More Than Just

Boring Definitions

A return consists of the income, and/or a capital gain.

Returns on investment are calculated over a period of time, and usually quoted as a percentage.

Returns can include dividends, interest and capital gains.

A dividend is a distribution of a portion
of a company's after-tax earnings.

The amount of the distribution shared with shareholders, (a shareholder is the owner of a share or stock), is decided on by the company’s Board of Directors.

Dividends can be issued as cash payments, (expressed  as $ / share), or as additional shares as part of a Dividend Reinvestment Plan (DRIP). The amount you receive depends on how many shares you own.

Most people are pretty familiar with this one.
Interest is a fee paid for the use of another party's money.

To the borrower, it is the cost of renting money; to the lender, it is the income from lending it. In complete contrast to dividends, interest income is taxed very heavily at your marginal tax rate . When you are young and investing for the long term, dividends are good, interest is bad.

A capital gain is an increase in the value of an investment that gives it a higher worth than the purchase price.

The gain is not realized until the asset is sold. Capital gains are good. Capital losses, not so much, but you can use any capital losses you have to offset your taxable gains. You should talk to your accountant about this.