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What Is a Realistic Return on Investment UK?

Tobi Opeyemi Amure
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What Is a Realistic Return on Investment UK?

Navigating the investment landscape in the UK can be both exciting and daunting, especially when you’re trying to discern what constitutes a ‘realistic’ return.

With interest rates fluctuating and markets being unpredictable, it’s essential to set achievable expectations.

My article aims to demystify the concept of a realistic return on investment in the UK, providing you with valuable insights into different asset classes, average yields, and how to manage your expectations in the ever-changing financial environment.

This article was reviewed by Tobi Opeyemi Amure, an investing expert and writer at, and

What Is a Realistic Return on Investment UK?

In the UK, the concept of a “realistic” return on investment (ROI) can vary significantly depending on the asset class, economic conditions, and the investor’s risk tolerance.

Traditionally, less risky investments like UK government bonds may offer lower yields, often just a few percentage points above inflation. On the other hand, investments in the stock market have historically provided higher returns but come with higher volatility.

Fixed-income assets like bonds and certificates of deposit generally offer lower returns but are considered safer. The FTSE 100, representing the UK’s top publicly traded companies, has historically had an average annual return of around 5-7%, although this figure can fluctuate considerably from year to year.

Real estate, particularly in booming areas, can provide substantial ROIs but typically requires a significant upfront investment and ongoing management. In the realm of alternative investments like cryptocurrencies or venture capital, returns can be highly variable and are often considered riskier.

Therefore, a “realistic” ROI in the UK is not one-size-fits-all but should be gauged based on your individual financial goals, risk tolerance, and investment horizon.

Always remember that past performance is not indicative of future results, and it’s advisable to consult with financial advisors for personalised investment strategies.

What Is a Good Return on Investment?

The term “good” when referring to a return on investment (ROI) is highly subjective and depends on various factors such as the type of investment, risk tolerance, and investment duration.

In the UK, traditionally safer investments like government bonds might yield returns just above the rate of inflation, which can be considered “good” for risk-averse investors.

For those investing in the stock market, the FTSE 100 has historically offered an average annual return around 5-7%, not including dividends. This can be considered a “good” return for those willing to accept the associated market risks.

Meanwhile, real estate investments in certain booming locations may provide double-digit annual returns, but these come with high initial costs and management requirements.

In the realm of riskier or alternative investments such as venture capital or cryptocurrencies, a “good” return can be much higher but is often accompanied by much higher risk and volatility.

Therefore, a “good” ROI is relative to individual investment goals, risk tolerance, and market conditions.

What Is a Good Return on Investment for Stocks?

In the UK, a “good” return on investment for stocks varies depending on your individual goals, risk tolerance, and the timeframe of your investment.

Historically, the FTSE 100, which tracks the 100 largest publicly traded companies in the UK, has delivered an average annual return of around 5-7% not including dividends. When dividends are reinvested, the average annual return can be closer to 9-10%.

It’s worth noting that these are long-term averages and individual yearly returns can be much higher or lower. Additionally, individual stocks can outperform or underperform the broader market significantly. Riskier stocks or sectors might offer the potential for higher returns, but they also come with greater volatility.

How to Calculate Return on Investment

Calculating the Return on Investment (ROI) is a straightforward process that helps you understand the profitability of an investment. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Identify the Cost of Investment: This is the initial amount you invested.
  2. Identify the Current Value of Investment: This is the final amount of the investment after a specific time period. It should include any earnings from the investment, such as capital gains, dividends, and interest.
  3. Calculate the Profit or Loss: Subtract the Cost of Investment from the Current Value of Investment.
  4. Calculate ROI: Divide the Profit or Loss by the Cost of Investment, and then multiply by 100 to get a percentage.

For example, if you invested £1,000 in a stock and sold it for £1,200:

  • Profit or Loss = £1,200 – £1,000 = £200
  • ROI = (£200 / £1,000) x 100 = 20%

Your ROI would be 20%. This figure allows you to easily compare the profitability of different investments.

How to Protect Your Returns

Protecting your returns is crucial for long-term investment success.

Here are some strategies to help you safeguard your gains:

  1. Diversification: Spreading your investments across various asset classes reduces the risk associated with market volatility. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
  2. Risk Assessment: Before investing, assess the level of risk you’re comfortable with and choose your investment vehicles accordingly. High-risk investments may offer higher returns but can also result in significant losses.
  3. Stop-Loss Orders: Utilise stop-loss orders when investing in stocks or other volatile markets to limit potential losses. This ensures your stock is automatically sold when it reaches a predetermined price, thus capping your losses.
  4. Regular Monitoring: Keep an eye on your investments and the market conditions. If necessary, rebalance your portfolio to maintain your desired level of risk and potential returns.
  5. Tax Efficiency: Be aware of the tax implications of your investments. Utilizing tax-efficient investment options like ISAs (Individual Savings Accounts) in the UK can help protect your gains from tax erosion.
  6. Professional Advice: Consult financial advisors or investment professionals, especially if you’re new to investing. They can provide valuable insights tailored to your financial goals and risk tolerance.
  7. Safe Havens: In times of market volatility, consider transferring a portion of your investments to ‘safe-haven’ assets like gold or government bonds, which typically hold their value well.
  8. Long-Term Focus: Keep in mind that most investments are subject to short-term market fluctuations. Having a long-term focus can help you ride out the lows and benefit from long-term growth.

By employing these strategies, you can maximize your chances of protecting your investment returns against unforeseen market conditions and other risks.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, gauging what constitutes a “realistic” or “good” return on investment in the UK involves considering various factors including asset class, market conditions, and individual risk tolerance.

Whether you’re interested in stocks, bonds, or alternative investments, it’s crucial to do your research and perhaps consult a financial advisor to tailor a strategy that fits your financial goals and risk appetite.

Remember, higher returns often come with higher risks, so always aim to balance the two as you navigate the investment landscape.


Is a 7% return on investment good?

A 7% return on investment is generally considered a good return, especially when compared to traditional savings accounts or government bonds that often offer much lower rates. However, the “goodness” of a 7% return can also depend on various factors such as the level of risk involved, the investment vehicle used, and your own financial goals and risk tolerance.

Is 10% return on investment realistic?

A 10% return on investment is often cited as a reasonable, though optimistic, long-term target for stock market investments. However, achieving a consistent 10% return is challenging due to market volatility, taxes, and fees. Always assess your own risk tolerance and investment horizon when considering such targets.

Is 12% return on investment realistic?

A 12% return on investment is considered a high target and may not be consistently achievable for most investors, especially over the long term. While it’s possible to achieve such a return in certain investment scenarios or during strong market conditions, it’s important to consider the associated risks, fees, and taxes that could diminish overall gains.

What is a typical return on investment UK?

In the UK, a typical return on investment can vary significantly depending on the asset class and market conditions. For example, the average annual return for the FTSE 100 has been around 5-7% over the long term, after adjusting for inflation. However, these figures can fluctuate, and past performance is not indicative of future returns.

What is a good return on investment over 5 years?

A good return on investment over 5 years depends on the asset class and individual risk tolerance. For stock market investments, an annual return of 7-10% is generally considered good over a 5-year period. It’s essential to consider fees, taxes, and inflation when evaluating investment returns.

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Will Fenton is the founder of Sterling Savvy. He is a personal finance expert and writes about trading, investing, budgeting, and other financial topics.

Along with his education in Economics & Finance, he has experience working in the financial services industry in London working for one of the UK’s leading financial companies, “a trustworthy and respected provider of news, education and market analysis for the everyday investor”.

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