I'm trying to gauge the true change in value of a 403b account.

When looking at the return or yield percentages reported in the 403b account page, are these numbers based on including contributions over a period of time as an increase or decrease in value? Or are returns calculated and measured separately from all personal employee and employer-matched employee contributions?

My concern is based on an investment reporting, say, a 5% return (or whatever positive or negative value), and whether that number is including what I have added to the account over the reported time period. The fund management companies with whom I have accounts do not provide details on how said summary calculations are derived, nor are there means provided to obtain balance and market details for said accounts at time intervals when funds are contributed.

  • I did the calculations on my (401)k account, and the yield was based strictly on dividends + market performance, not employer matching contributions. YMMV.
    – RonJohn
    Nov 14, 2021 at 14:03

1 Answer 1


The statement or website should clearly identify the difference. Early on, if I started the year with $2000 and through deposits alone, ended with $4000 in a flat market, the statement should report that my account has in fact grown 100%. But elsewhere, the investment return was zero for the year, and should be shown clearly on the documentation. We frequently get questions about calculating returns on one’s portfolio given deposits and withdrawals through the year. The calculation requires a spreadsheet and is a bit tedious. The provider of your retirement account has to offer exactly this.

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