside and downside risk. Specifically, downside risk in our definition is the semi-deviation, that is the standard deviation of all negative returns.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:- Looking at the downside volatility of 14.1% in the last 5 years of Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund, we see it is relatively greater, thus worse in comparison to the benchmark SPY (13.6%)
- Looking at downside deviation in of 17.3% in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively greater, thus worse in comparison to SPY (16.7%).

'The Sharpe ratio is the measure of risk-adjusted return of a financial portfolio. Sharpe ratio is a measure of excess portfolio return over the risk-free rate relative to its standard deviation. Normally, the 90-day Treasury bill rate is taken as the proxy for risk-free rate. A portfolio with a higher Sharpe ratio is considered superior relative to its peers. The measure was named after William F Sharpe, a Nobel laureate and professor of finance, emeritus at Stanford University.'

Which means for our asset as example:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (0.75) in the period of the last 5 years, the risk / return profile (Sharpe) of 0.76 of Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund is higher, thus better.
- Looking at Sharpe Ratio in of 0.46 in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively greater, thus better in comparison to SPY (0.44).

'The Sortino ratio, a variation of the Sharpe ratio only factors in the downside, or negative volatility, rather than the total volatility used in calculating the Sharpe ratio. The theory behind the Sortino variation is that upside volatility is a plus for the investment, and it, therefore, should not be included in the risk calculation. Therefore, the Sortino ratio takes upside volatility out of the equation and uses only the downside standard deviation in its calculation instead of the total standard deviation that is used in calculating the Sharpe ratio.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (1.04) in the period of the last 5 years, the excess return divided by the downside deviation of 1.04 of Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund is greater, thus better.
- Looking at ratio of annual return and downside deviation in of 0.62 in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively greater, thus better in comparison to SPY (0.61).

'Ulcer Index is a method for measuring investment risk that addresses the real concerns of investors, unlike the widely used standard deviation of return. UI is a measure of the depth and duration of drawdowns in prices from earlier highs. Using Ulcer Index instead of standard deviation can lead to very different conclusions about investment risk and risk-adjusted return, especially when evaluating strategies that seek to avoid major declines in portfolio value (market timing, dynamic asset allocation, hedge funds, etc.). The Ulcer Index was originally developed in 1987. Since then, it has been widely recognized and adopted by the investment community. According to Nelson Freeburg, editor of Formula Research, Ulcer Index is “perhaps the most fully realized statistical portrait of risk there is.'

Applying this definition to our asset in some examples:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (5.59 ) in the period of the last 5 years, the Downside risk index of 5.84 of Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund is greater, thus worse.
- During the last 3 years, the Downside risk index is 7.47 , which is greater, thus worse than the value of 7.14 from the benchmark.

'A maximum drawdown is the maximum loss from a peak to a trough of a portfolio, before a new peak is attained. Maximum Drawdown is an indicator of downside risk over a specified time period. It can be used both as a stand-alone measure or as an input into other metrics such as 'Return over Maximum Drawdown' and the Calmar Ratio. Maximum Drawdown is expressed in percentage terms.'

Using this definition on our asset we see for example:- The maximum drop from peak to valley over 5 years of Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund is -35 days, which is smaller, thus worse compared to the benchmark SPY (-33.7 days) in the same period.
- Compared with SPY (-33.7 days) in the period of the last 3 years, the maximum DrawDown of -35 days is lower, thus worse.

'The Drawdown Duration is the length of any peak to peak period, or the time between new equity highs. The Max Drawdown Duration is the worst (the maximum/longest) amount of time an investment has seen between peaks (equity highs). Many assume Max DD Duration is the length of time between new highs during which the Max DD (magnitude) occurred. But that isn’t always the case. The Max DD duration is the longest time between peaks, period. So it could be the time when the program also had its biggest peak to valley loss (and usually is, because the program needs a long time to recover from the largest loss), but it doesn’t have to be'

Which means for our asset as example:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (139 days) in the period of the last 5 years, the maximum days below previous high of 145 days of Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund is higher, thus worse.
- During the last 3 years, the maximum days below previous high is 145 days, which is larger, thus worse than the value of 139 days from the benchmark.

'The Drawdown Duration is the length of any peak to peak period, or the time between new equity highs. The Avg Drawdown Duration is the average amount of time an investment has seen between peaks (equity highs), or in other terms the average of time under water of all drawdowns. So in contrast to the Maximum duration it does not measure only one drawdown event but calculates the average of all.'

Which means for our asset as example:- Compared with the benchmark SPY (33 days) in the period of the last 5 years, the average time in days below previous high water mark of 32 days of Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund is smaller, thus better.
- Looking at average time in days below previous high water mark in of 45 days in the period of the last 3 years, we see it is relatively greater, thus worse in comparison to SPY (45 days).

Historical returns have been extended using synthetic data.
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- Note that yearly returns do not equal the sum of monthly returns due to compounding.
- Performance results of Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund are hypothetical, do not account for slippage, fees or taxes, and are based on backtesting, which has many inherent limitations, some of which are described in our Terms of Use.