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  • Writer's pictureLux Capital Blog

Profitability vs. Return: Mastering the Concepts to Optimize Your Portfolio

In the world of investments, the terms "profitability" and "return" are often used interchangeably, but they actually have distinct meanings crucial for analyzing the performance of your investments.

Understanding the difference between these concepts will help you make more informed and effective decisions, optimizing the returns of your portfolio.

Profitability: Measuring Total Return

Profitability refers to the total return obtained from an investment over a specific period, considering both capital gains and generated income, such as dividends or interest. In other words, profitability represents the percentage change in the value of your investment over time.

Profitability Formula:

Profitability = ((Final Value - Initial Value) / Initial Value) x 100%


If you invest $10,000 in a stock that is worth $12,000 after one year, your profitability for that period would be 20%:

Profitability = ((12,000 - 10,000) / 10,000) x 100% = 20%

Return: Focus on Net Profit

On the other hand, return focuses on the net profit earned from an investment, taking into account costs and expenses incurred during the period, such as brokerage fees, taxes, and other charges. In summary, return represents how much you actually gained from your investment after deducting all associated expenses.

Return Formula:

Return = (Profitability - Taxes - Costs)


In the previous example, assuming you paid $1,000 in taxes and fees during the year,

your actual return would be 19%:

Return = (20% - Taxes - Costs) = (20% - 10%) = 19%

Applying Concepts to Your Portfolio:

  • Individual investment analysis: When analyzing the profitability of each investment in your portfolio, consider the income generated and the costs incurred to determine the actual return.

  • Comparison between investments: Compare the returns of different investments, taking into account your financial goals and risk tolerance.

  • More informed investment decisions: Understanding the difference between profitability and return will help you make more informed and effective investment decisions, optimizing the total return of your portfolio.


  • Past profitability does not guarantee future results.

  • Diversify your investments to reduce portfolio risk.

  • Seek professional guidance from a qualified financial advisor to assist you in constructing and managing your investment portfolio.

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